McKenna says you can’t erase a troubled history by removing statues


OTTAWA — The minister responsible for Parks Canada says tearing down statues is not the solution when it comes to addressing the darker side of Canadian history.

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna has asked the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada to look at how to address concerns with historical figures like John A. Macdonald, whose role in establishing residential schools has made him a polarizing figure in reconciliation efforts with Indigenous Peoples.

McKenna says it is important to tell the troublesome stories of Canada’s past, and while generalizing about controversial monuments or statues is no solution, erasing history is not the answer either.

She says one option may be to erect a second statue or monument next to a controversial figure to represent Indigenous history at a particular site.

The issue of tearing down statues has been a hot topic this week after the Victoria city council voted to remove a statue of Macdonald from the steps of city hall and is now considering where to put it.

Last year, the federal Liberal government stripped the name of residential schools developer Hector-Louis Langevin from the building across from Parliament Hill that houses the Prime Minister’s Office.


The Canadian Press