Get ready for statue debate, round two.
In the coming weeks, Mayor Lisa Helps is planning to invite public discussion about the future location of the John A. Macdonald sculpture.
“We may even have a poll, giving people a choice of five places, so they can choose the most appropriate place for the statue to go,” she said in an interview in her office.
Call it public consultation or damage control, but the mayor has to defuse the thorny issue of deposing a national icon–to some a national disgrace for his willful persecution of Aboriginal people.
Among other things, the public wants to know why this decision was made behind closed doors with no public consultation, and what else is on the agenda of the “City Family” that made the call.
Councillor Marianne Alto, another family member, said several times during the Aug. 9 council debate that the removal is only the start of this process, “a beginning step.”
And the mayor said in our interview that “economic opportunities” with the Songhees and Esquimalt will be on the family agenda.
That all may be for the best, but we need to walk together down the path of reconciliation and good relations with our Aboriginal neighbours, not just our leaders. Most of us get that and those who don’t are still living in Macdonald’s time.
So get ready for some good old polite, open-minded Victoria debate on this issue.
Who knows if we’ll even get the poll, or was Helps just musing to a reporter on a Friday afternoon, in an upbeat mood before escaping on a holiday?
A poll seems like a contradiction of her bold move to order the cranes to haul off Sir John before council approval–a quick switch from direct decision to direct democracy.
One thing is certain, the Sir John A saga of 2018 is far from over, and will likely be remembered as the turning point if the mayoral election turns out to be much more of a race than expected just a few weeks ago.
We know our mayor works hard, sometimes even answering emails long after you and I are in bed.
Just in case she needs some help, here’s the 1.0 version of a poll on the future of the John A statue.
Make your choice if you like, or offer your own ideas: