Phoebe Ramsay (left), Samantha, and Lucy Gunn came out in support of the removal of the Sir John A. Macdonald statue from the front steps of Victoria’s City Hall, Aug. 11. Nicole Crescenzi/VICTORIA NEWS

EDITORIAL: The times, they are a-changing

The statue of Sir John A. Macdonald was removed from Victoria’s city hall on Saturday and it was a sound heard ‘round the country.

Similar to when the city of Halifax removed the statue of Edward Cornwallis, there were varied opinions on what removing the figure meant, as well as how the mayor and council came to their decision to do so.

It is here where there seems to be a communication breakdown. For anyone who paid attention to the lengthy discussion in council chambers Thursday, it would have been clear the decision was made by two newly formed city committees.

Comprised of representatives from the City as well as members of the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations, the City Family and the Witness Reconciliation Program were formed over a year ago for the sole purpose of enacting a real dedication to reconciliation, a word that gets thrown around a lot, but not acted upon nearly enough.

How can we make a statement like that? Because the sheer volume of racist comments we’ve seen on social media proves just how little space people in this city are actually willing to make for others around them, who are different from them.

Allowing for equality does not take away the rights and privileges of those already basking in them; it simply extends them to others.

The decision to remove the statue was not put to the public because it didn’t need to be. When council said it would seriously address reconciliation, it also acknowledged that would mean taking an “Indigenous-led focus” to decisions like these.

Colonial government has reigned over municipalities in this country since Macdonald himself declared it so, but we’re no longer living in a time without birth control, or the right for a woman or a person of colour to vote.

The times, they are a-changing, yes. And with that finally comes systemic change, too.

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