LACK OF CONSULTATION – Vote October 20 for a New Mayor and New Council.
Why was a statue of Sir John A. Macdonald removed from City of Victoria public property without public consultation?
The City of Victoria removed a statue of Macdonald, on August 11, 2018 as part of a reconciliation process with First Nations at a cost of $23,000 with no consultation with any Victoria taxpayers. “Helps first recommended the removal in a briefing note to councillors on a Monday evening. A late item was added to a committee of the whole agenda the next day and then the removal was formally announced on Helps’ website on the Wednesday. On the Thursday, councillors voted eight to one to remove the statue. Then, in the pre-dawn hours of Saturday, a crane was brought in and the 635-kilogram bronze statue was hauled away into storage, pending a decision on where it should be relocated”*
September 26 Times Colonist “City council agreed in August to remove the statue on the recommendation of an appointed panel called the City Family, which includes Mayor Lisa Helps, Alto, Coun. Charlayne Thornton-Joe, Brianna Dick representing the Songhees Nation, Esquimalt hereditary chief Ed Thomas, and Indigenous community member Carey Newman.”* Except for Lisa Helps, I do not know if the five members of the City Family are residents/taxpayers in the City of Victoria.
Lack of a public process prior to the statue’s removal prompted significant public outcry.
The total of $22,976 for removing the statue was included in a report to council by Helps and Coun. Marianne Alto.
The current Mayor and the current Council did not consult with the taxpayers. They were voted in to represent all 86,000 residents of Victoria and the 6,200 businesses in the City. Politicians should represent all of them, not just specific groups.
The City of Kingston said that starting in September 2018, residents of Kingston will get the chance to voice their opinions online and in person on Macdonald and his place in the community’s history. The consultations in Kingston, which are expected to last six to eight months, come as the federal government looks at how to address concerns with figures like Macdonald.In addition to the consultations, Kingston is also currently reaching out to Indigenous communities for their thoughts on Macdonald — an exercise that was started in response to recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation commission. The commission was established in 2008 to bring to light the abuses that occurred in residential schools and delivered a long list of recommendations in 2015. Kingston residents will have their say.
When I am voted in on October 20, I will listen to and represent the taxpayers.
*Times Colonist September 26