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Victoria City Hall's statue of Sir John A. MacDonald could be on the move


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#21 rjag

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 02:55 PM

And you won’t see a Lenin statue at city hall.

You are basically making the city’s point Mike. You wouldn’t appreciate a communist statue at city hall, and First Nations don’t appreciate one of a guy that thought they were savage sub-humans.

An easily understandable sentiment I should think although I imagine that this will not help the mayor or council politically.

 

 

I believe what Mike is saying is that politicians are pretty selective about what they believe is the flavor du jour....and these days its white guilt 


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#22 mbjj

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 02:59 PM

Do we know who on council voted to remove the statue? I'd like to know so I can be sure not to vote for them.

 

PS I have no white guilt. Bad things happened in everyone's past and will continue to do so. Knowing about it is of more value than pretending it never happened and hiding facts/statues/street names away.


Edited by mbjj, 08 August 2018 - 03:00 PM.

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#23 Nparker

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 03:01 PM

Do we know who on council voted to remove the statue? I'd like to know so I can be sure not to vote for them...

The safest bet is just not to vote for any incumbent council members.


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#24 Mike K.

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 03:27 PM

And you won’t see a Lenin statue at city hall.

You are basically making the city’s point Mike. You wouldn’t appreciate a communist statue at city hall, and First Nations don’t appreciate one of a guy that thought they were savage sub-humans.

 

Ah, but we have at least one elected councillor who marvels over the policies and achievements of the Soviet Era. Imagine that.


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#25 Greg

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 03:43 PM

I have a personal theory about how to frame these discussions of statues and memorials of flawed historical figures. Here it is:

History, particularly in the West, has been a largely (but not entirely) uninterrupted if incomplete move from the privileged few, to the privileged minority, to the privileged majority, to egalitarianism. From a king, to a king with barons, to landed white males, and so forth. Famous historical figures come overwhelmingly from the privileged groups. Pretty much the only historical figures from Western Civilization that are famous from a thousand years ago are kings, explorers, and conquerors. Most of the famous historical figures from 100 years ago are white males. This is through no flaw of the unprivileged, it is just a question of access to power. If you were a white landed male 150 years ago, you were surrounded by an unjust system. Most of the injustice was just "the way things were" and probably not even something you overtly thought about. Some of it may have been injustices that you actively worked to maintain. On rare occasions in history, some person in a privileged position actually worked actively to correct an injustice.

It is acceptable to celebrate a flawed man who worked actively to improve some aspect of an unjust system, even if he failed to address, and benefited from other elements of the unjust system into which he was born. If a white male lives in a time and place where black men are enslaved, women are treated as chattel, and homosexuals are prosecuted, and he dedicates his life to trying to end slavery, but ignores the plight of women and gays, then I think it is reasonable to celebrate his efforts to end slavery. It is also reasonable to note the less favorable aspects of his life.

So for me, the way to judge a statue of a famous but flawed historical figure, is to determine if the statue is specifically celebrating something that current moral standards find repugnant, or is it celebrating something virtuous and worthwhile (despite the other flawed positions the historical figure may have had). If city hall had a statue celebrating John MacDonald's role in residential schools, I don't think any reasonable person would support it remaining in place. If it is on the other hand celebrating his role as a founding father of Canada, then it makes sense for it to be there. Rather than remove it, I would prefer to append additional historical information, specifically addressing MacDonald's shortcomings.

This is why, IMHO, it makes perfect sense to remove Confederate leader statues in the South that were put in place for the purpose of celebrating some historical figure's act of treason while sending a (not very) subtle message of support for white privilege, but it is not appropriate to remove a statue of Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson (presumably) is being celebrated for writing the Declaration of Independence, or founding the University of Virginia. He is not specifically being celebrated for being a slave owner and raping Sally Hemmings. Those shortcomings can and should be addressed, but he still is an indisputably important historical figure who helped propel civilization forward.


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#26 Mike K.

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 04:05 PM

Excellent points, Greg.


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#27 Nparker

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 04:19 PM

If only the SJWs - who make far too many impulsive, emotionally-based decisions  - could understand history as Greg does.



#28 On the Level

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 04:54 PM

Helps seems to run into trouble as she doesn't always try to understand both sides of an opinion.    You don't reconcile differences by driving a wedge between cultures.  

 
I'm wondering what this will do to reconciliation itself.  This type of an "us vs. them" approach could set reconciliation back a decade or more.

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#29 Nparker

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 05:26 PM

Helps...doesn't always try to understand both sides of an opinion...

I am sure she fully understands the opposing position, but chooses to ignore it because she "knows" she it right. 



#30 LeoVictoria

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 05:35 PM

Ah, but we have at least one elected councillor who marvels over the policies and achievements of the Soviet Era. Imagine that.


Unless you have some evidence of this, i will assume you are exaggerating and/or conflating socialism with communism or the actions of the soviets
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#31 Bob Fugger

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 05:55 PM

Unless you have some evidence of this, i will assume you are exaggerating and/or conflating socialism with communism or the actions of the soviets

 

His entire body of academia is based on Soviet Russia and Karl Marx.  He was sponsored by the Communist Party of Canada to give a series of talks in the fall of 2017.  What else do you need?


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#32 Benezet

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 05:57 PM

Here’s a very interesting ‘mock trial’ of John A. MacDonald, by two seasoned lawyers before a Supreme Court Justice. It’s in two one-hour episodes, and I think it’s well worth a listen.

https://www.cbc.ca/r...today-1.4614303

https://www.cbc.ca/r...ocent-1.4616181
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#33 LeoVictoria

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 06:31 PM

I have a personal theory about how to frame these discussions of statues and memorials of flawed historical figures. Here it is:

History, particularly in the West, has been a largely (but not entirely) uninterrupted if incomplete move from the privileged few, to the privileged minority, to the privileged majority, to egalitarianism. From a king, to a king with barons, to landed white males, and so forth. Famous historical figures come overwhelmingly from the privileged groups. Pretty much the only historical figures from Western Civilization that are famous from a thousand years ago are kings, explorers, and conquerors. Most of the famous historical figures from 100 years ago are white males. This is through no flaw of the unprivileged, it is just a question of access to power. If you were a white landed male 150 years ago, you were surrounded by an unjust system. Most of the injustice was just "the way things were" and probably not even something you overtly thought about. Some of it may have been injustices that you actively worked to maintain. On rare occasions in history, some person in a privileged position actually worked actively to correct an injustice.

It is acceptable to celebrate a flawed man who worked actively to improve some aspect of an unjust system, even if he failed to address, and benefited from other elements of the unjust system into which he was born. If a white male lives in a time and place where black men are enslaved, women are treated as chattel, and homosexuals are prosecuted, and he dedicates his life to trying to end slavery, but ignores the plight of women and gays, then I think it is reasonable to celebrate his efforts to end slavery. It is also reasonable to note the less favorable aspects of his life.

So for me, the way to judge a statue of a famous but flawed historical figure, is to determine if the statue is specifically celebrating something that current moral standards find repugnant, or is it celebrating something virtuous and worthwhile (despite the other flawed positions the historical figure may have had). If city hall had a statue celebrating John MacDonald's role in residential schools, I don't think any reasonable person would support it remaining in place. If it is on the other hand celebrating his role as a founding father of Canada, then it makes sense for it to be there. Rather than remove it, I would prefer to append additional historical information, specifically addressing MacDonald's shortcomings.

This is why, IMHO, it makes perfect sense to remove Confederate leader statues in the South that were put in place for the purpose of celebrating some historical figure's act of treason while sending a (not very) subtle message of support for white privilege, but it is not appropriate to remove a statue of Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson (presumably) is being celebrated for writing the Declaration of Independence, or founding the University of Virginia. He is not specifically being celebrated for being a slave owner and raping Sally Hemmings. Those shortcomings can and should be addressed, but he still is an indisputably important historical figure who helped propel civilization forward.


Good points but I don’t agree with the last one. You aren’t going to find many people in the US that believe the statues of confederate leaders were put up to glorify slavery. They will say that they are there to remember important leaders from their state. The issue with MacDonald is the not a black and white difference, just a somewhat different shade of grey

#34 LeoVictoria

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 06:36 PM

Do we know who on council voted to remove the statue? I'd like to know so I can be sure not to vote for them.

PS I have no white guilt. Bad things happened in everyone's past and will continue to do so. Knowing about it is of more value than pretending it never happened and hiding facts/statues/street names away.


I have no white guilt either. In fact I reject the entire notion of collective guilt as a nonsensical carryover from religious concepts like original sin. I was born in Germany and yet I carry no guilt about the actions of the Nazis because I had nothing to do with it and don’t support their ideas.

I also don’t think it applies here. Respecting the feelings of a large local group by not keeping statues of their past oppressors at city hall seems like a reasonable thing to do that does not require any white guilt. It also does not change the legacy of MacDonald nor change history. Statues are not history.
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#35 LeoVictoria

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 06:51 PM

His entire body of academia is based on Soviet Russia and Karl Marx. He was sponsored by the Communist Party of Canada to give a series of talks in the fall of 2017. What else do you need?


So studying something is marvelling at it? Tough situation for historians. And how does that affect someone visiting city hall? I assume he doesn’t have Mao’s quotes emblazoned on his office door.

#36 AllseeingEye

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 07:37 PM

His entire body of academia is based on Soviet Russia and Karl Marx.  He was sponsored by the Communist Party of Canada to give a series of talks in the fall of 2017.  What else do you need?

Not to mention in an interview in VicNews in 2016, when asked what his biggest pet peeve was he gave the ideologically smarmy, drivel-dripping response "....capitalist exploitation of the people and planet." Yawn - as to opposed to what, Communist exploitation of the people and planet? Poor fellow.....must've still been overwrought from the night the Soviet Empire and its communist vassal buddies in Europe came crashing down upon themselves, and the leading communist State/proponent of Marxism-Leninism was forever consigned to the dustbin of history.....

 

......although in the same interview he did state that if he could see just one concert that his choice would be Led Zeppelin, so I must give him kudos for that.

 

That all said I bet he's just loving this "debate" about dispensing with old Sir John Eh, lol - after all what old-guard Class revolutionary could resist wading into a struggle between a White, British-born and educated, privileged upper crust white male, an 'exploiter' of the underrepresented and overwhelmed underdog in the guise of the First Nations - go git 'em Tiger!!!!! 

 

I am not at all a fan of revisionist history however I am also not an insensitive jerk - my white male, educated, generally upper middle class, British-tinged DNA profile notwithstanding. A simple historical review of the residential school system, not to mention a tour of the current conditions of about 90% of the present-day First Nations territories - Manitoba would be a real eye opener for those among you who've never set foot on a FN, and not in a good way - is sufficient evidence of the cultural and spiritual damage inflicted on our First Nations civilization. So move old John if you must to another no less prominent location, although perhaps one less visible from a FN standpoint - but do not erase or in way "revise" him, his history or impact and importance on the history of this country simply because it conveniently fits a latter-day 'enlightened' narrative or, worse, your own personal ideological proclivities bearing in mind they may be equally odious and distasteful to other non-FN folks....


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#37 Nparker

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 07:51 PM

...Respecting the feelings of a large local group by not keeping statues of their past oppressors at city hall seems like a reasonable thing to do...

But how is it right to remove the statue and hurt the feelings of another large group of people? Although deeply flawed (by today's standards), Sir John A. MacDonald, is an integral part of Canadian history worthy of a public memorial, despite the current political narrative.


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#38 Bingo

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 07:54 PM

The mayor said today on CFAX that history should be re-written and is constantly being rewritten.

 

She must be referring to the bridge fiasco.


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#39 David Bratzer

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 07:55 PM

I have a question about the "cleansing and healing ceremony" being planned by the "City Family" at the site of the statue once it is removed.

 

It's a legal question that I've been curious about for some time: Does anyone know whether these healing ceremonies violate the laws regarding the separation of church and state?



#40 On the Level

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 07:57 PM

I am 7th generation Canadian.  Lisa Helps is telling me to be ashamed of my family.   She......and her version of "Reconciliation" can go away.


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