Deputation and Comments to PEC Council, November 26, 2019
On November 26, 2019, PEC Council received a deputation from Paul Allen and comments from four members of the audience requesting that the County defer the re-installation of the statue of Macdonald “Holding Court” on Picton Main Street until there’s been an opportunity for residents to learn of this pending change in our common space and to share their perspectives with Council.
A recording of the deputation and comments is available on the County’s corporate website. Councillors Roberts, McNaughton, and Margetson had comments and questions for Mr. Allen. Councillors Roberts and McNaughton, and Mayor Ferguson, had comments and questions for Ms. Hart. For ease of reference:
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The Resurrection of “Holding Court”
On December 23, 2019, Prince Edward County resurrected the statue of John A. Macdonald “Holding Court” on Picton Main Street. I happened to be walking by at the time.
In an interview with The Picton Gazette, published to coincide with the statue’s resurrection, Mayor Ferguson announced that the municipality will be asking for public feedback on the statue in early 2020. “We want to hear ideas about ways we can recognize our first Prime Minister’s complex legacy. I am hopeful that this consultation together with the Library’s speaker series will help our community think more deeply about the process of reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples.”
I regret that Prince Edward County has decided against seeking public feedback before resurrecting “Holding Court” on Picton Main Street. I worry that no amount of interest in people’s opinions after the fact will make up for an apparent lack of interest beforehand.
I Am Your People, We Are Our People
On November 12, 2019, Dr. Niiganwewidam Sinclair spoke to a large gathering at St. Mary Magdalene United Church in Picton, Ontario on “The Memorialization of Sir John A. Macdonald.” Dr. Sinclair spoke for about an hour and answered questions from the audience for another half hour.
Dr. Sinclair has kindly agreed to our publishing and transcribing an audio clip from his Q & A.
The Macdonald Project
The installation of Macdonald “Holding Court” on Picton Main Street on July 1, 2015 marked the two hundredth anniversary of John A. Macdonald’s birth. “Holding Court” was the culmination of five years effort of a group of local residents called Macdonald Project of Prince Edward County. Council’s decision about what to do with “Holding Court” in 2019-20, should recognize that the Macdonald Project has never acknowledged Macdonald’s part in cultural genocide committed against Indigenous peoples.
There are some excellent current, sustained treatments of truth and reconciliation in the popular and academic press.
Prince Edward County accepted the statue of Macdonald Holding Court as a public art donation from The Macdonald Project, according to terms and conditions set out in By-law 3587-2015.
Recent Local News
- Prince Edward County to consult public on statue of Sir John A. Macdonald (Global News Kingston, January 3, 2020).
- County to consult public on Sir John A. Macdonald statue (The Picton Gazette, December 23, 2019).
- PEC Council should defer statue re-installation (The Picton Gazette, November 21, 2019).
- Macdonald statue sparks reconciliation dialogue with Dr. Niigaan Sinclair (The Picton Gazette, November 14, 2019).
- Statue re-installation opens door for meaningful reconciliation talks (The Picton Gazette, November 7, 2019).
- Council approves relocation of “Holding Court” statue (The Picton Gazette, May 16, 2019).
- Napanee needle felter brings life-like Sir John A. Macdonald to his hometown (The Picton Gazette, July 13, 2017).
- Sculptor Abernathy to visit Picton next week (The Picton Gazette, July 6, 2017).
- Letter: Impact of Macdonald’s conversion should also become part of legacy (The Picton Gazette, July 23, 2015).
- Commentary: Restrictions of expression must be carefully considered (The Picton Gazette, July 16, 2015).
- Correction (The Picton Gazette, July 16, 2015).
- Letter: Full range of Macdonald facts should be taught (The Picton Gazette, July 16, 2015).
- Macdonald unveiling a marquee attraction (The Picton Gazette, July 9, 2015).
- Speakers acknowledge Macdonald’s shortcomings, celebrate his vision and service (The Picton Gazette, July 9, 2015).
- Letter: Macdonald too flawed to celebrate with statue in his honour (The Picton Gazette, July 2, 2015).
- Picturing Our Community: Ready for unveiling (The Picton Gazette, July 2, 2015).
- Advertisement: Four walking tours (The Picton Gazette, June 30, 2015).
- Special presentation tomorrow to detail John A. Macdonald’s early years (The Picton Gazette, June 25, 2015).
- County formally accepts Macdonald sculpture (The Picton Gazette, June 11, 2015).
- Commentary: Education key in wake of residential schools’ damage (The Picton Gazette, June 4, 2015).