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EDITORIAL – Statue vandals are no heroes; deserve stiff penalties

(Image: Facebook, Black Lives Matter Toronto)

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

THE STATUE VANDALS were at it again on the weekend, splattering pink paint on likenesses of Sir John A. Macdonald, King Edward VII and educator Egerton Ryerson in Toronto.
Three people have been charged with mischief and Black Lives Matter has claimed responsibility.

It mimics the actions of BLM activists in the U.S. who have destroyed several statues of prominent historical figures.

I’m not going to rely on vandals for my information on the lives of Sir John A. and others, and I’ll decide for myself whether they deserve condemnation for anything. Whether you believe something needs to be done about their statues is up to you, but it’s not up to you or me to take the law into our own hands and damage public property.

The anti-racism movement that has swept across the continent is founded in righteous motives but violence, looting and attacks on public and private property are among the least admirable aspects of it.

This is a democracy and a country based on the rule of law. When we want to change something, we do it respectfully and lawfully. Statues, if they are deemed offensive, can be removed through legal means, not hooliganism.

For example, here in B.C. statues of Sir John A. and Sir Matthew Begbie have been removed peacefully within the law. In both cases, it was unjustified but at least done through a proper process.

It’s galling that Black Lives Matter should now be bragging about its handiwork in Toronto as if it makes them heroes. The lawyer for one of the three members who have been charged talks about “the power of collective action.”

They do not represent the collective will of Canadians who need to speak up and declare such actions unacceptable. The penalty for public mischief includes jail time where appropriate. That shouldn’t be off the table as the circumstances around these acts of vandalism are investigated.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at mrothenburger@armchairmayor.ca.

About Mel Rothenburger (7861 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

3 Comments on EDITORIAL – Statue vandals are no heroes; deserve stiff penalties

  1. Pierce Graham // July 21, 2020 at 7:57 AM // Reply

    Right on, Mel. Those who claim to represent collective action usually belong to a fairly exclusive, narrow, often ignorant and uninformed collective that is trapped in a present day transitory perspective. p. graham

  2. Ian MacKenzie // July 20, 2020 at 9:20 AM // Reply

    We need a Museum of Rewritten History for all artifacts which at one time were admired public figures but have fallen out of favour and admiration. Such artifacts, whether we like their presence or not at this moment in time are part of our history and should be retained as examples of how a culture has grown or changed over the years. Llike the zits most juveniles
    have to endure and never forget, our historical memories should not be whitewashed in order to pretend we never suffered through them. History is history. We have no right to expunge those problematic persons, we can only explain apologetically the times in which they lived and too often ruled us unwashed rabble.

  3. Don Drysdale // July 20, 2020 at 8:44 AM // Reply

    I agree totally with you Mel but when you have the media specifically CBC doing continual National coverage of this in their words “peaceful protest” of the 40/50 protesters and them ranting about the three being held for 17 hours which was their choice because they refused to sign the notice to appear after being charged then this gets blown out of proportion and will only get worse. As before the BLM has been hijacked for nothing more than radical, social unrest. Media must do unbiased reporting not create a story to support their message.

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