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 firstname.lastname@example.org.