An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
THE MARCH TO REVISE HISTORY continues, with a mob tearing down a statue of Prime Minister John A. Macdonald in Montreal on Saturday. The riff raff cheered as he came down off the pedestal, as his head was dislodged from his body.
The question I have is, where were the police when this was happening? Where have they been at other incidents when public art has been vandalized in the name of racial justice?
Where was Justin Trudeau?
I hate to say it, but Jason Kenney and Erin O’Toole are bang on when they demand action to make it stop. Kenney says that if Montreal decides not to put the statue up again, he’ll gladly take it off their hands and erect it on the grounds of the Alberta legislature.
He tweeted that both Macdonald and Canada are imperfect but both are great, and there would be no Canada without Macdonald.
O’Toole, a week into his new job as leader of the federal Conservatives, tweeted, “We will not build a better future by defacing our past. It’s time politicians grow a backbone and stand up for our country.”
He’s right. Defacing and vandalizing public property does not qualify as peaceful protest. It isn’t the protesters’ right. The worthiness of public monuments is not their decision to make. There’s nothing righteous about tearing down statues.
They should be hauled off to jail, charged and punished.
Punishment under the law for vandalism can include serious jail time plus fines. If a few such sentences were handed out it would send a message that respectful public discourse, not mob rule, is the way we change things in Canada. The vandalism would stop very quickly.
And, by the way, the answer to the question of where the police were is that they were right there. After watching the vandals do their work, police asked them to leave.
Ironically, the destructive work was done during a protest demanding that police be defunded.
And Trudeau? He has failed to take a clear stand condemning such destruction. By the time you read this he may have released some fuzzy statement but he’s been anything but Johnny on the spot.
And one more thought. Maybe Kamloops should get in on the bidding for the statue. Sir John A. would make a great addition to the Kamloops City Hall grounds.
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.