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Talks to begin in Victoria on new home, clearer context, for Macdonald statue

A statue of Sir John A. Macdonald is seen outside of City Hall in Victoria, B.C., Tuesday, January 31, 2017. The near life-sized statue was removed from the steps of Victoria City Hall last August. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)

VICTORIA – The City of Victoria and local First Nations are mulling over what to do about the mothballed Sir John A. Macdonald statue.

The statue of Canada’s first prime minister and member of Parliament for Victoria from 1878 to 1882 was removed from the steps of Victoria City Hall last August.

Critics said Macdonald’s role at the head of a government that created the Indian Act and established the residential school system made the statue inappropriate.

Mayor Lisa Helps says Victoria will be holding talks in the coming months, focusing on what the city must learn about reconciliation and also considering the best place to relocate the statue.

A decision on a new home won’t be made until after talks conclude, and Helps says donating the statue in an option, although that could be complicated because it was originally a gift to Victoria.

Helps says politicians, Coast Salish First Nations in the area and the public have to consider how the statue could be placed with more context, ensuring history is expanded, not erased.