Cameras now watching Sir John A. Macdonald statue in Kingston, Ont.
The Sir John A. Macdonald statue in City Park in Kingston, Ont. (Kimberley Johnson / CTV News Ottawa)
KINGSTON, ONT. -- Two CCTV cameras are now keeping an eye on the Sir John. A Macdonald statue in Kingston's City Park.
The City confirms the two cameras were installed this week at the monument to Canada's first Prime Minister, along with signs informing the public of their presence.
The move comes after activists in Montreal recently pulled down its statue of Macdonald, who has come under increasing scrutiny for policies damaging and sometimes deadly to Indigenous peoples in Canada, including overseeing the creation of the country's residential school system.
Colin Wiginton, Cultural Director for the City of Kingston, said in a statement the statue is considered a public asset, so the city is required to care for it, but said of greater importance was the recently completed 18-month public engagement process that looked at how Kingston stories are told through its cultural exhibitions and programming.
"As part of that engagement, the City sought feedback from the community specific to Sir John A. Macdonald and his legacy and how both are presented in Kingston," he said.
"The majority of participants involved in the engagement felt it was important to keep the monument in place but to develop an approach to interpreting local history in ways that are more complete and inclusive."
Earlier this summer, Kingston City Council directed staff to form a working group made up of Indigenous and non-Indigenous community members to develop a new plaque for the statue that Wiginton said provides a "more honest and inclusive account of Macdonald's history in a Kingston context."
That work is expected to begin soon, Wiginton said.