LETTER: We can’t erase the past

LETTER: We can’t erase the past

There has been a lot of emotion regarding the removal of the Sir John A. Macdonald statue. He was a political icon that never lived in Victoria, made many damning cultural mistakes and did little to improve our local community.

Imagine a prime minister or mayor today, using our city to gain political favour. Wouldn’t it have been more politically correct to have had a local Indigenous artist create a statue of one of their leaders to be placed beside Sir John A.? A cedar bench or bridge could have connected the two figures.

Think of the tourists and political photo-ops. Perhaps a plaque could invite the visitor to “talk to the stranger” seated beside them. Small print could suggest: “Put away your cellphone and have a conversation.”

Maybe a solar panel could be installed to help citizens see the light, warm the bench or shelter a lonely individual from the elements. Hiding a sculpture, removing a statue or defacing artwork is a slap in the face to the starving artist. Soon, statues will become extinct. Statues are becoming another item on the rare and endangered species list.

If we remove, erase or ignore the past, we are bound to repeat it. We learn from our mistakes. Politicians must not treat voters like children.

Funny how statues have become a lightning rod for attention and decisions are made at lightning-speed just before an election.

Art Bickerton