Red paint to remain on vandalized Sir John A. Macdonald statue
KITCHENER -- Wilmot Township officials say they won't be removing red paint from the statue of Sir John A. Macdonald in Baden, after it was targeted for the second time this week.
The statue was originally covered by a tarp on Tuesday morning, after it was doused with paint for the second time.
Waterloo Regional Police say it's believed the paint had been poured on the statue at some point overnight.
Early Tuesday evening, the tarp was removed.
Cheyanne Thorpe, an Indigenous woman who lives in Wilmot Township, said she thinks the decision to leave the paint and remove the tarp is the right one.
"The point of the red paint is a statement, a very strong statement at that," she said. "Until we can discuss what that statement means and the weight that it carries and what we might be doing moving forward in regards to the statue, that it should be kept, it shouldn't be hidden and it shouldn't be washed away."
On Sunday, which was National Indigenous People's Day, the statue was also found covered in paint. It was partly cleaned up that day, with the rest washed off on Monday.
The vandalism, and Macdonald’s role in creating the disgraced residential school system, have generated new conversations about the statue’s place and its future.
There are now calls to reconsider the “Prime Ministers Path” project around the site of the statue.
During Monday night's Wilmot Township council meeting, Coun. Angie Hallman put forward a motion to pause and review the project.
"While I think that the artist and the people who have put these statues here with the absolute best intentions -- there's an opportunity to pause this conversation and invite all the people to the table for this discussion," Hallman said.
That motion will be voted on at the next council meeting in July. Hallman said she has also asked for the paint not to be washed off in the meantime.
Ron Taves, who found the statue covered in paint on Tuesday, said he was "dismayed" by the vandalism.
"I wish they would take things and work on their frustrations in another manner, as opposed to taking action and devastating items in our community," he said.
Baden resident Leah Vusich said the paint was eye-opening for her.
"I knew very little about the history of John A. Macdonald and have spent the last 48 hours doing a crash course and learning," she said.
Vusich said she's concerned about the Prime Ministers Walk project, which was brought into Baden without community consultation.
"I became very passionate and very angry and wanting answers to some questions of our local leadership," she said.
Wilmot Township Mayor Les Armstrong said there wasn't community consultation on the project because the township isn't paying for it, just providing the space for the statues.