In 2019, What Should We Do with Sir John A. Macdonald Statue?

SINCLAIR SPEAKS Author, educator and columnist Dr. Niigaan Sinclair spoke at St. Mary Magdalene Church Tuesday evening about all sides of the legacy of Sir John A. Macdonald. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

In a Letter to the Editor  (Nov 22, Picton Gazette) Paul Allen wrote:

“Good morning, Councillors

On Tuesday evening I attended a presentation by Dr. Niigan Sinclair on Sir John A Macdonald’s mistreatment of Indigenous children, women, and men in Canada.

I understand that Dr. Sinclair’s presentation was the first in a series of talks that is being scheduled in the County – and that is sponsored, at least in part, by the municipality.

The launch of this series is meant to coincide with the re-installation of “Holding Court” – a sculpture depicting the start of Sir John A Macdonald’s legal career in Picton – in front of the public library on Main Street.

I admit that I’ve not been particularly conscientious in my own response to Dr. Sinclair’s father’s call for truth and reconciliation. I learned many profoundly troubling things about the abuse of Indigenous peoples in Canada on Tuesday evening.

I’d heard of various controversies surrounding public monuments to Sir John A Macdonald and other figures who played major roles in this shameful part of our nation’s history, though I hadn’t paid any of them especially close attention.

On Tuesday evening, I learned much more about how different communities across Canada have been struggling with these difficult issues.

Which brings me to write to you this morning.

I would like to make a deputation to Council on November 26, 2019; meanwhile, I respectfully submit that Council should defer the re-installation of “Holding Court” until there’s been further opportunity for residents in the County to learn of this pending change in our common space and to share their perspectives with Council.

I worry that no amount of interest in people’s opinions after the fact will make up for an apparent lack of interest beforehand.

Thank you.
Paul Allen, Picton

The presentation that Mr. Allen that Mr Allen refers to was given by Dr. Nigaan Sinclair, the son of Dr. Murray Sinclair of the Truth and Reconcilliation Commission.

In his presentation describing Sir John A. Macdonald’s legacy, Nigaan Sinclair said,

“I’m aware of his vision of the railway, of a united Canada which we have all inherited. I’m aware he was driven, unwavering, forceful and the prototypical dream of every Canadian. I know that he is the vision that Canadian’s want to imagine themselves as and that even in his death, as Wilfred Laurier said, he is the history of Canada itself. But here is where we get honest. I’m a bit tired of having to defend the merits of Macdonald, because the conversatoin goes as follows: he is a man of his time. He needs to be viewed in the context of the way people viewed the world at that time. We need to forgive him for his complicatedness.”

“Violence is violence is violence,” echoed Sinclair. “What I mean by that is Macdonald’s career, while remarkable and important and impactful, is defined by incredible brutal and draconian violence, particularly against Indigenous Peoples.

“Violence is violence is violence.”—  Dr. Niigan Sinclair

“He is the primary perpetrator of genocide against Indigenous People, something that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has acknowledged, recognized and accepted responsibility for. If the Prime Minister of of a country acknowledges genocide has occurred and the perpetrator is the man we’re speaking about tonight, it’s worth having a conversation and using the word itself.”

So what does the statue actually say to our children? At the very least, just re-positioning the statue must include a plaque that describes Macdonld’s full legacy: father of Confederation and perpetrator of the ongoing Indigenous genocide.

Here is where we need to be honest. Violence is violence is violence.




Canadians Prove No Town Is Too Small For A Climate Strike

From Terrace, B.C. to Picton, Ont. to Truro, N.S.


Climate strikes aren’t just for big city folks.

There were 278 demonstrations across Canada to call for action on climate change Friday, according to Fridays for Future. While tens of thousands of people crowded the streets in cities like Toronto and Montreal, protests in smaller centres still packed a punch.

In Yellowknife, organizer Kyle Rogers said more than five per cent of the city’s population of 18,800 — or about 1,000 people — showed up.

“Climate change is the most important issue in history and we need to take drastic action now before it’s too late,” he said in an email to HuffPost Canada.

“The climate crisis warms the north three times the rate as the rest of the world. I helped with the strike because politicians around the world don’t do nearly enough to truly make a difference. It’s our future so we need to protect it.”

Protesters congregate in Yellowknife to call for bold action on climate change, Sept. 27,
Protesters congregate in Yellowknife to call for bold action on climate change, Sept. 27, 2019. KYLE ROGERS.

Another event in Picton, Ont. drew about 60 protesters. Picton is a community of 4,700 people, about 160 kilometres east of Toronto.

Many drivers who passed the action on Main Street gave support with thumbs up and honks, organizer Don Ross told HuffPost.

Ross, 65, said many baby boomers don’t think they need to do anything about climate change because it won’t impact them.

“It really bothers me,” he said.He and his wife Heather “feel our generation is ‘throwing our kids under the bus’ and we have a moral imperative to do something now.”

He said he’s upset that the Ontario government is dismantling a local wind farm project that could have provided renewable energy.

“At a time when the world is being driven to take action, here in Prince Edward County, we’re taking down a wind farm … It’s really sad.”

Terrace, B.C., a city in northwestern British Columbia with 13,600 people, saw climate strikes both this week and last week.

Leticia Kistamas, who organized the strikes there, said she’s very concerned about the future for her three children.

She said she’s particularly worried about the amount of plastic pollution in the ocean.

About 60 people came out for last week’s event, Kistamas said.

“We had people from all walks of life,” she said. There were people from Indigenous nations, conservation groups and political parties as well as “teachers, parents, children, grandparents, scientists and high school students.”

There was also an action in Moncton, N.B.

Newfoundlanders came out in droves for the strike in St. John’s.

The crowd was loud in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

Kids in Uxbridge, Ont. had impeccably painted signs.

And protesters packed Civic Square in Truro, N.S.

Climate strikes turn up heat on leaders

Rene Mapile holds a sign reading, “Act now – it’s real” in reference to climate change Friday, September 27, 2019 while demonstrating at a climate strike in Picton, Ont. It was one of thousands globally. LUKE HENDRY/THE INTELLIGENCER

PICTON — Inspired by hope but driven by a need for urgent action on climate change, dozens of people staged a Fridays for Future climate strike on Main Street.

They, like those who gathered Friday in Quinte West and Sept. 20 in Belleville, were among hundreds of thousands around the world pressing politicians, polluters and others to slash emissions and pollution, shift to renewable energy sources – all within the next decade to prevent what scientists say could be a disastrous – and irreversible – warming of the planet.

“It’s doable,” said Don Ross of Milford.

“It’s not pie-in-the-sky.

“the solutions are all there. We need to rapidly embrace them and implement them,” he said.

Ross is a founder of the County Sustainability Group which formed in 2005. He said he promoted Friday’s demonstration online after attending the last strike in Belleville, then learning sisters Annette and Angela McIntosh of Milford had demonstrated alone in Picton on the same day.

Humans must stop burning carbon and abandon “the idea of infinite growth on a finite planet,” said Ross. “We’re sleepwalking into the future.

“What I would like to see is people not finding excuses anymore,” he said, adding people too often blame others for inaction on environmental issues.

“We’re way past excuses.”

Ross, like many present for the strike, said he was there out of concern for his children and grandchildren.

He spoke of the need for “looking in a child’s eyes and saying, ‘What am I doing now?’

“If your reaction is, ‘Nothing,’ then I think you really need to check your moral compass.

“Civilizations are judged by the world we leave for our descendants. I think to some extent we’re throwing our children under a bus.”

Yet he also said there are “tipping points” in both impending environmental damage and, on the positive side, the number of citizens rising in an attempt to reverse the trend.

Ross said locals are somewhat shielded from the effects of climate change, but it’s causing widespread problems in other parts of the world, including mass migration of refugees – something Friday’s demonstrators warned will increase.

Twins Angela and Annette McIntosh, 64, said the planned dismantling of local wind turbines is a mistake. Angela recalled young activist Greta Thunberg’s recent address to the United Nations.

“Here she is at the UN in New York, fighting to stop climate change, and they’re taking down wind turbines in Prince Edward County. It doesn’t make any sense.”

Annette said politicians “have got to something or the planet’s going to do it for them.

“It’s going to be an Armageddon.”

At Quinte West city hall, another crowd gathered for speeches by federal candidates Stephanie Bell of the NDP and Danny Celovsky of the Green Party, plus city councillor Terry Cassidy, and several residents, said Lori Borthwick, one of the organizers. A student strike at Albert College was also reported.

Back in Picton, Rosalind Adams of South Marysburgh handed out information about the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. She said the panel’s report on global warming is being misinterpreted by many, including Canada’s political parties. She encouraged people to read the report at

Canada’s emissions must be cut by 90 per cent by 2030 “to save a livable climate,” Adams’ handout read.

Despite frustration with the current situation, several people said they believed humanity is up to the challenge.

Don Ross said there may be more frequent climate strikes in the area.

“This isn’t over,” he said.

Bloomfield mother Daniela Kelloway said she and her family are trying to change their ways, including eating more plant-based foods and less meat.

“We’re taking small steps in that direction.”

She encouraged people to reduce consumption and, when shopping, ask themselves if they really need what they’re buying.

“I don’t think people ask themselves that quite enough.”

Sam Elgindy, who came with her two young children, said she had mixed feelings: disappointment with world leaders but optimism about the movement for a cleaner Earth.

“It’s a moment of hope. It’s a moment of inspiration,” Elgindy said.

“I want to see policymakers listen. I want to see commitments to action. I want to see tangible change.”

Federal candidates in the Bay of Quinte riding are to take part Oct. 3 in a debate on environmental issues. The 7 p.m. event at Belleville’s Centennial Secondary School, 160 Palmer Road, is part of the 100 Debates on the Environment, a national series.

Sam Elgindy carries her daughter, Uma, amid the climate strike Friday, September 27, 2019 on Main Street in Picton, Ont. “It’s a moment of hope,” Elgindy said. “I want to see tangible change.” Luke Hendry/The Intelligencer/Postmedia Network LUKE HENDRY / LUKE HENDRY/THE INTELLIGENCER

Demonstrators in a Fridays for Future rally carry placards Friday, September 27, 2019 in Picton, Ont. Luke Hendry/The Intelligencer/Postmedia Network LUKE HENDRY /LUKE HENDRY/THE INTELLIGENCER

Suri Kelloway, 11, of Bloomfield demonstrates during a climate strike Friday, September 27, 2019 on Main Street in Picton, Ont. Luke Hendry/The Intelligencer/Postmedia Network LUKE HENDRY / LUKE HENDRY/THE INTELLIGENCER

Angela Lammes of Milford and Elieen Mapile of Picton take part in a Fridays for Future protest Friday, September 27, 2019 in Picton, Ont. Lammes is among the Prince Edward County residents who say they want to see more use of renewable energy, including wind turbines in the county despite the county being “an unwilling host” to turbines. Luke Hendry/The Intelligencer/Postmedia Network LUKE HENDRY / LUKE HENDRY/THE INTELLIGENCER

Eileen Mapile of Picton waves to motorists while calling for action on climate change Friday, September 27, 2019 in Picton, Ont. With her was her dog, Diego. Luke Hendry/The Intelligencer/Postmedia Network LUKE HENDRY /LUKE HENDRY/THE INTELLIGENCER