Canada 'Anti-racist' group takes credit for spray-painting John A. Macdonald statue

21:36  12 november  2017
21:36  12 november  2017 Source:   The Gazette

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An anonymous group of “anti-colonial anti - racists ” have taken credit for spray - painting the statue of Sir John A . Macdonald in Place du Canada early Sunday. The group filmed themselves dousing the statue with red paint and posted the footage to a popular Montreal anarchist website.

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1113 city vandalism: 'Anti-racist' group takes credit for spray-painting John A. Macdonald statue© Christopher Curtis 'Anti-racist' group takes credit for spray-painting John A. Macdonald statue

An anonymous group of “anti-colonial anti-racists” have taken credit for spray-painting the statue of Sir John A. Macdonald in Place du Canada early Sunday.

The group filmed themselves dousing the statue with red paint and posted the footage to a popular Montreal anarchist website. In a communiqué published beneath the video, the group says they targeted Canada’s first prime minister because he was a “white supremacist.”

“He directly contributed to the genocide of Indigenous peoples with the creation of the brutal residential schools system,” the document reads. “(As) well as other measures meant to destroy native cultures and traditions.”

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Nicholas Clyde Griffith, a groundskeeper at the park, says this isn’t the first time the statue has been vandalized.

“I look up and I was like, ‘Oh s—, not again,'” said Clyde Griffith, who works for Strathmore Grounds Management. “Last time they spray-painted the anarchy A on (the statue).”

The vandals also took credit for defacing the statue last summer in protest of the Canada 150 celebrations and the “whitewashing” of the country’s colonial history.

Clyde Griffith says the paint can normally be washed out with solvents but given that so much of it wound up on the bronze statue, he says cleaning it might be quite the job.

“Most of the time, when I’m here, they don’t do anything because they see me with my uniform,” he said. “But when I leave (…) they could do whatever. No one’s here at 2 a.m.”

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Though the anti-racist group said it isn’t affiliated with Sunday’s anti-racism march, they support its goals and oppose far-right groups like La Meute and Storm Alliance.

There has been a debate — in both academic circles and Indigenous communities — recently, surrounding Macdonald’s role in history. While he’s best known as Canada’s first prime minister and the man who steered the country from under English rule, Macdonald’s legacy has a much darker side.

During a famine in the prairies in the 1880s, the prime minister ordered the Department of Indian Affairs to withhold food rations to the Plain and Wood Cree and Assiniboine people until they cleared their land and made way for the Canadian Pacific Railroad.

While these conversations have been fraught with emotion — with some suggestion Macdonald’s name be removed from schools and other public places — none of the prominent scholars or Indigenous activists have called for acts of vandalism.

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