Stop the Prime Ministers Path Statue Project - UPDATE: Links to WL Documents now available

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To the Township of Wilmot Council,

We call on you to immediately halt the Prime Ministers Path statue project and immediately remove the statues that are already erected.

It is politically and culturally insensitive, offensive, and violent to celebrate and commemorate the Canadian Prime Ministers in the form of bronzed statues on land that traditionally belongs to Indigenous peoples who have historically, and are contemporarily, suffering from the legacy of Canada’s first Prime Minister.

Sir John A. Macdonald set the foundation of the most damaging elements of Canadian Indigenous policy, including but not limited to, the Northwest Mounted Police (NWMP), residential schools, and the pass system. In addition to Macdonald being outspoken about preservation of the Aryan race and the atrocity and cruelty of what other members of parliament of the day referred to as his “policies of starvation” to gain control of Indigenous peoples, he forced dozens from a Cree community to witness the largest mass execution in the history of Canada, a hanging of eight fellow Cree men. This occurred in 1885 after public hangings were outlawed in Canada.

Subsequent Prime Ministers built upon Macdonald’s foundation and this brings us to our contemporary time of working to reconcile the history of our collective nation built upon genocidal acts targeted at the Indigenous population of Turtle Island.

There need not be any further public consultation as it has already been complete.

·       In 2014 the statues project was voted down by Kitchener City Council by a vote of 8-1 after public consultation that showed 79% of the 2,579 respondents were in opposition to the project moving forward.

·       In 2015 a Special Advisory Committee to the President at Wilfrid Laurier, with a membership comprised of representation from the Staff Association, Alumni Association, Aboriginal Initiatives, Brantford Campus, Seminary, Indigenous and non-Indigenous students, Diversity & Equity Office, Students’ Union, Graduate Student Association, Faculty of Arts, History Department, External Relations, Board of Governors, Political Science Department, Faculty of Education, and a Faculty Senator was tasked to engage in broad consultations to inform the future of the project. The committee took into consideration 81 written submissions, 13 public community presentations, two invited presentations, and public petitions. The results, published in the Final Report, upheld the removal of the statues. These documents are archived, but we encourage Wilmot council to take on the labour of contacting Wilfrid Laurier to request copies.

·       On July 13, 2020 at the Township of Wilmot Council meeting delegations invested time and labour to provide further consultation and insight to council in opposition to the statue project moving forward in Baden.

·       Further, Indigenous peoples have called for statues to be placed in a museum where opportunity to learn a more fulsome history can occur.

It is dismissive for Council to disregard all the 1000’s of expert and broad community consultations that have already occurred over the last seven years in our region and rather put forward that Council wants yet more consultations. To do so causes further harm to Indigenous peoples who are continually asked to relive historical traumas for the benefit of settler education.

Sources of the above consultations are available through public documents at Wilfrid Laurier University, City of Kitchener council minutes, Township of Wilmot council minutes, and public news sources. As to not put more labour on Indigenous scholars and community members, we expect you to be accountable for your own learning and seek out these sources.

In summary, we request that you to accept the broad consultations that have previously been done in our region that have concluded, “The Prime Minister Statue Project is unable to successfully provide opportunities for the intellectual inquiry and critical reflection necessary to understand the full context of the individuals, the complexities of their historical significance, and how this specific narrative of Canadian history interacts with a contemporary, diverse and inclusive understanding of Canada.” (Special Advisory Committee to the President, Prime Minister Statue Project, Final Report, 2016).

We call on you to immediately halt the Prime Ministers Path statue project and immediately remove the statues that are already erected.

Kitchener City Council results of statue project: 

Special Advisory Committee to the President, Prime Minister Statue Project, minutes and final report were publicly available but are now archived by Wilfrid Laurier as seen here:

Township of Wilmot council meeting minutes:

Let's not erase history, but let's put history in the right context where a fulsome history can be learned, such as a museum: