Two Queen Victoria statues that were toppled to the ground in Winnipeg on Canada Day will be rebuilt, says Premier Brian Pallister.
Nine Conservative Members of Parliament wrote to Brian Palliser stating their “shock” and “dismay” at what they call vandalism.
The group of MPs called for the statues to be rebuilt – and Pallister answered those calls Wednesday morning during a news conference.
“Tearing down is easier than building up,” said Pallister. “And, building up is something we have to dedicate ourselves to.”
Pallisters announcement quickly lead to criticism online and from the Indigenous community.
Vivian Ketchum, a residential school survivor, said Pallister is off base.
“He has more emotion for a piece of rock than for what our emotions and grievances we have at this time,” Ketchum told APTN News.
Pallister didn’t stop at discussing the toppled statues.
He addressed a very colonial view of history.
“The people who came to this country before it was a country and since, didn’t come to destroy anything. They came here to build,” said Pallister.
The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) called Pallister’s comments “shocking” and “provocative” in a statement and the “worst kind of racist dog-whistling imaginable.”
Pallister spoke about the importance of reconciliation.
Ketchum said if Pallister believed in reconciliation, he’d come and talk to the people who sit outside the Manitoba legislature.
“Any of the events that we hold at the Legislative grounds, we never see him coming down to talk to us,” said Ketchum. “So his words of reconciliation that he’s talking about lately are bullshit.”
Palliser promised to engage with the Indigenous community about wording on the rebuilt statues, but that the consultation will not include anyone who brought the statues down.