OTTAWA—A brand new survey means that whereas Canadians are divided over eradicating monuments to politicians who harboured racist views or pushed racist insurance policies, many oppose the “spontaneous” toppling of statues of Canada’s first prime minister, John A. Macdonald.
The on-line poll by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies follows the controversial tearing down and vandalism of a Macdonald statue in Montreal final month by activists offended over his anti-Indigenous views and insurance policies.
The incident, which was condemned by political leaders of numerous stripes, occurred throughout an anti-racism protest Aug. 30. Video confirmed a gaggle of activists chanting and cheering as the statue was pulled to the bottom earlier than its head snapped off.
The episode represented the most recent chapter in a rising debate about what to do with such statues, given Macdonald’s legacy as an architect of each Canada and the nation’s residential faculty system, the place hundreds of kids suffered abuse, and even demise, throughout efforts to stamp out Indigenous tradition.
Half of respondents to the survey mentioned they oppose the thought of eradicating statues or monuments to politicians who espoused racist views or carried out racist insurance policies, whereas 31 per cent mentioned they help such strikes and 19 per cent didn’t know.
The divide was smaller when it got here to streets, colleges and different public establishments bearing the names of historic figures proven to have been racist, with 47 per cent in opposition to renaming them and 34 per cent in favour.
Yet 75 per cent of respondents to the poll have been in opposition to the Montreal-style “spontaneous” tearing down of Macdonald statues by activists whereas solely 11 per cent mentioned they have been in favour.
The numbers counsel Canadians are extra supportive of a deliberate course of of coping with such statues — however take a vital view of activists taking issues into their very own fingers, mentioned Leger government vice-president Christian Bourque.
“If it was not through vandalism, would that number be different? Most likely. Because fully a third of Canadians say they would support removing a monument or statue if it were for the reasons described there,” Bourque mentioned.
“But support for doing so through vandalism or some form of illegal action is not supported. In the context that it was done in Montreal, it doesn’t get support from anybody.”
The outcomes present respondents are additionally divided over how they see Macdonald.
Forty-four per cent mentioned they thought of him firstly as the architect of Canadian confederation whereas 15 per cent considered him as having set in movement insurance policies that attacked the rights of Indigenous Peoples and sought to assimilate them.
Yet 37 per cent mentioned they didn’t know sufficient about him to say both method, whereas in one other query, solely 15 per cent mentioned that they had a optimistic view of Macdonald whereas 47 per cent have been impartial, 12 per cent have been detrimental and 26 per cent didn’t know.
The on-line survey of 1,529 Canadians happened Sept. 4-6. An web poll can’t be given a margin of error as a result of it’s not a random pattern.