Macdonald statue return brings speaker to library

IN SESSION 'Holding Court’, the statue depicting Sir John A. Macdonald is being reinstalled at the front of the Picton Library in the coming days. (Desirée Decoste/Gazette Staff)

 

SARAH WILLIAMS

STAFF WRITER

 

Sir John A. Macdonald will be holding court once more on Picton Main Street but the reinstallation of a statue depicting Canada’s First Prime Minister in his early years in Prince Edward County is driving discussion about truth and reconciliation.

Ruth Abernathy’s familiar bronze statue is slated to take permanent residence in the forecourt of Picton Public Library. Given that, the Prince Edward County Public Library will be holding a series of talks surrounding the broader historical context of Canada’s first prime minister. The first speaker in this series is Niigaanwewidam (Niigaan) Sinclair.

Sinclair is an award-winning writer, editor, activist and regular commentator on Indigenous issues. He is also an associate professor at the University of Manitoba.

Monocle Magazine named Sinclair one of the Top 20 Most Influential People in Canada and one of CBC Manitoba’s Top 40 Under 40.

Niigaan Sinclair (submitted photo)

Sinclair’s father, Murray Sinclair, was the chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

In May, Sinclair was recognized with a 2019 National Newspaper Award being chosen as Canadian columnist of the year.

The sculpture has been in storage for the past several months while extensive landscaping took place at its former resting ground in front of the Armoury.

Holding Court, as the sculpture is called, depicts the moment when the teenage Macdonald won his first court case in Picton on October 8, 1834. Four months later, he became an attorney in Picton and began his career in law.

The Macdonald Project of Prince Edward County commissioned the sculpture in 2015 and presented it to the municipality to celebrate the bicentennial of of the birth of MacDonald.

“We are excited to welcome this familiar statue to the library’s public space and engage the community in conversation about Sir John A. Macdonald’s legacy, especially through the lens of reconciliation,” said Barbara Sweet, CEO, PEC Public Library. “As a community gathering place focused on encouraging learning and inquiry, the PEC Public Library is well positioned to foster these discussions.”

PEC Public Library and the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board have partnered to welcome Sinclair to the County.

The upcoming talk will begin at 7 p.m. For more information, and to reserve your spot, please visit: https://www.peclibrary.org/events/dr-niigaan-sinclair-picton/.

Further events in the speakers series will be announced in the coming weeks.