Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by toppling of John A. Macdonald statue during weekend rallies

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday he was “deeply disappointed” by vandalism that took place over the weekend, including the toppling of a John A. Macdonald statue in Montreal.

Over the weekend, multiple demonstrations took place across the country calling on Canada to defund police.

Speaking to reporters in Montreal, Trudeau said “those kinds of acts of vandalism are not advancing the path towards greater justice and equality in this country.”

Read more: ‘Defund the police’ rallies held across Canada; protesters topple John A. Macdonald statue

Trudeau said he understood the impatience and frustration of Canadians who face systemic discrimination and racism and the desire to act quickly, adding that his government “will do just that.”

However, he said Canada is “a country of laws,” which need to be respected.

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“Choices like this, to rely on vandalism to advance causes, is not going to help anyone move forward the right way,” said Trudeau.

In Montreal, a group of people separate from the ongoing rally toppled a statue of Macdonald, Canada’s first prime minister, who was an architect of the residential school system and has been called a symbol of the country’s colonial past.

Images posted on social media on Saturday showed the statue had been decapitated on the ground and sprayed with graffiti.

Trudeau said Monday that protests and vandalism were being used by people on “either sides of the spectrum” as a method of furthering debate, but said he was more interested in using frustration as a motivator to make necessary changes.

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“We have an awful lot to do as a country, and part of it needs to have a clearer eye towards the past and mistakes made by previous generations of people who built this country,” he said.

“But our focus needs to be on how we improve things today and for the days to come.”

More to come. 

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