NEWS
08/17/2018 17:33 EDT | Updated 08/17/2018 17:33 EDT

Montreal John A. Macdonald Statue Vandalized With Red Paint

An anti-colonial group claimed responsibility.

A city worker begins cleaning the statue of Sir John A. Macdonald after it was vandalized in Montreal, Friday, August 17, 2018.
Canadian Press
A city worker begins cleaning the statue of Sir John A. Macdonald after it was vandalized in Montreal, Friday, August 17, 2018.

MONTREAL — A downtown Montreal statue of Sir John A. Macdonald was spray-painted red early Friday, with an anti-colonial group claiming responsibility for the vandalism.

THE CANADIAN PRESS
The statue of Sir John A. Macdonald is seen after being vandalized in Montreal on Friday.

It said it wanted to show its opposition to far-right groups and white supremacy as well as its support of the City of Victoria's recent decision to remove a statue of the former prime minister.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps announced last week the city would be removing the statue because it serves as a painful reminder of the violence inflicted on First Nations at residential schools.

THE CANADIAN PRESS
The statue of Sir John A. Macdonald is seen after being vandalized in Montreal.

The action has sparked a national debate around how best to represent historical figures who made positive contributions to the country at the same time as sharing discriminatory or hateful perspectives more common to their time.

In 1883, Macdonald argued in the Commons for the removal of Indigenous children from their "savage'' parents so they could learn the ways of white men.

The same Montreal statue was vandalized last year.