"Holding Court" John A. Macdonald Statue

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Public feedback for this project has now closed.

The “Holding Court” John A. Macdonald statue will remain in its current location on Picton Main Street following a decision by County Council at a special meeting on Tuesday, November 17. Read more on the County of Prince Edward website.


The Sir John A. Macdonald statue "Holding Court" was returned from storage to Picton Main Street at the Picton Library in early 2020 (after its original installation in 2015). Its return was a catalyst for conversation about Sir John A. Macdonald's past, within the broader context of colonialism. From this conversation

Public feedback for this project has now closed.

The “Holding Court” John A. Macdonald statue will remain in its current location on Picton Main Street following a decision by County Council at a special meeting on Tuesday, November 17. Read more on the County of Prince Edward website.


The Sir John A. Macdonald statue "Holding Court" was returned from storage to Picton Main Street at the Picton Library in early 2020 (after its original installation in 2015). Its return was a catalyst for conversation about Sir John A. Macdonald's past, within the broader context of colonialism. From this conversation came the Prince Edward County Public Library's Speaker Series (Dr. Niigan Sinclair, Sarah Midanik, Kateri Lucier-Laboucan and Calvin Brook) addressed the need for projects which aim to restore Indigenous presence within communities, among other things. Other speakers were scheduled into March, but the COVID-19 pandemic caused the series to be cancelled due to public health measures.


The "Holding Court" Statue Working Group" was formed under the Prince Edward Heritage Advisory Committee (PEHAC) to conduct public consultation, research and ultimately to make recommendations to PEHAC about the future of the "Holding Court" statue. Their mandate is to advise PEHAC in their recommendation to Council in regard to the current installation in Picton of the "Holding Court" Sir John A. Macdonald statue.


Their goals are as follows:


  1. Follow the scope of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's 10 Principles of Truth and Reconciliation
  2. Conduct research, carry out public consultation and prepare documentation, as necessary, to assist PEHAC in their recommendation to assist Council in their decision on the future of the Holding Court" statue
  3. Assist staff to prepare a report to PEHAC and ultimately Council by December 1, 2020, or as soon as feasible, outlining a recommendation for the future of the "Holding Court" statue.

Through this Have Your Say public engagement page, the Working Group will share information relevant to the public discussion, including their terms of reference, the 10 Principles of Truth and Reconciliation, and other documents (located in "Resources").


The Working Group would like to hear your views on what should be done with the "Holding Court" statue.


Individuals and organizations can tell the Working Group their views:


  • Directly (in person or virtually) by presenting deputations (see "Deputation Guidelines" for more information on making public deputations)
  • During a Town Hall event planned for Fall 2020.
  • Via email to: ecowan@pecounty.on.ca
  • By fax at: 613.476.5727
  • By mail to: The "Holding Court” Statue Working Group, c/o County of Prince Edward, 332 Main Street, Picton, ON, K0K 2T0.

Please note that deputations and all comments are public.


Please explore the feedback options available on this page (below) to give your feedback. Register for updates to this page to get notified when new consultation tools are added as the Working Group progresses towards their goal.


In the words of Dr. Niigan Sinclair during his address in Picton, "What do we do with this history we have inherited together?"

Tell us what the Holding Court statue means to you?

Thank you for sharing your story with us.
CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

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    Honouring Genocide and White Supremacy is Wrong

    by Riel Brown, 8 months ago
    Statues are not history lessons. They are monuments that honour and memorialize an individual or an event.History lessons are taught in families, schools and communities, and should not be conflated with statues.


    John A. MacDonald was Canada's first Prime Minister and he both endorsed and instituted the genocide of the Indigenous Nations of what is now known as Canada. He was an avid white supremist who supported the enslavement and ownership of black and brown-skinned human beings by white-skinned human beings.


    He was not a good or honourable man, and he should not hold a place of honour in this... Continue reading
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    Use Your Imagination

    by June Johnston, 8 months ago
    A statue is not part of history. So removing it does not rewrite history.


    I learned in high school history from a very smart teacher the importance of looking at “Primary Sources” when evaluating historical events. If you look at letters and documents written by Sir John A., you find a racist, mean-spirited person who showed contempt for Indigenous people. Even taken in context for its time, this attitude is not something to celebrate by displaying a statue on Main Street Picton.

    Try to imagine you are an Indigenous person who has to drive by that statue every day on... Continue reading

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    John A. monument

    by Richard Pearse, 8 months ago

    It is a monument that remembers an important leader who grew up in Glenora, became a barrister, and then went on to be a leader in the establishment of this great country. John A. was a driving force for the Canada project, and was an enlightened man of his time. The monument should retain its place of pride in front of the library. It attracts many, and while Residential Schools are now seen as unjustified, when he participated in their establishment they were voluntary and introduced with the support of many indigenous leaders. We should not be tearing down monuments... Continue reading

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    Scapegoating?

    by Robert (Bob) Burkinshaw, 8 months ago

    I oppose removing the Holding Court statue of Macdonald. The motive for removing it is laudable in the sense that people do not want to honour a prime minister whose government mistreated Aboriginal people. However, removing Macdonald's statue is too simplistic a solution because it does not address the problem that Canadian society in general was quite racist and supportive of racist policies in his time. Macdonald was not unique in that regard and removing his statue seems to be a form of scapegoating. In fact, the situation might have been worse for Aboriginals if others were in power instead... Continue reading

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    The irony of holding court on Holding Court

    by Fred Lester, 8 months ago

    All statues in the country which were duly commissioned by responsible people of the day should remain regardless of the emotions they instill. Defacing them is a crime against the society which placed them there. That Sir John is the focus of this debate is appropriate, being a symbol of democracy - yes, even with its flaws!

    History cannot / must not be rewritten or that society loses its collective sense of direction. Through interaction in recent years with responsible indigenous people and a UA-Edmonton native studies course, I have been educated on the errors of our past and agree... Continue reading

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    A Time For Compromise

    by Dennis Fox, 8 months ago
    There can be no doubt that across Canada, John A's statue has been the centre of discussion in many communities - PIcton is no different. I think by now most know of MacDonald's good and not so good history, so I am not going to repeat it. As a white male, it would be easy for me to take the position of doing nothing. That very approach is the reason why in the year 2020, we are now back dealing with an issue that should have been dealt with years ago - in other words maintaining the status quo solves... Continue reading
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    Bring it down!

    by Claudia Dias Martins, 8 months ago

    It’s infuriating to see so much support for keeping a statue of a man who implemented racist policies and allowed for residential schools. I think it’s important for people to ask themselves why they feel so uncomfortable about the removal of a statue, but don’t feel the same degree of discomfort about the fact that our country was built on the genocide of Indigenous culture and continues to systematically oppress Indigenous people. This statue is not a symbol of an accurate history. It does not even begin to uncover the pain and intergenerational traumas Macdonald inflicted. This statue glorifies a... Continue reading

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    Sir John A. MacDonald must stay, tearing down statues is not reconciliation.

    by Grayson Pollard, 8 months ago

    Sir John A. MacDonald is responsible for making the great country all of us Canadians live in today. He created the country where us Canadians enjoy human rights, the rule of law, and a free and open democracy. Radical leftists, however are trying to take away the rights we were given as Canadians and subjects of the British Empire before Canadian Confederation. We must not give in. There is no legitimate reason to tear down these statues, as they resemble a part of our history. Sir John A. MacDonald may have been responsible for the horrible Residential Schools, but I... Continue reading

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    History speaks for itself.

    by Paul Cole, 8 months ago
    The truth is there if we look hard enough, Reconciliation is a little more difficult in large part it relies on Trust. Trust that the right thing will be done based on the Truth thereby resulting in an equal footing or understanding. Inquiries and Commission's have been done and provided recommendations only to receive lip service through apologies and acknowledgements of the Truth ,without implementation of those recommendations the Trust issue rises again. Indigenous People have Trusted and Hoped for the right to be done since confederation based on Treaties and Agreements. Trust ???


    It worries me that a Member... Continue reading

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    We learn from history

    by sheilamgingras, 8 months ago
    I can honestly say , I did not realize that Sir John A had anything to do with residential schools. Now I am aware- but only because of this statue and its significance. I think we can view it as a teaching moment. We cannot undo our past but we can learn and move forward with this knowledge.

    For sure he wasn't a saint -- but who among us is?

    The other issue is that this was made and no doubt took a long time-- so are we not also offending the artist?

    I realize Mohawks Of the Bay of... Continue reading