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Trudeau calls out vandals who toppled Montreal’s Macdonald statue

MONTREAL — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is denouncing the vandals who toppled and defaced a Montreal statue of the first prime minister of Canada, John A. Macdonald, over the weekend.

Trudeau told reporters in Montreal today he understands the impatience of Canadians who want to see more action on racism and systemic discrimination, but said vandalism is not an acceptable way to express those views.

The Macdonald statue was unbolted, toppled and sprayed with graffiti on Saturday at the end of a protest demanding cities cut police budgets.

That statue had repeatedly been vandalized by critics who cite Macdonald’s role in establishing the residential school system, as well as his racist comments about Indigenous peoples.

Trudeau says society has work to do in combating systemic discrimination, and should debate the actions of past leaders and the future of monuments honouring them.

But, he says, Canada’s laws need to be respected as those conversations advance.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 31 2020.

The Canadian Press

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