KINGSTON, Ont. - A prominent statue of Canada's first prime minister was vandalized on what would have been John A. Macdonald's 198th birthday.
On Friday, dozens of people gathered at the statue in City Park in Kingston, Ont., to mark the birthday of the late prime minister - just hours after spray paint was removed from the monument by city-contracted workers.
Some time overnight, vandals wrote phrases such as, "This is stolen land," "Murderer," "Colonizer," "Sir John A. Killer" and "F--- Canada," across the statue.
Red paint was also splattered on the monument.
Kingston Police said that they have not yet identified any suspects in the case, which was reported to police just before 8 a.m. Friday.
Const. Steve Koopman said police have taken photographs of the vandalism and will look for any witnesses and surveillance footage that may exist.
Although there was an Idle No More demonstration held just blocks away from the planned ceremony Friday, Koopman said there is not yet reason to suggest that event, or the birthday of the prime minister, are linked.
Susan DeLisle, a French/Algonquin resident involved with the Idle No More movement in Kingston, said local demonstrators are disappointed that someone would deface the monument.
"That's something that we don't condone," DeLisle said. "This is a peaceful movement. It's not the kind of thing we need and it doesn't help our cause."
Lisa Canoe, a Mohawk from Akwesasne Mohawk Territory near Cornwall, Ont., said she doesn't believe there is a connection between the growing Idle No More movement and the vandalism.
"I know it wasn't any of our people," she said. "(The public) can't blame it on us because there is no proof. I think it's just wrong."
criticized vandals for the anonymous act.
Despite the vandalism, Kingston Mayor Mark Gerretsen said the city would go ahead with an event later in the day to honour Canada's first prime minister, who settled in Kingston after emigrating from Scotland in 1820.
"There is a bit of irony in this situation," Gerretsen said. "It is because of someone like Sir John A. that people have the right to express themselves in the way that this individual or individuals or group chose to do so."