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June Newsletter 2021

Dear Friends of Kingston Inner Harbour,
Only two items this time.  My computer totally jumbled what I had spent 4 hours on. I can’t figure out how to get the stuff back.  So here are the most important two items.  Thanks Randy and Lisa Cadue for the picture.

First, the Sir John A. Macdonald statue issue.
As you may know the city has a working group that has been given the mandate by Council to revise the plaques on both the statue and the train – nothing more. I am part of this working group. Given the tragic “revelation” of unmarked graves in Kamloops, an “emergency” meeting of the working group is being held this Monday, June 14 from 4-6 pm.  You are invited to attend to listen.  You are also invited to submit written opinions. Please do!  City staff will prepare a report following this public meeting for an emergency Council meeting this Wednesday, June 16 at 5 pm..  Please write
something.  Your opinion matters.
The contact is Jenn Campbell, the city’s Director of Heritage.
To register for the Monday evening meeting and/or submit an opinion contact her at
Your submission will be part of the report to Council this Wednesday.

Many options exist.  Do add to the discussion.  Here are five possiblities: 

1) The statue and pedestal could be removed and placed in a museum somewhere.
2) The statue and pedestal could remain and become part of a larger story including Art Installations and programmed performances like the Riel play, that draw attention in an emotionally impactful way, to the problems inherent in the colonial perspective that Sir John A. espoused.
3) The pedestal only could remain with revised plaques describing legacy problems in Canada faced by Indigenous peoples as well as the French, women, Asian Canadians, Jews, Blacks, DPs after WWII etc.
4) The statue could be removed temporarily while a broader consultative process occurs as to what to do long-term – given the Kamloops story.
5) The shroud could be left in place permanently.

I have received comments from several Indigenous artists as well as non-Indigenous friends who would love to be part of a revisioning process – re-imagining the space – in light of Kamloops.  There is also renewed empathy among non-Indigenous citizens for Indigenous values based on Climate Change -understanding that our ravaging of the planet’s resources is unsustainable and destructive.

Tonight Sunday June 13, at 6 pm, a public meeting will take place at the Sir John A. statue organized by the group that covered the statue with the red shroud.  They have set up a sacred fire that they say will burn until the statue is taken down.

In my personal opinion the long-term goal here has to be improving quality of life, both on and off reserve, for our Indigenous friends and neighbours who have suffered so much.  Whatever works to keep the conversation alive and lead to changes in legislation should be supported. 
Indigenous concerns have to become serious election issues. 
Encouragingly in a recent poll, 1/5 of Canadians believed that Indigenous concerns were one of the top three!.   
But as Chief Dave Mowat has said – we live in a fickle society.  What is of concern one day may not be tomorrow.

River First YGK on Facebook +
As discussed in previous FKIH news updates, the City would like to partner with Transport Canada and Parks Canada in a 71 million dollar project to clean up the toxins in Kingston’s Inner Harbour. 
Many questions abound. 
We have been stymied in our several requests for Access to Information.
Council deferred agreeing to this partnership until more could be learned.  There are arguments both for and against.  At the moment, city staff is trying to organize public meetings where someone from Transport Canada will come to the city’s EITP (Environment, Infrastructure and Transportation Policies) committee and KEAF (Kingston Environmental Advisory Forum) to explain the project in more detail and to answer questions from the community. 
So far, we have no dates for these meetings.
A lot is at stake here.  If you care about the furure of the Inner Harbour, especially Douglas R. Fluhrer Park, please contact riverfirstygk@gmail.comand get on their mailing list.
They are also looking for people who might like to join a few subcommittees to learn more.  This is a wonderful way to contribute to our Inner Harbour community.  Please consider joining.

When/If I can unscramble what I had intended to send out today, I will send it out next week sometime.
Wishing you all a wonderful June,
Mary Farrar, President,
Friends of Kingston Inner Harbour