New Westminster will be removing a statue of Matthew Begbie, B.C.’s first chief justice, from outside the city’s provincial courthouse.
City council voted 4-2 in a decision Monday evening, following a motion put forward by two city councillors to move the statue in efforts to work towards truth and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.
Begbie had been the judge presiding over a trial in 1864 and 1865 that resulted in the wrongful hanging of six Tsilhqot’in Nation chiefs in Quesnel. His name is displayed on a Vancouver elementary school, as well as a street in New Westminster.
Councillors Nadine Nakagawa and Chuck Puchmayr said in their motion that the statue is a “symbol of the colonial era and this grave injustice.”
City staff have been tasked with determining the next steps – and necessary consultation – to find a new home for the statue.
This is the second statue in recent months to be removed in B.C., following Victoria’s decision to move a statue of Sir John A. Macdonald from out front of its City Hall.
More to come.