Judge Begbie statue in front of provincial courthouse in New Westminster. (Google Maps)

Should Judge Begbie statue be removed from B.C. courthouse square?

Two New Westminster councillors’ motion will be debated and voted on Monday at a council meeting

City councillors in New Westminster were set to discuss at their meeting Monday night whether to remove the long-standing statue of Judge Matthew Begbie from the front of its provincial courthouse.

Councillors Nadine Nakagawa and Chuck Puchmayr were set to table a motion that seeks to remove the statue because of Begbie’s role in the wrongful hanging of six Tsilhqot’in Nation chiefs in Quesnel in 1864 and 1865.

READ MORE: Trudeau exonerates hanged war chiefs of 1864 on B.C. Tsilhqot’in title lands

The chiefs had attacked and killed members of one of the colonial government’s road crews after the crew had trespassed on their territory. The government offered a meeting to discuss peace, but when the Tsilhqot’in chiefs arrived, they were instead arrested, convicted and hanged.

Begbie had been the judge presiding over the trial that resulted in the wrongful hanging.

His statue is a “symbol of the colonial era and this grave injustice,” reads the motion, which also proposes to put the statue somewhere else and that the city engage with the Tsilhqot’in Nation.

“The City of New West is working on moving forward with truth and reconciliation and we have a lot of work to do as the first city of British Columbia,” said Nakagawa.

She said she has received mixed reaction, some supporting the removal while others saying it is erasing history.

“The statue, as it stands, doesn’t represent history, and the motion really offers an opportunity for us to tell a nuanced history of who Begbie was.”

Nakagawa said she doesn’t know yet where the statue might be moved or what might replace it, but that it will be decided after a public consultation should the motion move ahead.

In 2017, the Law Society of BC removed a statue of Begbie from its downtown Vancouver lobby.

READ MORE: Reconciliation walk builds relationships between settlers and Indigenous peoples



joti.grewal@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

$30,000 over 30 weeks for local causes

Send us your good stories and you could win money for your favourite cause

Tap Truck Okanagan launches as first location in Canada

The business is built on a restored 1957 Chevy panel van and ready to serve craft beer on tap, wine or cider

Golden’s pool to not open for 2020 season due to COVID

The tough decision was made on June 2 after council was presented with a variety of scenarios

Golden to host “Unity for the People” march in solidarity with George Floyd protests

The march will seek to educate the community on local and national injustices.

No active confirmed COVID-19 cases in Interior Health: BCCDC

Numbers from the BCCDC’s dashboard show 193 of the 195 COVID-19 cases in the region have recovered

VIDEO: B.C. dentist gets grand welcome home after two months in hospital fighting COVID-19

Michael Chow was given a surprise send off by hospital staff and ‘welcome home’ from neighbours

‘Like finding a needle in a haystack’: Ancient arrowhead discovered near Williams Lake

The artifact is believed to be from the Nesikip period between 7,500 BP to 6,000 BP

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

Friends, family mourn Salt Spring Island woman killed in suspected murder-suicide

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched for Jennifer Quesnel’s three sons

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Indigenous chief alleges RCMP beat him during arrest that began over expired licence plate

Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam calling for independent investigation

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

UPDATED: Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park arrested

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

Most Read