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

North Island students are back in class, sitting six-feet apart

School District 85 schools reopened June 1 for students who want to come in person

Universal basic income is a good thing

‘I’ve always loved change, so I’m rooting for a different way of life altogether’

Port Hardy school sending food home to students in need

Hunger doesn’t take the weekend — or a pandemic — off

Telegraph Cove Resort will open June 1 to self-contained campers only

Washrooms, showers and all other amenities will remain closed for now

Hardy Bay Seniors’ Centre doubling down to build community during COVID-19

The volunteer-run group is cooking meals and checking in on isolated seniors

Vancouver Island Regional Libraries to offer ‘takeout’ style services

VIRL will offer the service on a branch-by-branch basis

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

COVID-19: B.C. commercial landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

B.C. Hockey League prepping for 2020-21

League reviewing different scenarios and start times in compliance with provincial regulations

Duncan’s Queen Margaret’s School pioneers thermal imaging in school reopening

Private school is first in B.C. to use new tech post-COVID-19

Investigators probe death of CN employee at Surrey rail yard

Transportation Safety Board is investigating an ‘occurrence that took place during switching operations’

NIC leads province in transition to online biology labs

North Island College (NIC) biology faculty are among the first in the… Continue reading

Trans Mountain starts B.C. leg of pipeline twinning project

Mostly finished in Alberta, Burnaby terminal expanding

Most Read