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

COLUMN: The other graph that shows B.C. can beat COVID-19

Is the curve being flattened? data on hospitalizations provides a crucial answer.

UPDATE: Missing Chilliwack teen found, safe and sound

RCMP ‘pleased to confirm’ teen has been located

Health officials are restricting visitor access to facilities in Chilliwack and Hope

Access rules for CGH and RCH, long-term care homes, and assisted living facilities have changed

COVID-19 case diagnosed at Abbotsford rehabilitation residence

First Abbotsford care home to have confirmed COVID-19 case

Fraser Valley’s tulips fields off limits to visitors due to COVID-19

Abbotsford and Chilliwack tulip farmers have announced their festival season won’t go ahead

VIDEO: ‘Used gloves and masks go in the garbage,’ says irked B.C. mayor

Health officials have said single-use gloves won’t do much to curb the spread of COVID-19

Sex workers face new risks during COVID-19 pandemic

‘Desperation has kicked in’ for vulnerable, undocumented workers unable to access help

Unclear if Cowichan couple refusing to self-isolate will face penalty

No fines or charges have been laid to date, including Cowichan couple who won’t self isolate

COVID-19: Postponed surgeries will be done, B.C. health minister says

Contract with private surgical clinic to help clear backlog

Black Press Media ad sparks discussion about value of community newspapers

White Rock resident hopes front-page note shines light on revenue loss during COVID-19 crisis

Vancouver man, 21, charged after mother found dead in Squamish home

Ryan Grantham, 21, has been charged with second-degree murder

Don’t stop going to the doctor, just do it virtually: B.C. association

Doctors encourage patients to access telephone, online visits

Surrey MLA Jinny Sims cleared of criminal wrongdoing

She resigned her cabinet post during RCMP investigation

Most Read