Sidney’s acting mayor Peter Wainright said he is surprised to field questions about the town’s decision to remove a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II from council chambers. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Sidney’s acting mayor says no one noticed removal of Queen’s portrait

A piece of First Nations art likely to take spot of royal portrait removed in May

Her Majesty would not be amused, but Sidney’s acting mayor Peter Wainwright said he is surprised to field questions about the decision of the municipality to remove a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II from council chambers.

“The portrait of the Queen has been down actually for quite a long time,” he said.

Sidney removed the portrait from behind the mayor’s chair in early May. Council also commissioned a piece of First Nations art from Chazz Elliott, a Coast Salish artist from the Tsartlip Reserve, after discovering that municipal hall was lacking any kind of recognition of local First Nations. Sidney’s budget for the commission is $10,000.

Wainright said the piece will have a prominent presence in council chambers in pointing to Sidney’s support of the recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the United Nations Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

RELATED: Troubling tales: Peninsula author writes Sixties Scoop memoir

“One of the overall objectives in that and Canadian society as a whole is decolonization, and given prominence to a portrait of the monarch is definitely a colonial symbol, and for that reason, the majority of governments no longer provide a prominent display of the monarch in their council chamber,” he said. “We have essentially done the same thing.”

Council has neither seen the new art work nor discussed where it will appear, said Wainwright, with early December being the likely installation date.

Sidney staff says the portrait that came down is the official Canadian portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II wearing her Canadian insignia as sovereign of the Order of Canada and the Order of Military Merit. It was photographed at Rideau Hall, the residence of the Governor General, Ottawa, Ontario on July 1, 2010. That would make her 84 years old in the portrait.

It is not clear for how long Sidney has hung a portrait of the Queen in its council chambers. Wainwright remembers one there when he first gained office in 1993. Notably, Wainright declined to swear allegiance to the Queen during his swearing-in ceremony.

“I actually had quite a few positive comments for having done that,” he said. “I confess that nobody has even mentioned it in the last 20 years, but the first time I did it, people obviously noticed.”

Sidney’s official Town Crier Kenny Podmore acknowledged his support of the Queen and monarchy in disagreeing with Sidney’s decision. “When I heard about it, I was very, very sad,” he said.

Podmore said he would like to see the portrait return. “I think we are part of the Commonwealth,” he said. “The Queen is the head of the Commonwealth. It also comes down to respect in the monarchy.”

When asked whether the portrait of the monarch is a colonial symbol, Podmore said that is a difficult question.

“I don’t necessarily agree with that,” he said in pointing to the monarch’s role.



nick.murray@peninsulanewsreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Falling oak tree causes minor damage to Langford home

Tree damages garden and gutters of home on Lindsay Place

Residents to start moving into first of 100 new affordable homes in Langford

Construction underway on second phase of affordable Indigenous housing project in Langford

Volunteers sought to remove weeds from Port Renfrew’s Parkinson Road

Road has no sidewalks, forcing pedestrians to walk on pavement

The pandemic is widening Canada’s workplace gender gap

Gender pay gap is incentivizing fathers to work while mothers watch children, a new B.C. study has found

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of July 7

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Would you get a vaccine for COVID-19 when it is available?

With the number of positive COVID-19 tests skyrocketing across much of the… Continue reading

Ex-Okanagan Mountie forfeits 20 days’ pay after sexual misconduct review

A former Vernon RCMP constable made sexual comments, grabbed genitals of male officer in two incidents 10 years ago

Man found dead on Okanagan trail identified as Hollywood actor

GoFundMe campaign launched for man found dead at summit of Spion Kop

3 people dead in Prince George motel fire

Fire personnel believe the blaze was suspicious although investigation in early stages

B.C. sets terms to review police, mental health, race relations

MLAs to recommend Police Act changes by May 2021

Feds announce $8.3M to deal with ‘ghost’ fishing gear in B.C. waters

Ghost gear accounts for up to 70 per cent of all macro-plastics in the ocean by weight

Most Read