Vaughn Palmer: Macdonald will be remembered long after Mayor Helps and other council pipsqueaks

As bitterness gave way to sober second thought this week, there was some suggestion that the statue might find a home in the provincial museum as part of a display that told a fuller story about Macdonald.

Perhaps there would even be space to quote from the portrait of Macdonald the man, by the late Bruce Hutchison, longtime Victoria resident.

“As a boy of seven he had seen his brother beaten to death by a drunken servant. His first son died of a fall at the age of two. Then for years the young lawyer and politician had neglected his career to sit night after night by the bed of his wife and watch her die. His second marriage produced a daughter whose mind never grew out of infancy and whom he treated tenderly as a child when she was a woman of middle age. Toward the end of his days his wife discovered in his room a box filled with the toys of his dead son. The wounds had never healed. He hid them with drink, raillery and the work of building a nation.”

Wherever the statue ends up, what happened Saturday was a comment on today’s politics more than anything that happened in Macdonald’s time. The country is his monument, and will remain so long after Mayor Helps and the other pipsqueaks on Victoria council are forgotten.

Full column: Vancouver Sun