The committee criticized MacDonald for his role in residential schools and said he represented a colonial vision.
The statue in downtown park Place du Canada was toppled in August 2020 amid protests calling for the defunding of police. The protests were led by the Coalition for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour) Liberation.
The toppling of the statue was condemned by Quebec Premier François Legault and Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante at the time, with the latter saying such acts of vandalism “cannot be accepted or tolerated.”
The statue was first erected in 1895. The base on which it stood has remained empty since the statue was toppled.
The city committee mandated academics and other experts to determine the heritage value of the statue and will present its findings to the public on Dec. 7. It will also make recommendations to replace the statue with other art.
Other statues of MacDonald have been vandalized across the country, particularly after the Kamloops Indian Band announced on May 27, 2021, that it had discovered the unmarked graves of residential school children using ground-penetrating radar.
In Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, and Picton, Ontario, statues of him were doused with red paint. In Hamilton, Ontario, amid protests supporting the indigenous community in August 2021, a John A. MacDonald statue at Gore Park was toppled.
Some school boards have also removed his namesake from schools. Sir John A. Macdonald Public School in Kingston, Ontario, is now École Maple Elementary School. Sir John A. Macdonald Senior Public School in Brampton, Ontario, will be renamed Nibi Emosaawdang Public School. The federal government removed his likeness from the $10 bill.
Following the Kamloops Indian Band announcement, protesters burned or vandalized dozens of churches.
The Canadian Press contributed to this report.