Long Live the Queen? Statue of Queen Victoria Torn Down
On July 1, Canada Day, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the statue of Queen Victoria in front of the Manitoba Legislature was pulled down by a group protesting the effect residential schools had on indigenous people.
A group of 200 individuals, some dressed in orange (the color designated to remember victims of residential schools), chanted, “No pride in genocide,” while tearing down the statue, covering it in red paint, and writing “we were children once” in red paint on the pedestal. Later, they removed the head and threw it into the river behind the legislature. (A passerby kayaker later recovered the head from the river.)
During this same event, a statue of Queen Elizabeth ii near the Governor’s House was also torn down.
Winnipeg Police Chief Danny Smyth said investigations were ongoing but no arrests have been made. One man was arrested for assaulting a peace officer, but not in relation to the statue vandalism. When asked why the police did not intervene, Smyth said: “We did not want to further incite the crowd that had gathered. I want to make it clear, I commend our members for our professionalism yesterday and their ability to preserve a safe environment.”
Also on Canada Day, in Kitchener, Ontario, one man splashed red paint on the statue of Queen Victoria located in Kitchener’s Victoria Park. The man climbed the statue and protested for five hours. According to some tweets from local news reporter Luke Schultz, the reaction from the bystanders was mixed: One shouted, “Sickening,” and a youth “offered applause.” It will cost $2,000 to clean the statue.
This latest round of attacks on Canada’s history and landmarks took place on Canada Day—the very day Canadians celebrate and reflect on the creation of Canada as a nation, which took place on July 1, 1867, during the reign of Queen Victoria.
This attack has special significance. Not only was a pillar of Canadian identity toppled with the statue in Winnipeg, but also a waymark we can use to prove Bible prophecy.
Long Live the Queen
The legacy of Queen Victoria looms large over Canada. In the 154 years of Canadian history since 1867, there have only been five monarchs on the British throne: Queen Victoria, King Edward vii, King George v, King George vi and Elizabeth ii. Victoria reigned over 22 percent of Canadian history. You can travel to almost any city in Canada and find a “Victoria Street” or “Victoria Park” or a city named “Victoria.”
It was Queen Victoria who steadily guided the creation of one nation from a fractured Upper and Lower Canada and the implementation of a responsible government. It was Queen Victoria who gave the royal assent to Canada becoming its own separate nation in the British North America Act of 1867. Although the British monarch was still the head of state—and still is today—it gave Canada the autonomy to make its own laws and govern its own affairs.
The Canadian Senate’s own website calls Victoria the “Mother of Confederation” and writes:
Loyalty to the crown was confederation’s cornerstone, an allegiance that overrode regional and economic disparities. In February 1867, Sir John A. Macdonald, soon to be Canada’s first prime minister, assured Victoria that the purpose of the union was “to declare in the most solemn and emphatic manner our resolve to be under the sovereignty of your majesty and your family forever.”
However, it was also during Victoria’s reign that the newly formed Canadian government created the residential school system in the 1880s. The residential school system was created to help the different indigenous tribes assimilate into the European-style society in Canada, but also give them an education in basic academics. The government joined the Catholic Church, Anglican Church, Presbyterian and other groups to administrate the schools (much like the missionary model of schooling).
During this time, 150,000 aboriginal children were placed into these schools, with an estimated 6,000 children dying while attending. Oftentimes, the government and social services would remove children from their families to force them to attend the schools. It is indeed tragic that so many children died and that families were broken apart.
But what does this have to do with Queen Victoria?
Although Queen Victoria had no direct responsibility in the policy or death of the children, she is often attacked because she symbolizes “white colonialism.” But let’s add some context to this history.
The entire dream of Canada being from sea to sea rested upon the creation of a railway that could unite the far-flung West with the eastern provinces. Sir John A. Macdonald, for his many faults and mistakes, had the force of will to make this dream come true.
This hinged on the development of the Canadian West where the majority of the Aboriginal tribes lived. Just like America’s Manifest Destiny, new settlers had to move westward. Queen Victoria created the North West Mounted Police, eventually known as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (rcmp), to ensure there was no lawlessness as the Canadian west developed. This key policy actually protected the Aboriginal tribes. The rcmp made sure the Canadian railway was built and also that the many tribes still living in the West were dealt with fairly, protected from European settlers, and even provided for. The many western forts of the rcmp handed out rations that staved off starvation and helped keep the different tribes alive. Even Indians from the United States, most famously Sitting Bull, were given sanctuary in Canada. Compared to other nations at this time, this was a highly favorable policy toward the indigenous peoples.
Of the 194 residential schools opened from 1830 to 1997, only 70 were running during Queen Victoria’s reign. That is only 36 percent of all residential schools. While terrible things happened at these schools, if we are to assign direct blame, surely many others deserve more scrutiny.
There is an interesting connection between Queen Victoria and the city of Winnipeg: 120 years ago a young Winston Churchill was in the city of Winnipeg when Queen Victoria died. Contrasting the city of 1901 to the city in 2021 presents a stark comparison.
The Queen Is Dead—Long Live the King!
A 26-year-old Winston Churchill was touring through North America on a speech tour about the Boer War. While traveling through the United States, news of Queen Victoria’s declining health reached him. He said to one of his audiences: “A greater loss than fertile province or loss upon the field of battle threatens us at this time. I can but ask the American people to hope with us that the new century may not dawn with one of the greatest losses the world could ever know—the loss of our sovereign, the Queen Victoria.”
Michael Shelden writes in his book Young Titan:
Churchill arrived in Winnipeg around lunchtime on Monday, January 21, 1901. … The temperature was around 10 degrees Fahrenheit, a bitterly cold wind was scattering snow in the streets, and the mood of the city was grim. The weather wasn’t the cause of the long faces among the residents. They were used to the cold.
It was the latest news of the day that had cast a shadow over this remote outpost of the empire. … The big headline in the morning paper announced the impending event that had unsettled so many loyal Canadians: Queen Victoria on deathbed. Her last hours.
Shelden quotes an anonymous historian who wrote, “It appeared as if some monstrous reversal of the course of nature was about to take place. The vast majority of her subjects had never known a time when Queen Victoria had not been reigning over them.” For anyone under the age of 63 years old, they would not have known of any other monarch. Victoria symbolized the stability and strength of Pax Britannica. Despite living in the middle of the Canadian wilderness, Canadians felt they were part of the Empire that spanned the entire world.
The enthusiasm regarding Churchill’s speech demonstrated this love for the Empire. “For these Canadians living so far away from the little world of British royals, aristocrats and [members of Parliament], Lord Randolph’s son represented the closest link to the ruling class of the Empire,” writes Shelden.
On Jan. 22, 1901, headlines came from Ottawa via wire, announcing, “Our good Queen is dead.” Churchill, heading back to America, marveled at the response of loyalty from the city. Shelden writes:
It was 1 o’clock the next afternoon when Winnipeg received the news by wire from Ottawa that the Queen had died. … Mourning bells were already ringing when Churchill made his way to the station. … Some merchants had placed black-bordered portraits of the queen in their shop windows. On a pillar in the city hall square a stone bust of her was draped in black.
Churchill was touched by the quick response to the news. “This city far away among the snows,” he later remarked, “began to hang its head and hoist half-masted flags.”
At this time, Winnipeg was the gateway to the vast Canadian wilderness, and the Canadian West was seen as the last untamed frontier of the Empire. Many young, daring men from Britain and Europe came to Winnipeg to make a name for themselves. This was Winnipeg’s heyday, and the city was flooded with many first-generation British immigrants. What Churchill saw in 1901 was a demonstration of loyalty and allegiance to the monarchy.
Just 13 years later, under the reign of Queen Victoria’s son King George v, Canada would fight with Great Britain in the Great War. Three men from the 700 block on Pine St. in Winnipeg all won the Victoria Cross, Britain’s highest military decoration for bravery. The street was renamed “Valour Road.” The inscription on the Victoria Cross simply reads, “For Valour.”
What a contrast to 2021, when this history is literally being torn down.
Waymarks of Prophecy
Winnipeg received another honor in 1897 when it was selected to receive one of several statues made by sculptor Sir George Frampton for Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee. These statues, in various locations today, show Queen Victoria seated on a throne with the royal scepter and royal orb. The statue in Winnipeg was unveiled in 1904.
This is the statue that was torn down and beheaded on Canada Day.
But what is the real significance of this attack? There will always be Canadian history to be proud of and celebrate, but also mistakes and sins that are painful. But these attacks have a far more sinister purpose than demanding justice or remembrance.
The Canadian government already apologized in 2008 for the residential schools and has paid over $3 billion to victims. The Canadian educational system already features the history of the residential schools and teaches that Canada committed “cultural genocide.” What more do they want?
They want the blotting out of Canada as a nation.
Herbert W. Armstrong proved in his book The United States and Britain in Prophecy that America, Britain and the nations of the British Commonwealth, including Canada, descended from the tribes of ancient Israel. The British Empire, and the American superpower, were given great blessings from God to benefit the whole world! Seeing how these nations have been blessed proves the accuracy and authority of the Bible.
The statue of Queen Victoria should cause us to think about why there was a sudden rise to greatness for Britain, which controlled so much of the world. Our history are waymarks, checkpoints, signposts, that guide us back to the ultimate cause of our prosperity and blessings we enjoy: God.
But just as our history has a spiritual cause from God, so do the attacks on our history and statues. The real cause of these attacks is Satan the devil attempting to blot out this history. This is all part of Satan’s attack on anything that has a history with God. Please order a free copy of Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry’s booklet Great Again to understand this essential truth.
We need to allow this history to propel us to understand Bible history, which will help us understand Bible prophecy! In “The Real Reason Our Statues Are Under Attack,” Richard Palmer wrote:
Britain and America’s history is a massive signpost that points people to God. So Satan the devil hates it and works to blot it out, pushing a new message: God didn’t make Britain and America great. Slavery did! They only became wealthy because they stole it from everybody else. …
This agenda underscores the importance of understanding this history. And not just the Victorian era—but the history that reaches back to Abraham. It’s a history that points you to God and what He is doing in the world today—a history that contains a hope absent from the news today.