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 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

Just Posted

Colwood Fire Rescue is reminding the public to only burn dry, seasoned wood in fireplaces after heavy smoke filled the intersection of Sooke Road and Acacia Drive when a homeowner tried burning a plastic item on Sunday, Jan. 24. (Emily Jessop photo)
Colwood homeowner burns plastic in fireplace, causes emergency response

Colwood Fire Rescue says burn dry, seasoned wood in fireplaces only

A rolled-over car was spotted in a ditch along Sooke Road near the border of Langford on the morning of Sunday, Jan. 24. (Black Press Media photo)
Car ends up in ditch along Sooke Road Sunday morning

Single vehicle spotted rolled-over just after 10 a.m. on Jan. 24

Steve Smith’s image of two sibling adolescent grizzly bears playfighting in the Chilko River in the B.C. Interior earned him best of show at the prestigious Lion’s Gate Celebration of Nature club competition for 2020-21. (Photo by Steve Smith)
Victoria Camera Club captures top spot in prestigious nature and wildlife competition

Saanich Peninsula photographers part of award-winning team

Downtown Victoria and the Inner Harbour are part of a corridor that also includes much of urban Saanich that is part of the Greater Victoria 2030 District, a sustainable buildings climate initiative announced recently. (Black Press Media file photo)
Ramping up energy efficiency in Greater Victoria buildings goal of new group

Greater Victoria 2030 District part of North American network of cities working to reduce emissions

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

The sky above Mt. Benson in Nanaimo is illuminated by flares as search and rescuers help an injured hiker down the mountain to a waiting ambulance. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Search and Rescue)
Search plane lights up Nanaimo mountain with flares during icy rope rescue

Rescuers got injured hiker down Mt. Benson to a waiting ambulance Saturday night

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Nanaimo hospital

Two staff members and one patient have tested positive, all on the same floor

A long-term care worker receives the Pfizer vaccine at a clinic in Nanaimo earlier this month. (Island Health photo)
All Island seniors in long-term care will be vaccinated by the end of this weekend

Immunization of high-risk population will continue over the next two months

Most Read