The hierarchy of statues

As the guy responsible for the Wilfrid Laurier statue in the Quad (my idea, chaired the committee, etc.) permit me to add a few comments to the discussion about the addition of statues of every Canadian prime minister to the Laurier campus.

For starts, Laurier (the statue) has now lost his uniqueness on campus. Now he’s just one (or two) of many.

In addition, Laurier was a statesman. So were MacDonald, Borden, King and (maybe) Trudeau.

Others — St. Laurent, Diefenbaker, Pearson, Clark, Mulroney, Chretien, Martin and Harper — were (are) merely politicians. Do mere politicians deserve statues?

The rest of the pack remain historical footnotes. Mackenzie, Abbott, Thompson, Bowell, Tupper, Meighen, Turner, and Campbell are noteworthy only because their prime ministerial efforts were a bust.

As such, they do not merit real statues…only busts, if anything at all.

If this project goes through, and the campus is littered with statuary, I suggest placement should be taken into account. Where will they go?

The statesmen deserve places of honour, along major pathways. The politicians — the wannabe statesmen — could go in lesser places…in corners of the library, maybe in the food court, at the end of a row of parking meters.

And the busts? I have no idea for the most part, except I am convinced that Mackenzie Bowell’s should go in the men’s washroom in the old Arts building.

His term as prime minister was beyond being a bust…it was so far in the toilet that when he died not one politician — federal or provincial — attended his funeral.

Yes, Bowell’s bust should go in the washroom. I’m starting a petition. I call it the Bowell Movement.

–Barry Ries, Laurier alum,

former Cord editor and recent retiree

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