A decade ago, a statue of Nellie McClung (1873-1951) was erected in Winnipeg, in the grounds of the Manitoba legislature. She was a social reformer and was one of the "famous five" suffragists who secured votes for women in Canada. She also served as a Liberal in the legislatures of both Manitoba and Alberta and was a popular author.
It was not surprising then that, in 1954, she was named by the Canadian government as a person of "national significance" and that, since then, she has appeared on a Canadian stamp.
In 2010, the Nellie McClung Society decided to erect a statue to her, but this soon ran into opposition from a human rights lawyer. She was a feminist, a social reformer and a liberal, so what was the problem?
Well, Nellie McClung was, indeed, a feminist, a social reformer and a liberal, but she was also a prominent supporter of eugenics, a pseudo-science which had considerable support in the early decades of the 20th century.
Eugenicists believed in selective breeding and they argued that the human race could be greatly improved by the compulsory sterilisation of "defectives". That included the disabled, the mentally ill and, in her words, "other lesser breeds among us".
One advocate said: "Sterilisation was the best method to decrease the number of feeble-minded beings produced."
Most of us will find that morally repugnant, but back then it had many prominent backers, of whom she was only one. Indeed, it had widespread support among liberals and radicals.
In Britain, the Liberal MP William Beveridge was the author, in 1942, of a report that provided the basis for the introduction of the welfare state in 1945, but he was also a fervent eugenicist.
David Matas, the human rights lawyer who opposed the McClung statue, acknowledged her influential role in gaining votes for Canadian women, but opposed the statue, because of her support for the eugenics movement. "It's misconceived," he said. "It's minimising and putting aside some of the things she stood for."
"It was the scientific basis of racism," he said. "The whole eugenics movement is very problematic."
Indeed, the adoption of eugenicist ideas by the Nazis, with their plans to breed a "master race", drew down on the eugenicists a wave of revulsion.
Nevertheless, the statue of Nellie with the other members of the "famous five" was completed and it was unveiled to great acclaim exactly 10 years ago today. It also prompted a debate and one which was a lot more mature than some we encounter today.
Candace Savage, the author of a biography of McClung, admitted that the suffrage pioneer held some odious view, but pointed out that "few statue subjects are morally faultless". "Maybe we should refine how we think of statues. Maybe veneration isn't the point, but rather contemplation. Whose record is completely blameless?"
That issue of eugenics cropped up recently, with a demand for the removal of a statue of Sir Francis Galton in London. Galton was a Victorian-era explorer, inventor and sociologist, but he was also a eugenicist. So, he is on the latest target list.
But where does it all lead? Well, I am not aware of a statue of Marie Stopes, but consistency would require the radical activists to demand that the Marie Stopes Clinic remove the name of Marie Stopes and any reference to her, since she too was a eugenicist.
And so too were the Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw, whose statue stands in the centre of Dublin, and the socialist Sidney Webb, who was co-founder of the London School of Economics.
The presentists, who want to judge every historical figure by their 21st-century standards and then denounce everyone who doesn't meet them, would take us down a very dangerous road, because everyone would fall short somewhere.
Ultimately, their approach would lead to the removal of every statue and every plaque.
It would empty every museum and every portrait gallery and it would eradicate every trace of our national history.
But, then, perhaps that is what some of the radical Left want.