The Council of Canadians has supported Indigenous-led efforts calling for the removal of a statue of Edward Cornwallis from a downtown park in Halifax.
The Chronicle Herald explains Cornwallis was “a soldier who infamously issued a bounty on the scalps of Mi’kmaqs”.
This past weekend we tweeted our support of the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs call for the immediate removal of the statue.
Halifax-based Council of Canadians organizer Robin Tress had also planned to be at a ‘Removing Cornwallis Rally’ this coming Sunday (which may still happen) and participated in rallies this past summer as noted in this blog and this blog.
The Canadian Press now reports, “Halifax council has voted to immediately remove a statue of Edward Cornwallis from a downtown park, with several councillors calling the bronze figure of the city’s controversial military founder a barrier to reconciliation. After just over an hour of debate, it took less than 10 seconds for council to vote 12-4 to temporarily place the statue in storage until a decision is made on its long-term fate.”
Mayor Mike Savage says, “The Cornwallis statue has become a powerful symbol. I believe its continued presence on a pedestal in the middle of a city park is an impediment to sustained progress and forging productive, respectful and lasting relationships with the Mi’kmaq in the spirit of truth and reconciliation. …This is not about rewriting history. This is about acknowledging that it is not cast in bronze.”
Halifax Regional Councillor Richard Zurawski noted, “History remains; it is written in books. It is discussed. It is in museums. So if we want reconciliation, we pull down the statue immediately. …For goodness sakes, let’s end the 500 years of broken promises and take away this visible symbol of supremacy.”
The Council of Canadians welcomes the removal of the statue and the ending of all such barriers to reconciliation.