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WIN! Council of Canadians celebrates removal of Cornwallis statue from Halifax park

Council of Canadians organizer Robin Tress was present for the removal of the statue of Edward Cornwallis on January 31. Photo by Stephen Thomas.

On January 30, the  Canadian Press reported, “Halifax council has voted to immediately remove a statue from a downtown park, with several councillors calling the bronze figure of the city’s controversial military founder a barrier to reconciliation.”

In response to that 12-4 vote, Council of Canadians honorary chairperson Maude Barlow tweeted “Very good move”.

The Council of Canadians has supported Indigenous-led efforts calling for the removal of this statue of Cornwallis. The Chronicle Herald explains Cornwallis was “a soldier who infamously issued a bounty on the scalps of Mi’kmaqs”.

This past weekend, prior to Halifax council’s vote, 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.

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. This is our call for the removal of the name ‘Amherst’ from a national park near Charlottetown.