News / Halifax

Halifax council to debate report recommending temporary removal of Cornwallis statue

A last-minute addition to regional council's agenda recommends putting the statue in storage till Halifax figures out how to commemorate its controversial founder.

A statue of Edward Cornwallis stands in a Halifax park on June 23, 2011.

Andrew Vaughan / The Canadian Press

A statue of Edward Cornwallis stands in a Halifax park on June 23, 2011.

Halifax regional council will debate taking down the Cornwallis statue and putting it in storage after a last-minute addition to Tuesday’s agenda.

HRM staff is recommending the statue be taken down immediately, and put in storage while council attempts to revive a stalled committee, approved in October, to assess the use of the city’s controversial founder’s name on municipal property.

The staff report headed to council on Tuesday cites a protest planned for Sunday at Cornwallis Park as the catalyst for the recommendation.

“The most immediate concern around the statue is one of public safety,” the report says, warning that “the protests may be less peaceful” than those in July 2017.

There’s a “significant risk” of damage to the statue, and of conflicts between protesters and counter-protesters, the report says.

The protest was planned after the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs announced Friday that it was pulling out of the committee process, citing delays. The chiefs called for the statue’s immediate removal.

The staff report says the committee is still the best way to figure out what to do with the statue permanently, but if the chiefs can’t be brought back to the table, staff will come back to council with other options.

In 1749, then-governor of Nova Scotia Edward Cornwallis issued a bounty on the scalps of every Mi'kmaq man, woman and child. The statue in South End Halifax was erected in 1931.

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