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‘It represents ignorance’: Cornwallis statue could be removed from Halifax park

HALIFAX – A statue more than 80 years old and marking the founding of the City of Halifax could be removed from a downtown park.

Premier Stephen McNeil said Friday that he is ready to ask Halifax city hall to have the statue of Edward Cornwallis taken from Cornwallis Park.

“To me, it represents ignorance of history on behalf of the general population,” said Mi’kmaq elder Daniel Paul.

In 1749, Governor Edward Cornwallis offered a cash bounty to anyone who killed a Mi’kmaq person.

READ MORE: ‘We’re moving on’: Society plans 1st female statue in Halifax

With plans underway to redevelop Cornwallis Park, PC MLA Allan MacMaster said he has asked the premier to move to have the statue taken out.

“Racism, Mr. Speaker, whether it happened 250 years ago or today brings people down, and we all know the mark that Cornwallis left on our province,” MacMaster said in the legislature on Friday.

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“If I was a Mi’kmaq person coming to the city, especially if I was a young person, and seeing a park that honours Cornwallis would send a message to me that what he did was okay.”

McNeil said he has recently had the signs for the Cornwallis River removed near a Mi’kmaq community in King’s County, and he is open to speaking with Mayor Mike Savage about making this change as well.

The premier didn’t say, however, whether he personally wanted the statue removed.

“I think it’s important that we not ignore our history, even the bad parts of our history,” McNeil said.

With files from Steve Silva. 

 

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