Halifax mayoral candidates on the future of the Cornwallis statue

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WATCH ABOVE: With the municipal election this weekend, we asked two candidates vying to represent the entire municipality for their take on a controversial statue on the peninsula. The statue is of Halifax's founder. Some people say it represents racism, others say it's honouring this region's past. Global's Steve Silva reports – Oct 13, 2016

The controversial Edward Cornwallis statue in the park of the same name should stay, according to one Halifax mayoral candidate.

“Half the time I want to take him down, then the other half of me wants to make sure everybody knows the story of who he was,” said candidate Lil MacPherson.

MacPherson said that more context, perhaps in the form of a plaque, highlighting the Halifax founder’s disturbing past be added.

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

“Let’s add the story and tell people who he really was — he had blood [on] his hands before he came here — and erect his contemporary, Jean-Baptiste Cope. Chief Cope was extremely respected and a hero for the Mi’kmaq at the time,” MacPherson added.
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“I floated that idea once before,” said Daniel Paul, a Mi’kmaq Elder, “and I think what you would still have is bus tours going by and saying there’s Edward Cornwallis, the founder of Halifax, and…. and no mention whatsoever of Jean-Baptiste Cope and certainly no mention of the scalp proclamation.”

READ MORE: Halifax council rejects Edward Cornwallis naming motion

A motion for public consultation on potentially removing the founder’s name from municipal properties was defeated in May by councillors.

“[The statue] symbolizes to the Mi’kmaq that there’s no reconciliation in this province,” said Paul.

Candidate Mike Savage said he wouldn’t take a stance on whether to remove the statue until the public, including Mi’kmaq people, are consulted.

READ MORE: Vandals target contentious Edward Cornwallis statue with red paint

“It could be taken down but there may be a way to do it that we honour both the Mi’kmaq history and, at the same time, leave the statue up,” he said.

Paul said an acceptable middle ground would be to put the Cornwallis statue in a museum.

“If I had my preference, I’d dump it in the middle of the harbour, out of sight,” he said with a laugh.


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