“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.
“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.”
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.
“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.