Hal­i­fax votes to tem­po­rar­ily re­move statue

Lethbridge Herald - - HEADLINE NEWS | WEATHER - Brett Bundale

Hal­i­fax coun­cil has voted to im­me­di­ately re­move a statue of Ed­ward Cornwallis from a down­town park amid grow­ing calls across the coun­try to end the rev­er­ence of colo­nial fig­ures as part of rec­on­cil­i­a­tion with In­dige­nous Peo­ples.

After just over an hour of de­bate, it took less than 10 sec­onds for coun­cil to vote 12-4 to tem­po­rar­ily place the bronze fig­ure of Hal­i­fax’s con­tentious mil­i­tary founder in stor­age un­til a de­ci­sion is made on its long-term fate.

“The Cornwallis statue has be­come a pow­er­ful sym­bol,” Mayor Mike Sav­age told coun­cil on Tues­day. “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.”

Mor­ley Goo­goo, re­gional chief of the As­sem­bly of First Na­tions, said the de­ci­sion to take down the statue is a “huge op­por­tu­nity for the city.”

“Other mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties across the coun­try are deal­ing with the same very ques­tion about how to have a new re­la­tion­ship with In­dige­nous Peo­ples,” he told re­porters fol­low­ing coun­cil’s de­ci­sion. “Be­ing here to­day and wit­ness­ing how we talked about it and the progress we’ve made in Hal­i­fax, I’m very proud to be here.”

The de­ci­sion to top­ple the bronze statue of the city’s founder comes as ef­forts to scrub colo­nial names and sym­bols from pub­lic spa­ces in­ten­sify.

Mon­treal struck the name of Bri­tish gen­eral Jef­fery Amherst — a sol­dier who re­port­edly wanted to ex­ter­mi­nate na­tive in­hab­i­tants — from a city street last fall.

A teacher’s group in On­tario voted last sum­mer to re­name schools and build­ings named after Sir John A. Macdonald, prime min­is­ter when the fed­eral gov­ern­ment ap­proved the first res­i­den­tial schools in Canada, while a school in Saskatchewan named after a man who rec­om­mended res­i­den­tial schools for In­dige­nous youth is con­sid­er­ing a name change.

The United States, mean­while, is grap­pling with what to do with Con­fed­er­ate mon­u­ments, which to some sym­bol­ize white supremacy.

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