The controversial Edward Cornwallis statue in downtown Halifax was hit by vandals.

On Friday morning, passersby could see red paint splattered on the statue and its base. 

Halifax has a contractor that removes graffiti, according to Tiffany Chase, a city spokeswoman. A crew was sent out to assess the damage and by early afternoon most of the graffiti was removed from the statue. 

Halifax Regional Police Const. Diane Woodworth says whoever vandalized the statue could face a charge of mischief if caught.

The bronze statue of Cornwallis sits in Cornwallis Park in the city's south end. It made headlines this week after Halifax council defeated a motion to look into renaming municipal properties honouring Cornwallis. 

Cornwallis was a British military officer who founded Halifax in 1749 while he was governor of Nova Scotia. He also issued the so-called scalping proclamation the same year, in which he offered a cash bounty to anyone who killed a Mi'kmaq person.

Some have called for all commemorations of the man to be removed from the city. Others who oppose the move say that's akin to rewriting history.

Edward Cornwallis statue

By early Friday afternoon, most of the red paint had been removed from the statue of Cornwallis. (Paul Poirier)