Nova Scotia

Edward Cornwallis task force hears clashing views

The statue of the controversial first governor of Halifax was taken down 18 months ago and put into storage. Public meetings are being held to decide what form of official recognition Edward Cornwallis should have.

Some call for controversial governor to have more recognition, others say less

Cornwallis task force co-chairs Monica MacDonald and We’koma’q First Nation Chief Roderick Googoo listen to a presenter at Tuesday night's public meeting in Halifax. (Patrick Callaghan/CBC)

Halifax's task force looking into how to commemorate Edward Cornwallis heard conflicting recommendations from the public Tuesday night.

The second of four sessions was held at Saint Mary's University and about 40 people attended.

The statue of the city's controversial first governor was taken down 18 months ago and put into storage.

Some of the presenters at Tuesday's session were adamant the statue be returned to its original setting in a south-end park or to another public space.

"He does warrant public recognition for establishing Halifax and protecting the settlers he brought with him," said Len Canfield.

The statue of Edward Cornwallis was removed from Cornwallis Park in Halifax on Jan. 31, 2018. (Craig Paisley/CBC)

Others were just as convinced that Cornwallis should not be honoured with a statue or a street name.

"What we really celebrate when we celebrate Cornwallis is his ignorance, his arrogance and his casual disrespect for human life," said Joy Woolfrey.

There were also a number of calls for more museums to highlight the shared past between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

"The Mi'kmaq people [should] be gifted a space downtown to build a museum that would include their accounts of their history, " said Raven Davis.

The task force will hold another session Thursday at the Millbrook First Nation.

About the Author

Pam Berman

Reporter

Pam Berman is CBC Nova Scotia's municipal affairs reporter. She's been a journalist for almost 35 years and has covered Halifax regional council since 1997. That includes four municipal elections, 19 budgets and countless meetings. Story ideas can be sent to pam.berman@cbc.ca