Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Removing Cornwallis Statue from Halifax Park Is Local issue:Wilson-Raybould

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Removing Cornwallis Statue from Halifax Park Is Local issue:Wilson-Raybould

Article excerpt

Cornwallis statue is local issue:Wilson-Raybould

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WOLFVILLE, N.S. - Federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said Thursday she defers to the views of local Mi'kmaq leaders on whether a statue of Halifax's controversial founder should be moved from a city park.

The Liberal cabinet minister was in Wolfville, N.S., Thursday to attend a meeting with Nova Scotia chiefs and MPs to discuss increased self government for Mi'kmaq communities in the province.

Last month protesters pledged to remove a bronze monument to Edward Cornwallis in a Halifax park, but instead the city temporarily covered it in a tarp.

Cornwallis, as governor of Nova Scotia, founded Halifax in 1749 and soon after issued a bounty on Mi'kmaq scalps in response to an attack on colonists.

Some members of the Mi'kmaq community have called for the removal of tributes to Cornwallis, calling his actions a form of genocide.

Wilson-Raybould, who is Aboriginal, says the regional leadership of the Assembly of First Nations and "the rest of the community and elders" will determine what actions to take to enhance reconciliation between First Nations and non-Aboriginal residents in Nova Scotia.

"I think under the leadership of regional chief (Morley) Googoo and the rest of the community and elders they will determine what best to happen with the Cornwallis statue in terms of reconciliation," she said before entering the meeting.

Googoo told reporters it's not something that he intended to discuss at the gathering.

He said he understands the difficulties faced by Halifax Mayor Michael Savage, as the local politician proceeds through a process of council meetings and hearings to determine the fate of the monument.

"I respect the mayor's challenges," said the chief. "He has to go through committees, make recommendations. The Cornwallis statue, Cornwallis Street, all of these things have to be renamed, you can't just take the statues down and nothing is there."

He said there are diverse views among the Mi'kmaq on how the issue should be handled, but there is consensus that figures like Cornwallis should no longer honoured. …

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