HALIFAX — Work has begun to remove a statue of Halifax’s controversial military founder from a downtown park, less than a day after Halifax council decided it should be taken down at least temporarily.
Scaffolding is set up around the bronze figure of Edward Cornwallis and workers are preparing to move it.
A few bystanders have gathered around the statue under sunny skies, but there’s no word yet on when the statue will be uprooted and moved into storage.
Council voted 12-4 on Tuesday to temporarily place the bronze figure in storage until a decision is made on its long-term fate.
Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq chiefs had called Friday for the statue to be taken down immediately, because a panel appointed in October to study how the city commemorates Cornwallis had not even met yet.
Cornwallis is a disputed character seen by some as a brave leader who founded Halifax, but by others as the commander of a bloody and barbaric extermination campaign against Mi’kmaq inhabitants.
“I feel pretty good right now, pretty happy. A lot of us, we’ve been waiting a long time for this — since longer than I’ve been alive,” Mi’kmaq activist Rebecca Moore said as she watched workers make preparations for removal.
“What it means to me is that it’s really showing that violence against Indigenous people and Indigenous women is not OK and it’s not acceptable and that we won’t stand for it. That’s what it symbolizes to me.”