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Let’s talk about the Cornwallis statue—again

Halifax councillors are quick to get on-board when the topic is donairs, but when it comes to questionable statues they say the past is best left there

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In yesterday’s regional council session, 15 members of city council voted on Councillor Waye Mason’s motion to request a staff report that would lead to a public discourse on whether or not to update municipal markers honouring Governor Edward Cornwallis. It was defeated 8–7.

Cornwallis founded Halifax in 1749. In October of that same year, he issued “The Scalp Proclamation,” which offered a bounty for the scalps of Mi’kmaq men, women, and children. The bounty was in place until 1752.

Halifax’s Twitter community reacted swiftly, and conversations went on until late last night. But things really got interesting when Maggie Stewart, a local lawyer and arts administrator, put out a call for information.


MaggieGeekTweet HalifaxMagazine


The tweet caught my eye, and I pulled up the minutes from October 20, 2015, when Halifax Regional Council voted on a motion by Councillor Linda Mosher to request a staff report to consider approving the donair as Halifax’s official food, which passed 12–4.

I put together the lists of names and sent them to Stewart, who added my comment to a tweet she received from Mason, which listed the names of the councillors who voted down the Cornwallis report.


HalifaxMagazine Twitter


Of course, as Councillor David Hendsbee said to CBC News: “The donair is one of those fun iconic food situations. We’re not going to put up a big statue on the waterfront of a donair.”

He’s already got that spot in mind for the Cornwallis statue.

  • Lang Hancock

    The campaign to tear down Cornwallis statue is part of larger agenda of DECOLONIZATION. Trevor and his merry band will not stop at Cornwallis statue, they will go down the line. I guarantee Trevor Adams and the “Halifax Twitter Community” supports the Rhodes Must Fall campaign too. The goal is to obliterate every monument of all European colonial figures. Napoleon, Leopold II, etc

  • Trevor Adams

    Fact check: Trevor is not merry, has never heard of the “Rhodes Must Fall Campaign,” and has no particular opinion on Napoleon or Leopold II.

  • Lang Hancock

    In September 2008, artist Théophile de Giraud climbed up the large equestrian statue to King Leopold II of Belgium (r. 1865-1909) at the Place du Trône in Brussels. Once on top, he dumped red paint on the statue and proceeded to spread the paint all over Leopold II’s head and upper body. A 2004 attack on a large memorial to the king in Oostende left one of the monument’s African figures missing a hand. A statue to the king in Ekeren has been vandalized a number of times, most recently by being defaced with blood-red paint in November 2009. In 2004, Spirit Halle, the local chapter of the Flemish left-liberal political party Spirit asked the Halle city government to remove the monument to Belgium’s second king in that city’s park “omdat massamoordenaars geen standbeeld verdienen”—because mass murderers do not deserve a monument.


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