I welcome Premier McNeil’s as well as Allan MacMaster’s input into the ongoing discussion around Cornwallis Park’s name and statue. I agree that the name and treatment of this statue is problematic, and I have been working to address this for some time.
Since May 2014 I have been engaged in this dialogue, asking the question “What do we do as a society with commemorative landscapes that are unrepresentative of present values?” This discussion has included residents of my district as well as members of the broader Mi’kmaq and Acadien communities.
Options to be considered include renaming the park, keeping the statue with appropriate new context, adding new artwork to the park to tell a contemporary story of our view of history, or removing the statue and replacing it with something that does the same. All of these options need to be carefully considered and discussed.
Since the public meeting of May 28 2014, I participated in a meeting hosted by the Gorsebrook institute at St Mary’s on May 19 2015, and held a meeting of community representatives on Oct 28th 2015 to discuss next steps. As a result of this last meeting I intend to bring a motion to Council in the new year.
I am committed to work with Mayor Savage and Regional Council to make sure the problem gets the time and attention to make sure the approach we take is respectful, sensitive and is inclusive of all citizens.