Motion regarding commemoration of Edward Cornwallis

Motion for Council to Consider:
Request a staff report with recommendations regarding a public engagement process to review and advise Council regarding possible changes to the commemoration of Edward Cornwallis on municipal assets, including Cornwallis Park and Cornwallis Street.

The discussions around commemoration of Edward Cornwallis have been underway for some time. The question of what do we do as a society with commemorative naming and assets that may have become unrepresentative of our present present values is a difficult conversation to have. It says good things about Halifax that we can have a mature and considerate discussion about an important and potentially divisive issue while continuing to listen and be respectful of other’s opinions.

Most recently:
• Council is in receipt of a letter from the Mi’kmaq Native Friendship Centre date April 4, 2016 requesting the renaming of Cornwallis Street.
• Council is in receipt of a letter from the Cornwallis Street Baptist Church dated supporting this request.
• Honorable Stephen MacNeil, Premier of Nova Scotia, spoke in the House of Assembly on December 11, 2015 stating that HRM and Nova Scotia should work to find “Is there a way that we can ensure that we reflect our history and not having the founding people, the original people, the people in Mi’kmaq territory to be offended by how we reflect that history.”
• Alan MacMaster MLA for Inverness re-iterated his request for the removal of the statue in Cornwallis park on that same day.
• I had a meeting with some residents including representatives Acadien and Mi’kmaw communities on October 28, 2015 to discuss options regarding the park name and statue.
• The possible name change and/or removal of the statue was a top issue during the public meeting regarding Cornwallis Park on May 28, 2014 and ongoing.

Outcome Sought:
A process for review of named assets that involves public engagement.