Edward Cornwallis statue vandalized with red paint after controversial vote
Rob Roberts, THE CANADIAN PRESS
Published Friday, May 13, 2016 1:40PM ADT
Last Updated Friday, May 13, 2016 7:15PM ADT
HALIFAX -- A statue of Edward Cornwallis has been vandalized, days after Halifax council refused to reconsider how the city honours its controversial founder.
Red paint was found on the statue's base, plaque and nearby stones Friday morning, with smaller splashes on the statue itself.
Council rejected a bid Tuesday to discuss updating municipal landmarks bearing Cornwallis's name despite a simmering controversy over his violent approach to dealing with aboriginals.
Tiffany Chase, a spokeswoman for the Halifax Regional Municipality, said the city's graffiti-removal contractor had already fixed the damage by mid-afternoon Friday. The city decided not to ask police to investigate.
"We focused on assessing and undertaking the required graffiti removal from the statue, which has already been completed by our contractor," said Chase.
Halifax Coun. Waye Mason, whose district includes Cornwallis Park, said the statue has been vandalized before.
"I would suggest his hand is painted red more often than not, for at least a decade, probably two. The base of the statue is also a target for graffiti," Mason said in an email.
Mason was the author of the council motion aimed at discussing Cornwallis's city tributes.
In 2013, vandals wrote "FAKE"" in large red letters on the statue.
The Mi'kmaq have long called for removal of tributes to Cornwallis, some calling his actions against their ancestors a "genocide."
Cornwallis, then governor of Nova Scotia, founded Halifax in 1749 and soon after issued a bounty on the scalps of Mi'kmaq men, women and children, in response to an attack on colonists.
The Mi'kmaq Native Friendship Centre and Cornwallis Street Baptist church have petitioned council to re-name Cornwallis Street, partly inspiring Tuesday's motion.
Rebecca Thomas, a Mi'kmaq poet who was named Halifax's poet laureate in March, has criticized the vote of the all-white council, noting the "sweet irony" of some councillors' concerns that their history would be erased in favour of an indigenous narrative.
After his bid was rejected, Mason said a debate about Cornwallis remains "inevitable."
Halifax police Const. Dianne Woodworth said the force does not investigate vandalism unless a complaint is made by the property owner.
"We don't have an investigation at this point."