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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Watch this: Cornwallis protester disrupts council, records video

Residents looking for removal of controversial statue ejected from public gallery.

Posted By on Tue, Jul 18, 2017 at 11:38 PM

click to enlarge SCREENSHOT VIA FACEBOOK
  • SCREENSHOT VIA FACEBOOK

Instead of a press conference and symbolic tarp, members of the public who repeatedly disrupted Tuesday’s meeting of Regional Council were escorted out of council chambers by security.

Trish MacIntyre, a Métis activist with Halifax Anonymous and one of the organizers of last weekend’s protest at Cornwallis Park, was at City Hall to watch mayor Mike Savage read the calls to action that First Nations protesters had presented him with on Saturday.

After reading the statement, Savage said it would be forwarded to municipal staff and then the councillors continued on with their community announcements.

Later in the meeting, during a discussion on neighbourhood signage, MacIntyre spoke up from the gallery.

“How does that apply to statues?” she asked, interrupting Bedford–Wentworth councillor Tim Outhit.

“I wasn’t planning to put any statues on the Bedford Highway, but hopefully some signs,” Outhit replied before carrying on.

“What department do you contact if you have an issue with statues?” continued MacIntyre.

“There’s no speaking from the gallery, thank you very much,” said Savage.

Reached over Facebook, MacIntyre says she didn’t intend to speak up during the meeting but was guided by her spirit.

“I've tried emailing Savage and talking to him more than once. And I'm aware that Stephen McNeil talked about dealing with the statue back in 2015 and Savage has not addressed the issue.”

Laura Patterson showed up to City Hall on Tuesday about the same issue, and says she was dismayed to see the mayor just read the calls to action into the record and then move on to other matters.

“Our city should be doing more,” she says. “I understand council has a process...that government is slow, and slow for a reason to make sure they make the right decisions.”

But at the same time, she continues, “Nova Scotia’s Mi’kmaq population has been so patient and so polite. They’ve just done everything right and they’ve just been waiting and they keep waiting.”

Patterson was also annoyed with Matt Whitman. The Hammonds Plains–St. Margarets councillor smiled while recording the protesters’ ejection on his phone.

“If they’re asking for decorum from the gallery, it didn’t strike me as a particularly mature response from council, for Matt Whitman to act in that way.”

Members of the public have demanded the statue of Halifax’s problematic fave founder be taken down by Mi’kmaq History Month in October. That’s unlikely to happen, given HRM won’t even have a list of names for its expert panel on Cornwallis Commemoration until at least September.


Later in the meeting, council asked for a staff report looking at creating a “Legacy Room” at City Hall as a dedicated space to display Indigenous art.

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