NEWS
01/28/2018 07:58 EST | Updated 01/28/2018 08:21 EST

Halifax review of Cornwallis tributes in limbo without Mi'kmaq chiefs: mayor

Halifax's mayor says a municipal process to rethink how the city honours its controversial founder may not go ahead as planned after the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaq Chiefs withdrew abruptly.

Mike Savage says councillors are evaluating their options after the municipality’s efforts to revisit tributes to Halifax founder Edward Cornwallis were derailed on Friday when the assembly announced it was pulling its participation.

The assembly has said its members have run out of patience with a process that has dragged on for "far too long," and have called for a statue of Cornwallis to be immediately removed from a downtown park.

Savage says he shares the assembly's disappointment about the slow pace of progress, but says rather than placing blame, he hopes to re-engage the assembly as council undertakes the task.

Halifax councillors voted last fall to launch a special advisory committee to review Cornwallis commemorations, and the assembly said it submitted names of potential Mi'kmaq panellists, but the committee has yet to be formed.

The assembly passed a resolution last week calling on the city to deal with landmarks honouring Cornwallis, including the bronze statue that has become a flashpoint for controversy over the former Nova Scotia governor's legacy.

Last summer, amid simmering tensions over Cornwallis — who issued a bounty on Mi'kmaq scalps in 1749 in response to an attack on colonists — members of the assembly tried to quell a grassroots protest calling for the statue's removal.

The city briefly covered up the bronze figure, and organizers say they're planning another "Removing Cornwallis" rally next weekend.

Mi'kmaq activist Rebecca Moore says she's heartened to see the Mi'kmaq community showing a united front in telling the city it's time for Cornwallis to go.