Mi’kmaw Chiefs asked to rename CCGS Edward Cornwallis

HALIFAX — The Canadian Coast Guard Ship (CCGS) Edward Cornwallis, named after the controversial founder of Halifax, will be given a new name in partnership with the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia.

In a release Tuesday, the minister in charge of the Canadian Coast Guard says renaming the Cornwallis is another step in writing the wrongs of Canada’s past.

“As we make way for a new name, one chosen in partnership with the Mi’kmaq people, we have a new opportunity to shine a light on a leader whose actions embody the values we hold today,” Bernadette Jordan says.

The Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw Chiefs is being asked to recommend a new name for the icebreaker, which will be announced later this year.

“Today we are witnessing reconciliation in action,” Chief Terry Paul of Membertou said in the release. “The Mi’kmaq have called this land home since time immemorial, however, the dark legacy of early settlers continues to serve as a painful reminder of the inequalities that still exist today.”

In 1749, Cornwallis was governor of Nova Scotia when he issued a reward for Mi’kmaq scalps, prompting calls — centuries later — for his name to be removed from schools, rivers, streets, parks and monuments.

A statue of Edward Cornwallis was removed from a downtown Halifax park in 2018, and last week in Sydney, Conwallis Street sings were taken down by the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.

The renaming will follow Coast Guard’s formal policy of naming ships to honour former leaders who have made significant contributions to country.

The light Icebreaker entered service in 1986, and calls the Canadian Coast Guard base in Dartmouth home.

In early March, a contract for $12.1 M was awarded to Shelburne Ship Repair, of Shelburne, Nova Scotia, for vessel life extension work on the ship. This work is expected to be completed in early 2021.

Minister Jordan will announce the name of vessel before it leaves the Shelburne Shipyard later this year.

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