Cornwallis debate: Coast guard working with Indigenous group to change ship name


The federal government is asking an Indigenous group in Nova Scotia to recommend a new name for a Canadian Coast Guard ship named after a British military officer who offered a bounty for the scalps of Mi'kmaq people.

Fisheries and Oceans Minister Bernadette Jordan issued a statement today saying Ottawa wants to work with the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaw Chiefs to right the wrongs of the past.

Federal officials say the icebreaker, known as Canadian Coast Guard Ship Edward Cornwallis, is undergoing a refit in Nova Scotia and will be renamed later this year before it leaves the Shelburne Shipyard.

Cornwallis is perhaps best known as the man who founded Halifax in 1749, but his mission to establish a garrison included eliminating Indigenous resistance and, at one point, approving a scalping proclamation to "take or destroy the savages."

The federal government says Cornwallis sought to drive the Mi'kmaq from their lands through "barbaric measures."

Jordan says she will work with Chief Terry Paul, co-chairman of the assembly, to come up with a new name.