"It is true that many Mi'kmaq people, Indigenous people, and others of all backgrounds disagree with the continued presence of Edward Cornwallis on a pedestal in a public park," he said in a statement. "I understand this position and am committed to a resolution of this situation."
An expert panel, which includes Mi'kmaq voices, will weigh in on commemorations of Cornwallis in the city including the statue.
Savage said the panel will "recommend an appropriate way forward for what has become a polarizing issue in this community."
"Removal of the statue and the renaming of the park must be among the considerations for the panel as well as for council," he said.
In 1749, Cornwallis issued an infamous scalping proclamation promising a bounty for the scalp of every Mi'kmaq.
The men said they were members of the Proud Boys, a self-declared group of “Western Chauvinists.”
Nearly 300 people indicated on the Facebook event page that they planned to attend the protest, while about a thousand were interested.
The event page, hosted by Suzanne Patles, said the statue "for too long has been representing genocide" in Mi'kma'ki.
"We are calling on our warriors, protectors, allies, friends and lovers to join us in this historic event," the description said.
Savage suggested there might be ways to reconcile with Indigenous people while commemorating the city's turbulent history.
"Can a park be a place where we reconcile our past with a new way forward in the spirit of reconciliation?" he said. "If Mi'kmaq activists and their supporters take down the Cornwallis statue before we are given an opportunity to co-operatively forge a better way forward, we will set back progress that is already being made."
Last year, after council rejected a bid to discuss updating municipal landmarks bearing Cornwallis’s name, the statue was vandalized.
Red paint was found on the statue’s base, plaque and nearby stones, with smaller splashes on the statue itself.
However, a year later council voted 15-1 to reopen the simmering Cornwallis debate and study the use of his name on city property.
Source : http://www.chroniclejournal.com/news/national/halifax-mayor-speaks-out-against-removal-of-cornwallis-statue-from/article_1e80e997-13aa-578d-b00f-df525833f6d9.html