Thursday, October 27, 2011

Edward Cornwallis - part ii

1. The first CCGS Edward Cornwallis at the Dartmouth base, loaded with buoys, 1985-10-09.

2. CCGS Edward Cornwallis (ii) fitting out at the Marine Industries Ltd shipyard in Sorel, QC. The impractical red funnel cap was soon repainted in black.

Since I normally don't get many comments on my blog, I guess I was taken aback somewhat by any response at all to this item.

My thoughts were on the Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation hearings going on in Halifax, at this time. What messages are we sending when we don't acknowledge that we are are the inheritors of our history? What is our responsibility for past mistakes?

It is not sufficient to say that we didn't make the mistakes. It is our responsibility to acknowledge them, and to make up for them if we can. One way to do that is to rebalance. My suggestion that the ship be renamed would in no way ignore 263 years of history. Instead it would be a way of acknowledging grievances and signalling an intent to do better in the future.

Edward Cornwallis was an historical figure-his contributions won't go away, nor will the attitude of the colonial authorities to the native populations. But what can happen is the we can acknowledge what we have learned from history.

Revisionist? I don't think so. I am not suggesting rewriting history, but redressing an imbalance that has gone on for too long.

A glance at the Canadian Coast Guard's ship naming policy, for example, will show that self-serving partisan politics is responsible for naming our most important ships. Ignoring other historical figures will not help to redress the balance.


1 comment:

  1. The Edward Cornwallis ship name means two very hard working vessels that have a proud history with the CG.
    The historical Edward Cornwallis can't be struck from history but used as an example of never letting it happen again.