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New memorial envisioned to honour Canada's war dead

George Wallace

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Interesting news.  A Toronto businessman has envisioned a memorial to honour Canada's war dead, to be built in Cape Breton along the Cabot Trail in the National Park.  Reproduced under the Fair Dealings provisions of the Copyright Act.


LINK

thestar.com

Saturday, January 4, 2014
12:36 AM EST

News / Canada


New memorial envisioned to honour Canada's war dead

Toronto businessman is spearheading efforts to build a new memorial to honour Canadians buried abroad or lost at sea.

By: Bruce Campion-Smith Ottawa Bureau,  Published on Mon Dec 30 2013


OTTAWA—Toronto businessman Tony Trigiani was driving back to Rome when he passed a cemetery where row after row of tidy headstones mark the resting place of Canadian soldiers killed in the Italian campaign of the Second World War.

Set on high ground on the Adriatic coast, the Moro Canadian War Cemetery contains the graves of 1,375 Canadian soldiers.

Trigiani stopped to pay his respects. As he walked along the rows, he was struck by the ages of the fallen soldiers.

One grave caught his eye — Ted Truskoski, killed on April 19, 1944. The son of Karol and K. Marcella Truskoski, of Creighton Mine, Ont., he was just 17, according to the marker.

“It’s not that I wasn’t aware of cemeteries and Canada’s participation but I just got jarred out of another mindset,” said Trigiani.

“It played on me heavily for some reason. I don’t know why . . . 17. What was I doing at 17?”

It was from that trip, that the idea took shape for a memorial in Canada to honour the more than 114,000 Canadians who never returned home from conflicts abroad and are buried on foreign soil or were lost at sea.

Today, Trigiani has two titles. He is president of Norstar Corp., a food packaging business based in Toronto. But he is also the president and CEO of the Never Forgotten National Memorial Foundation, the organization established to bring the memorial to life.

Trigiani is a reluctant salesman. For example, he declined the Star’s request for a photo. He said he wants the focus to be on the memorial, not on his efforts to get it built. But working away from the spotlight, those efforts are turning the vision into a reality.

In August, Parks Canada announced its support to have the memorial built along the Cabot Trail in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, which gets about 200,000 visitors a year.

The proposed site, just under one hectare, is at Green Cove on the eastern coastline on a rocky point.

“Facing east, visitors look in the direction of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial and the many battle sites, memorials and cemeteries of Europe, Asia, Africa and beyond,” reads a glossy booklet about the project.

“It’s going to be magnificent,” said Trigiani. “The views from the Cabot Trail are going to be spectacular.”

The highlight of the memorial will be the tall statue of a woman, with her arms outstretched toward Europe.

The statue is modelled on one at the Vimy Memorial, in France. Known as “Canada Bereft,” that female figure stands with head bowed as if in mourning. But the “Mother Canada” statue meant to grace Nova Scotia’s shores will be looking up, over the water and her arms open in a ready embrace.

“It’s beckoning, it’s welcoming. We took Canada Bereft and changed her pose from one of sorrow to one of hope and longing and remembrance,” Trigiani said.

Retired major-general Lewis MacKenzie has signed on as an ambassador for the project. While Canada’s wartime sacrifices are already honoured by the National War Memorial in Ottawa and cenotaphs in towns and cities, MacKenzie said there is a place for this memorial to recognize a specific group — the soldiers who never came home.

“It’s all those folks. This specifically recognizes welcoming home, I say, the souls of those of those that are buried in foreign fields,” MacKenzie said.

“Because it has that specific (purpose) instead of just honouring sacrifice, that’s why I think it has legs in the imagination of the Canadian public,” said MacKenzie, who has been involved in the project for the last couple of years.

Parks Canada spokesperson Maria O’Hearn said the department was allowing the use of parkland for the memorial.

“The project is at the preliminary stages. Right now we’re working with the foundation,’ she said in an interview.

“The foundation is essentially is taking the vision to see how it could practically work on the ground.”

Once complete, it will be donated to the nation. Parks Canada will oversee the ongoing maintenance of the memorial, drawing on an endowment fund established by the foundation, she said.

The site will feature an interpretive centre where visitors can learn more about the lives of Canada’s war dead. A separate pavilion will pay tribute to those who waited on the home front, including women who stepped into the work force to keep vital war industries going, filling the vacancies left by men serving overseas.

From there, a walkway will lead towards the water’s edge. A circular area will list notable battles where Canadians have fought, from the First World War, the Second World War and the Korean War to more recent conflicts, such as Afghanistan.

Further out, on the rocky point, will be the statue itself and an observation deck at ocean’s edge.

The foundation will spend the upcoming year honing its business plan and getting fundraising efforts into gear. It’s estimated the memorial park will cost at least $30 million.

“There’s no reason why it can’t be funded by corporate and private Canada,” Trigiani said.

The goal is to have the memorial finished and ready for a grand unveiling July 1, 2017.

“A sunrise ceremony kicking off the 150th anniversary of Canada,” Trigiani said.

“The idea is that we’re able to celebrate the 150th (anniversary) of Canada because of the sacrifices that were made for us.”

History in the making.  Drawing at LINK gives you a concept of what the memorial may look like.

 

FormerHorseGuard

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That  would be very cool to go and see. It wouldbe on my bucket list to see when I finally make it to the east coast.
 

George Wallace

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UPDATE

Reproduced under the Fair Dealings provisions of the Copyright Act.

LINK

Sun News

1:52 pm, March 10th, 2014

Critics of planned Mother Canada memorial want to stop it from being constructed

QMI AGENCY


A new memorial to honour Canada's war dead is receiving mixed reaction from local residents and Canadians online.

Called Mother Canada and the Commemorative Ring of True Patriot Love, the memorial will feature a towering statue of a woman facing out to the Atlantic Ocean. The statue will mimic the saddened figure of Canada Bereft, also known as Mother Canada, which appears on the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France.

The memorial will be built along the Cabot Trail in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park.

While it was announced in August, news about local opposition to the project has just started making headlines.

In one recent letter to the editor in the Cape Breton Post, Whitby, Ont., resident Garry Briand says as a veteran who landed in France on D-Day, he is "an avid supporter of any memorial to veterans," but he is worried about the location.

"As a past Parks Canada naturalist and a professional nature photographer, I cannot think of a worse location," Briand wrote.

Kathleen Lewis of Dingwall, N.S., however, wrote she "can't wait" for the memorial in another letter.

On Monday, some Twitter users said the memorial was a terrible idea.

"We are not Rio de Janero. That last thing we need is some gaudy statue of Mother Canada. Who the hell even is Mother Canada?" @MissLeahBauer wrote.

But user @mrchan wrote, "Nobody that hasn't been to Vimy is allowed to mock the name Mother Canada."

A petition has been started on the website Change.org to stop the memorial.
 

Fishbone Jones

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On the face of it, I believe today's soldiers are entitled to the same adoration or remembrence as all past servicemen. They are entitled to the same as any other war. In Windsor, the are making a Afgan Memeorial, but it will, for some strange reason, be across town from every other war memorial we have here (Dieppe Park).

I'm sorry to previous Vets that our war was not as big as theirs, as bloody or as devestating to the nation.

We did not pick our war(s) But went when called.

Memorials now days, end mostly with the after addition of Korea. They include no Peacekeeping or the combat we've been in.

Do we really deserve less than other soldiers in Canada have beeen given? I'm not dead, but lots of my friends are.

There comes a point when the self effaciating Canadian is passe and needs to shout from the rooftops what they think is righteous and proper.

I am not ashamed of my service, nor do I think I should be enbarressed to speak of it.

I think it's time we demanded our do and proclaimed our service as equal to, in our commitment, to previous Canadian soldiers.
 

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recceguy said:
On the face of it, I believe today's soldiers are entitled to the same adoration or remembrance as all past servicemen. They are entitled to the same as any other war. In Windsor, the are making a Afgan Memorial, but it will, for some strange reason, be across town from every other war memorial we have here (Dieppe Park).

I'm sorry to previous Vets that our war was not as big as theirs, as bloody or as devastating to the nation.

We did not pick our war(s) But went when called.

Memorials now days, end mostly with the after addition of Korea. They include no Peacekeeping or the combat we've been in.

Do we really deserve less than other soldiers in Canada have been given? I'm not dead, but lots of my friends are.

There comes a point when the self effacing Canadian is passe and needs to shout from the rooftops what they think is righteous and proper.

I am not ashamed of my service, nor do I think I should be embarrassed to speak of it.

I think it's time we demanded our do and proclaimed our service as equal to, in our commitment, to previous Canadian soldiers.

:cdnsalute:  Well put!!
 

OldTanker

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This might finally get me to drive the Cabot Trail (and shame on me for not doing it already). But it sounds like a great idea and I think the symbolism is right on. If you've been to Vimy, you will understand why.
 

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Journeyman said:
Motorcycle. Autumn leaves.  :nod:

Glen Breton grog. Big Spruce beer. Doryman tavern.
 

The Bread Guy

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I've got ZERO problem with acknowledging, recognizing, remembering and applauding the service and the sacrifices, no matter where/when the service/sacrifice was made.

I'm curious to hear from folks here about "memorial staffing," for the want of a better term - how might one "divvy up" military resources on Remembrance Day as new monuments go up?

In Thunder Bay, for example, there's a 3-way split now (cenotaph in north side, cenotaph in south side and cenotaph on reserve), with a smaller memorial monument near one cenotaph, and the potential for a new memorial to be built elsewhere.  This leads to division of effort (and, in the case of smaller memorials, some saying "hey, why are the troops there, and not here?". 

In a perfect world, if there's more than one monument in one community/area, one could take turns year to year.  That said, given the sensitivity and history of these things, it may be hard to make that happen.

I know this isn't going to be a tidal-wave level of issue, dealing with new monuments going up in every grid square, but I don't think it's going to be zero, either.
 

Jarnhamar

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Why exactly are people trying to stop this memorial?


My vote for a memorial would be to have a tank on the coast with it's cannon pointing east.
 

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milnews.ca said:
I've got ZERO problem with acknowledging, recognizing, remembering and applauding the service and the sacrifices, no matter where/when the service/sacrifice was made.

I'm curious to hear from folks here about "memorial staffing," for the want of a better term - how might one "divvy up" military resources on Remembrance Day as new monuments go up?

In Thunder Bay, for example, there's a 3-way split now (cenotaph in north side, cenotaph in south side and cenotaph on reserve), with a smaller memorial monument near one cenotaph, and the potential for a new memorial to be built elsewhere.  This leads to division of effort (and, in the case of smaller memorials, some saying "hey, why are the troops there, and not here?". 

In a perfect world, if there's more than one monument in one community/area, one could take turns year to year.  That said, given the sensitivity and history of these things, it may be hard to make that happen.

I know this isn't going to be a tidal-wave level of issue, dealing with new monuments going up in every grid square, but I don't think it's going to be zero, either.

I thought that in most areas the services were organized by Legions and other groups already and that CAF participation or representation was at the members discretion for the most part?  Of course, there are some formed parades but I can't remember the last time I was on a formed parade for Remembrance Day.  Perhaps while on my TQ5 in Borden back in 1990.  In the last 20+ years it seems we've always been told to go where we wanted but we were expected to go somewhere in DEU to represent the CAF.  With the number of monuments and memorials in this country, many in communities with multiple monuments owing to amalgamation of smaller communities, we could never cover them all anyway. 
 

McG

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Looks like someone else wants to do this too, but in a different location.  It is so nice of him to offer funds from various regimental and branch associations to build another statue for the NCR.
Statue would give Parliament daily reminder of war's consequences: Dallaire
Winnipeg Free Press
Murray Brewster, The Canadian Press
09 April 2014

She strikes a mournful, solitary pose on the crest of a French ridge once soaked in Canadian blood — an image one prominent former soldier says should be a daily reminder to parliamentarians that their decisions have consequences.

Sen. Romeo Dallaire has been quietly lobbying the federal government to construct a replica of the monument known as Mother Canada, located on the eastern side of the Vimy Ridge memorial perched atop the famous battlefield in France.

Dallaire wants to see the new statue erected in Jacques-Cartier Park in Gatineau, Que., directly across the river from Parliament Hill and within sight of the offices of MPs and senators who would decide where and when to deploy troops in the future.

It's the sort of sober reflection the country needs in an age of hyper-partisan politics and emerging global crises, he said in a recent interview with The Canadian Press.

"As a nation, we will be called beyond our borders again," Dallaire said.

"I expect that, and I think it's part of our responsibility, and so we should make people aware that when you take that decision you realize you are going to take casualties — both in people who are killed (and) in a hell of a lot of people who are injured."

The idea started out as a way to commemorate both the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge and the country's 150th birthday, both of which take place in 2017.

Wednesday marked the 97th anniversary of the battle, which claimed 3,598 Canadian lives.

Dallaire, who was instrumental in pushing for the addition of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the foot of the National War Memorial in Ottawa, said a Mother Canada statue would speak to families in a way that the current memorials don't.

"We're in an era now when you deploy the troops, you're deploying the families," he said.

"Because of the media, they're living the missions in ways past generations haven't and there is no monument here that really projects how the people of Canada — the ones left behind — their sense of the price we have paid."

Dallaire's proposal has won the enthusiastic endorsement of National Defence and retired general Walt Natyncyk, the former chief of defence staff, who recommended the department lend its full support to whichever government department or agency is best suited to take the lead.

"The memorial at Vimy Ridge is an important reminder of the tremendous sacrifices made by Canadians when our country came of age," Natynczyk wrote in a 2011 letter to then-defence minister Peter MacKay.

"The mourning figure of 'Mother Canada' would be a fitting reminder to all of Canada of the sacrifices that her sons and daughters have made, are making, and will continue to make in the future."

The letter was obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act.

Despite such high-calibre support, the Harper government has so far remained silent on whether it would consider adding the idea to its laundry list of planned First World War projects and commemorations.

It has shown interest in Toronto businessman Tony Trigiano's Never Forgotten National Memorial, a giant monument similar to the one in Vimy, but constructed on a patch of Cape Breton coastline, arms outstretched towards the sea.

The idea has been met with mixed reviews in Nova Scotia. Former veterans minister Steven Blaney spoke to Dallaire about Trigiano's plans, but Dallaire wants the monument in the more accessible national capital region.

Dallaire has also faced questions about why his monument should be located on the Quebec side of the river, given the province's reputation for opposing Canada's past military activity and conscription measures.

"That's exactly why you want to put it on the Quebec side; so that we sort out" and reconcile with that history, he said.

The federal government needn't foot the entire bill for the project, said Dallaire; rather, military regimental associations across the country as could be mobilized to support the project, along with other private organizations.

Even the marble for the statue could be found among an existing stockpile that the federal government keeps in reserve for repairs to the monument in France, he added.
http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/canada/parliament-needs-daily-reminder-of-the-consequences-of-war-dallaire-254598521.html

 

McG

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Lots of opposition to this on CBC over the past month.  If you believe the reports, the opposition includes veterans, conservationists, academics and the locals.

Cape Breton Highlands war memorial opposed by new group
10-storey Mother Canada statue prompts call for more consultation from Friends of Green Cove
CBC News
02 Jun 2015

A new group is trying to stop the construction of a controversial 10-storey war memorial proposed for Cape Breton Highlands National Park.

The plan is to build the war memorial on a nearly one-hectare piece of land in Green Cove, N.S. The public has until Sunday to respond to Parks Canada's detailed impact analysis of the project.

A citizens group called Friends of Green Cove that launched on Tuesday is calling for two more months of consultation and for Parks Canada to hold a public meeting where people can state their views. It's made up of scientists, activists and people who live in the Highlands.

"It's vulgar and ostentatious. It doesn't do anything for veterans or definitely not for the people who are dead," says Valerie Bird, a 93-year-old Second World War veteran.

The group says it will spoil an area that is supposed to be protected from development.

"The proposed Mother Canada complex will destroy the site beyond repair," says Sean Howard, an adjunct professor of political science at Cape Breton University.

"It will be a huge scientific loss to the whole Canadian scientific community if this project goes ahead."

The statue by the Never Forgotten National Memorial Foundation, dubbed Mother Canada, would be 30 metres high and feature a woman with her arms outstretched toward Europe. The plan also includes parking for 300 vehicles, a restaurant, souvenir shop and an interpretive centre.

Howard said the complex isn't compatible with Parks Canada's mandate to preserve and protect the land for future generations. He believes it will deter visitors who are attracted to the region and the Cabot Trail for its geography and natural beauty.

"It will go right over the most precious part of the geological formation," he says. "There's nothing like it in national parks before. They'll do a lot of damage by Christmas, unless we stand up now."

Lewis MacKenzie, a retired major-general, is one of the prominent backers of the project. He said the location is ideal because it may have been one of the last parts of Canada seen by people leaving for the First World War and the Second World War, and one of the first seen upon their return.

"The design, when you see it, is extremely attractive," he said. "It's extremely welcoming not only to the souls of those interred abroad, but also for new Canadians. If it's a spot for reflection, I can't think of a better one."

But Howard said there are other sites in Canada where people can pay their respects.

"All other memorials around the country pay homage to not just to the people from the locality that died but by extension to all those that gave their lives in all the wars," he said. "There's no commemorative gap that needs to be filled."

The Never Forgotten National Memorial Foundation, which proposed the monument, intends to raise $25 million for the project through corporate and private donations.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/cape-breton-highlands-war-memorial-opposed-by-new-group-1.3096705

Mother Canada statue wrong way to remember, say history professors
Opposition from history professors comes on the heels of supportive rally at Green Cove
Diane Paquette, CBC News
16 Jun 2015

A group of history professors is adding their voices to the opposition of the Never Forgotten War Memorial Foundation, calling the proposed 10-storey statue "blind patriotism."

The organization is planning to build the 30-metre tall statue — called Mother Canada — in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park at Green Cove. It's a memorial to soldiers whose remains were never brought home to Canada.

Jonathan Roberts, David Campbell, Corey Slumkoski and Martha Walls of Mount Saint Vincent University wrote a commentary for The Chronicle Herald earlier this month saying the project "falls into a trap of blind patriotism."

Roberts says he doesn't think anyone who visits the site will go away with any deeper knowledge of Canada's wars.

"We're not trying to be anti-veteran," he said. "We're not trying to be negative ... but we feel the monument is not appropriate to commemorating the First World War or other wars because it distills down the story of those wars in kind of a simplified statue and mainly about soldiers dying and those who participated in those wars."

Mother Canada is the memorial's centrepiece, featuring a 20-metre high woman with her arms outstretched toward Europe

"We're concerned that a giant statue, which is a colossus, might be the wrong kind of public art to remember wars with," Roberts said.

The professor adds that large statues have been falling out of favour all over the world for years.

"Canada has never built a colossus before. We' re not really in the business of building giant statues because they are so politically divisive," he said. "If it were the case that a giant statue generated economic development there would be a lot of giant statues all over the place."

"Those statues don't really fit the Canadian culture as we see it."

He says they make sense in other countries: large religious statues or shrines to dictators in former communist countries.

The memorial plan also includes parking for 300 vehicles, a restaurant, souvenir shop and an interpretive centre. The group of teachers points out that the foundation's website has some letters and photos online, and it might be more worthwhile to put that online.

"There's a problem of being monumental. We think it really simplifies things. We feel people will go to the monument to see the monument rather than get a sense of what happened and how complex the war was and how much misery people suffered," said Roberts.

The professor's comments comes on the heels of a support rally in Green Cove Sunday where about 180 people turned out to show their support.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/mother-canada-statue-wrong-way-to-remember-say-history-professors-1.3114581

Mother Canada project given $100K Parks Canada grant
Friends of Green Cove say Parks Canada's impartiality now in question
CBC News
22 Jun 2015

A coalition of opponents of the Mother Canada memorial say Parks Canada gave the group quarterbacking the project a $100,000 grant, even though the federal agency has said no public money is is being spent on the proposal.

In a statement, Friends of Green Cove highlight information found on the Parks Canada website, dated February 17, 2014. A spokesperson from the coalition says a lack of transparency puts Parks Canada's impartiality into question, now that Canadian tax dollars have been used to fund the project.

The grant, paid to the Never Forgotten National Memorial Foundation, was disclosed as part of Parks Canada's Disclosure of Grant and Contribution Awards over $25,000.

Friends of Green Cove say Parks Canada officials have reiterated the memorial will be funded entirely through private means and did not publicly acknowledge the $100,000 payment.

According to the Parks Canada page, the grant will help complete the memorial. In addition, it will "support the development of a digital communications platform and the market and visitation projection analysis."

CBC News has reached out to Parks Canada and is awaiting comment.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/mother-canada-project-given-100k-parks-canada-grant-1.3122741





 

Michael OLeary

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If really think they can raise 30-million(+) and want it to support a national "never forgotten" memorial project, they could dedicate a trust that uses its generated interest to provide grants for the care and maintenance of existing memorials across the country. But that wouldn't let a self-serving corporation have a walkway or parking lot named after itself with a flashy corporate logo in the brickwork.
 

The Bread Guy

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Let the brawling between memorial groups continue!
The chairman of the Vimy Foundation wants the organizers behind the proposed war memorial on Cape Breton to stop referring to their massive project as Mother Canada, calling it “disrespectful and unsavoury.”

But that’s unlikely to happen. Christopher Sweeney said the lawyer representing the Never Forgotten National Memorial (NFNM), which is planned for a beautiful cove on the island’s east coast, told his charitable foundation to “basically stuff it.”

He said the lawyer informed him in a letter that his group has a trademark on the name Mother Canada, which is a common term for the mournful, draped statue of the mother at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France, which was unveiled in 1936.

“They took out a trademark so they have a legal right to do it,” Mr. Sweeney said. “I just find it improper that they would even think of taking it. It’s like someone grabbing the title Eiffel Tower, if no one had trademarked it, and building it in Vegas.”

He said it’s clear the group is trying to “leverage Canada’s affection to the Vimy Memorial to build their own project in Canada.” ....
 

The Bread Guy

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Mother Canada monument firing alright, monument -- STOPS!  At least at the proposed site, anyway ... This, from Parks Canada:
Parks Canada has reviewed the entire Never Forgotten National Memorial initiative as well as the key elements and timelines within the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that guides this complex proposal.

Based on that review, Parks Canada has concluded that there are too many key elements that remain outstanding for the project to be achieved by the planned date of July 1, 2017, including the availability of funds to the Foundation, agreement on the structuring of the funding for construction and maintenance, and a definitive final design plan.

After careful consideration, Parks Canada has decided to withdraw from the MOU and the project. Parks Canada will no longer be working towards the realization of the memorial in Cape Breton Highlands National Park. As a result, the project will not be moving forward on Parks Canada land.

Parks Canada appreciates the Never Forgotten National Memorial Foundation’s vision in honouring Canadians who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country and wishes the Foundation success in its on-going pursuits.

More from The Canadian Press:
...  Meg Stokes of the Never Forgotten National Memorial Foundation said Friday the group is disappointed and shocked. Stokes suggested that the statue, which had support in the former Conservative government, had become a political pawn.

"We are heartbroken that our project has fallen victim to politics and deeply saddened that so many people in Cape Breton … were treated in this shocking manner by Parks Canada," said Stokes in a statement.

"This is disappointing to veterans across the country and the current members of the Canadian Forces who support this project."

(...)

Sean Howard, spokesman for the Friends of Green Cove, said the project would have destroyed the rugged coastline and turned Green Cove into "Concrete Cove."

"We applaud Parks Canada for coming to what we believe to be the only sane and sensible decision," said Howard in a phone interview on Friday.

"This was not responsible development. This was an ill-advised adventure that would have lead to the destruction of Green Cove -- a very special and important place geologically, culturally and in many other ways to many other people."

Howard said Parks Canada would have been going against its own mandate to preserve the ecological and cultural integrity of its lands and coastlines.

"This project should have never been given serious consideration, and it only was by the previous federal government that was prepared to ride roughshod over the Parks Canada mandate and the National Parks Act," said Howard, who also teaches in the political science department at Cape Breton University.

"It looks like that dark era is now over and hopefully we can now begin a new green era of looking after and responsibly developing the national parks." ...
 
J

jollyjacktar

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It doesn't have a great deal of support from the folks in NS.  They were rubbing everyone's fur the wrong way.
 

Scott

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Personally, I think it was a piss poor spot to have chosen, and a potential piss poor precedent to set for land use in that park.

I am happy with the outcome.
 
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