30 Sep McNeil’s Liberals meet with Mother Canada promoters
Why on earth would Premier Stephen McNeil want to get tangled up in the Harper Government’s Mother Canada fiasco?
The project is unpopular with Canadians, most decidedly so in Atlantic Canada. It violates the integrity of the province’s largest national park. It runs roughshod over the National Parks Act. It ignores best practices for acquiring public art. It was designed without public consultation, cooked up in secret, and rushed through a half-baked environmental assessment that produced an error-riddled report written by one of the project’s corporate sponsors. It abounds in spiritual mumbo-jumbo and tacky kitsch. It employs a discredited style of presenting the history of warfare, and reflects a gargantuan type of statuary more associated with totalitarian regimes than freedom-loving democracies. Its sponsors copyrighted the nickname “Mother Canada,” which had long been applied to the much smaller Canada Bereft statue at Vimy, then bullied the Vimy Foundation with threats of lawsuits when it politely complained.
Most of all, since it will defile a National Park, the statue falls under federal jurisdiction, giving Stephen McNeil a perfectly sensible reason to sidestep the quagmire.
And yet, the Nova Scotia Liberal Caucus will meet quietly today with Mother Canada promoters Tony Trigiani and Maj. Gen. Lewis MacKenzie.
Quietly is how Trigiani and MacKenzie like to lobby for the project.
The obsessively secretive Trigiani has made almost no public appearances. His Never Forgotten National Memorial Foundation refused to attend a public forum on the project last summer, as did Parks Canada and Stantec, the corporate sponsor that doubled as the project’s official environmental assessor.
The Liberal MLAs would be well-advised to have a fact checker on hand for today’s meeting. MacKenzie and Trigiani have a habit of repeating nonsensical claims in support of the project. Their environmental assessment report says the project must be located in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, because that’s the point on Canada’s eastern coastline at the same latitude as the Vimy Memorial, of which it is a bloated knockoff. In fact, Newfoundland’s Northern Peninsula is on the same latitude as Vimy. More recently, MacKenzie has tugged heartstrings with his claim that the proposed Green Cove site is the last bit of Canada seen by soldiers departing for World War I. In fact, Green Cove is nowhere near the route followed by troopships, and could not be seen from the vessels, owing to the earth’s curvature.
The Liberals would have been wise to skip this session. At a minimum, they must now make time for local opponents of this dreadful scheme.
[CORRECTION: The original version of this post included a pie chart showing approval and disapproval of the Mother Canada statue taken from Mainstream Research’s report of its opinion poll about the project. A Contrarian reader pointed out that the Mainstream chart did not accurately reflect the numbers in the poll. Mainstream Research did not respond to a email request for an explanation of the discrepancy, so I have substituted a new pie chart that more accurately reflects the poll’s numbers.]