Stetski opposes national monument’s location

NDP National Parks Critic Wayne Stetski (Kootenay – Columbia) has sent a letter to Environment Minister Catherine McKenna calling on the federal government to reject a proposal for the Never Forgotten National Memorial, also known as Mother Canada.

The proposal, which was backed by the former Conservative government, would see a giant statue erected at the headlands of Green Cove in Cape Breton Highlands National Park, along with a parking lot and visitor’s centre.

“The government’s process for public feedback was limited to only two weeks, and the project has since received criticism from a variety of stakeholders,” Stetski said in his letter to McKenna, who is the Liberal MP for Ottawa Centre. “A national park is no place for a seven-storey statue, particularly one that lacks broad-based support and poses a threat to the ecological integrity of the park.”

In addition to a number of civil society groups, the Mother Canada proposal was, Stetski said, opposed by a group of 28 former senior Parks Canada managers, including a former Parks Canada CEO who sent an open letter to a former environment minister that raised concerns about the proposal’s impact on Cape Breton Highlands National Park.

“I have great respect for the terrible price many of our soldiers have paid,” said Stetski in his letter. “A memorial to honour them is welcome. The question before us is where such a memorial should be located.”

New Democrats are calling on the government to scrap the current proposal and open thorough public consultation on possible locations for the memorial.