Defence of memorial ‘flawed and revealing’
Neil McKinnon’s attempt to justify the placing of the ‘Mother Canada’ War Memorial at Green Cove ( letter to the editor, Cape Breton Post, July 13) is flawed and revealing in equal measure.
McKinnon clearly believes one of the project’s major strengths to be its fully “privately funded” nature, describing as “misleading and not true” the documented and acknowledged grant of $100,000 to the Never Forgotten National Memorial Foundation (NFNM) from Parks Canada, the federal agency supposedly acting as independent assessor of the proposal.
The independence of Parks Canada is further thrown into question by the approach made to McKinnon in 2012 by then Cape Breton Highlands National Park superintendent Helen Robichaud, asking him to suggest a site for the extensive memorial complex.
Is the job of Parks Canada really to seek outside help in facilitating the private development of public parkland? If so, they have a new, secret mandate or perhaps just new orders from the top.
Late last week, the NFNM Foundation told BuzzFeed Canada it was seeking significant further amounts of public money from the ‘Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Fund.’
One of the project’s remaining honorary patrons, NDP MP Peter Stoffer, immediately signalled that such funding would spell the end of his endorsement. Other supporters may be preparing to draw a similarly clear and principled ‘red line.’
Full private funding would not, of course, make the planned destruction of Green Cove’s ecological and cultural (especially Mi’kmaq) integrity acceptable, or any less a betrayal by Parks Canada of its own core mandate. But for taxpayers to come to the rescue of such an ill-advised scheme would add serious insult to injury. Sean Howard Spokesperson, Friends of Green Cove Main-a-Dieu