De­fence of me­mo­rial ‘flawed and re­veal­ing’

Cape Breton Post - - EDITORIAL -

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

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