Monday, June 29, 2015

Oh! Canada..

Imagine seeing a place like this

turned into this.

Stephen Harper has decided it's a good idea to build a 10 storey Colossus memorializing Canada's military history along the rugged, windswept coastline of the Cabot Trail, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. The statue will be part of a proposed "Never Forgotten National Memorial" inside the Cape Breton Highlands National Park.

The plans for the memorial, brilliantly conceived by food-packaging baron and "enthusiastic patriot" Tony Trigiani were described to the Globe and Mail:

Mr. Trigiani is planning to place a "We See Thee Rise Observation Deck" in front of the Mother Canada statue, and behind it "The Commemorative Ring of True Patriot Love," a low wall featuring metal plaques naming the international cemeteries where Canadian soldiers are buried. He's also planning a "With Glowing Hearts National Sanctuary," as well as a restaurant, souvenir shop and interpretive centre.

Siting any structure in a National Park sets a precedent that calls into question the very reason to even have National Parks. If a consortium of wealthy individuals can ride roughshod over the Parks' legal protections, then the Parks are no longer safe.

The names of the fallen will not be commemorated by this monument - only those of the sponsors will appear, carved in stone. That is, after all, the incentive for getting them to contribute in the first place - it is there, for all to see, on the official website. They are paying to have their name and/or brand immortalised on this so-called 'monument', while the names of those it is meant to honour will not be. That isn't patriotism, it's marketing, and to use the dead to sell stuff is an insult to their sacrifice. A monument should remember those who sacrificed their lives for their country, not those who sacrificed a small proportion of their disposable income for brand awareness.

 Finally - it's really, REALLY ugly.

Just in case you need to know more about this project there's more news here. Meanwhile, I'll leave you with just a few of the hundreds of comments made to the Guardian:

* Not to mention the I-Love-Me Harper Hall! Plus, what names! What grandiose, egocentric, egotistical megalomaniacal names! What typical of tyrannical regimes names! Amazing the approach is not being named the Avenue of Glorious Leader Harper!

* Sitting Bull and other Lakota described Queen Victoria as 'Grandmother England' and thought of Canada as a place of sanctuary - just stick a big statue of Victoria facing the US.

* They should build a statue of a giant oil sands truck and call it "mother of all fuck ups".

* Not so much "Mother Canada" as "The Mummy" Canada".....

* Perhaps instead a statue of Pierre Trudeau doing his pirouette? A monument to the last Canadian prime minister with any real character or brains.

* War already does a pretty good job of eradicating natural beauty, so yeah, let's commemorate that by eradicating some natural beauty.

* Interesting to compare the triumphantly open-armed Mother Canada with the bowed and grieving Canada Bereft Vimy memorial, which at least makes the point that war is a desperately sad business. An example of a new mood of sentimental jingoism, now that WW2 is more than half a century away.

* Meanwhile about 120 First Nations communities in Canada are on boil water advisories, some for as long as 20 years. Typically the Harper government would rather spend our tax dollars on self congratulatory projects like this than improving the third world conditions of Canadian First Nations living in one of the richest countries in the world.

* A final insult to the east coast before Harper goes. To sell out national parkland to a private enterprise for such a stupid idea is just plain wrong. You're not allowed to pick a single flower in these parks and he wants to pour concrete all over Green Cove. The gratitude we have to our fallen soldiers is felt by all, but to use our sentiments to sell this piece of tacky schlock is pathetic.

* The bigger-is-better approach to art is best left to Stalinist tyrants, theme park entrepreneurs and insecure municipalities.

* This is not the only oversized piece of controversial memorial "art" that Harper's Conservative government is working on. They are going to build a massive "Monument for the Victims of Communism" outside the Supreme Court building on Parliament Hill.
No indication where the "Monument for the Aboriginal Victims of Canada" is going to be located, thus proving that it is much easier to commemorate other people's victims.

* I think Cape Breton needs a 100' statue of the McKenzie brothers, hockey sticks draped over their shoulders, a beer in the other hand of course, and big smiles showing the requisite 3 or 4 missing teeth. Now that says everything about the Canadian psyche that needs to be

Happy Canada Day on the 1st of July
Happy Independence Day on the 4th

We'll try to be back sooner next time :)


  1. Yes, I saw that news item - just disgusting and another embarrassment by Harper! Great comments! Now it's time to get rid of the worst PM we've ever had, and we've had a few such before.

    Happy Canada Day! Hope we'll still be around in the next decades if Harper and his oil buddies haven't destroyed everything.

    1. Unfortunately, Harper himself doesn't seem to be embarrassed by anything. I agree that this (never mind the Monument to the Victims of Communism!) appears to be his final straws. At least I hope that Canadians are disgusted enough with the PCs that there'll be none of this first past the post trickery. Maybe the next gov't will get rid of that - and let the scientists speak again and provide proper care for veterans. Harper's attitude toward the First Nations people is shameful.

      Yes, let's hope for Happier Canada Days in future :)

  2. Yes!........Better I just bite my tongue.

    1. I don't often do politics but this was just too egregious and example to miss.

  3. Hi Susan
    It does seem rather odd to me as I gather most people don’t object so much to the idea of a war memorial, but rather to the location in a national park. Personally I think war memorials serve a purpose, to remind us of the horrors of war and the sacrifices made, but are usually best suited as part of a civic centre by way of shrine with due consideration to the respective communities. This seems to be more of an excuse for a commercial venture then in genuinely honouring the fallen. What also is a sobering thought in Australia is that so many indigenous groups died fighting (or because of the foreign plagues visited upon them) at the hands of the European invaders confiscating their lands- lest we forget. Best wishes

    1. Hi Lindsay
      It's true what you say about not objecting to war memorials but what was also mentioned quite often by commenters is that Canada does have a lot of those in appropriate civic environments. You're correct that this is simply an excuse for rich people to make more money at the expense of one of the country's most beautiful natural settings.
      I agree the indigenous peoples of the world suffered greatly from western European expansion. It's one of the great tragedies of our world.
      Best wishes

  4. This IS one of the ugliest things I've ever seen and naturally, the "donors" must be recognized, not the dead.... This sickens me but doesn't surprise me. I don't think anything much surprises me anymore. It's one long slip-slide into disgrace and chaos where money and power are the name of the game. I say no thanks and turn my back tho if that were in MY backyard, it would be another story. I'm glad you are writing about it...

    And I'm hoping that this summer is holding nice walks along the beaches for now. The weather here is abominable with temps in the 100's and drier than a bone. Seems i said that last year on the fourth too, worrying about the idiots who come up here with their kids to watch the crazies below send up the usual fare(boring), sell them to everyone with a dollar so they can lug them up into the grasslands and set the whole damn place ablaze... crap, pay no mind to me... been in a bad mood long enough. xoxoxox (second time is the charm where publishing these are concerned. )

    1. Hello, sweet Linda! Yeah, this is Brutalism at its worst right as we thought Stalin was gone forever. Most of the people who live in the small town closest to the site are very upset about the idea. Of course there are always a few idiots who think they'll get jobs but we both know how that will work out.

      You did tell me about the danger of wildfires up there on the 4th and how your husband and other ranchers have to keep an eye on things. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for you that night.

      We used to live in a big old house overlooking the park in Providence where people would come to watch the fireworks over the lake and also set off M-80s on their way there. Every year I breathed a sigh of relief once it was all over and our roof hadn't been set on fire.

  5. Well, hell. I had thought you northern folk were somehow better off than we your southern redneck cousins. Down here that crap passes for 'patriotism'

    1. The funny thing is, Mike, that while I was spending 35 years in the US being blown away by just how much worse things were getting I imagined Canada had stayed just the same. Stephen Harper was re-elected just months after we arrived here where he rules parliament with 36%. The other 4-5 parties never managed a coalition against him and when they did get close he'd cancel the session (it's called Proroguing).

      As another friend of mine said: The head of our government (the Prime Minister) is an American-thinking Canadian. (Some people are using the word "fascist" to describe him!) His rise to power, we now know, happened with the help of the CIA and a Republican party offshoot. (We have the documents demonstrating this.)

    2. Oh, Canada! Don't get me started. Although: Far am I from calling Mr. Harper a ruthless bastard with almost no brain below his toupee, but I do know people who do and wish him to become 500 years old, with lots of pain, slowly rotting testicles would be fine, and that he may lose all teeth except one (for 59 minutes toothache per hour).

    3. I'll try not to get you started, Sean, but it looks to me like you needed no assistance :) He is a very nasty man - and unfortunately he's not alone as someone in a position of power who doesn't deserve his own shoeshine stand.

  6. I'm rather enjoying watching the sillines that passes for those who think they would like to be president of this great land down here..... You couldn't pay me to do it nor take it on and my lack of a sliver of patriotism is even more slim. It really is just a party for fools I believe.... Perhaps I should just look away... What do you think?

    much love... i get to partying here and just can't sit down and shut up! ;)