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Trudeau Going Ahead With 'Victims Of Communism' Memorial

'Public Consultation' Engineered To Create The False Impression Of Public Support

by Daniel Johnson

The masthead of the 'consultation'.
The masthead of the 'consultation'.

So, in the year leading up to the election, there were many stories in the media about the crazy Conservative Party plan to insult our intelligence with a 'Victims Of Communism' memorial in Ottawa.

It was one of those plans that was so irrational, coming at a time when the public is becoming increasingly aware of the failures of capitalism, that it punctuated how crazy Harper's party had really become, and how important it was to get them removed from office. 

So, Harper was stopped, right? 

The Liberals said they would hold a consultation on the memorial.

What many expected was a consultation on whether or not it should be built, which would, most likely, result in firm recommendation to cancel the project. 

But that is not what happened. 

Instead, they are going on with the project. That's been made quite obvious by the way the 'consultation' is being carried out.

It is also supported by all of the party leaders, including NDP leader Thomas Mulcair and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, though only Harper was vocal about it during the election. 

These leaders, in supporting a right wing, pro-capitalist propaganda project, have basically spit on their support base. Is that why media stopped discussing it? 

The consulation questionaire, not widely publicized but still available for public input until February 6th, does not ask 'should we', only 'how should we?'. 

The introductory page to the questionaire states

"The Department of Canadian Heritage invites Canadians from across the country to contribute to the building of their nation’s capital by sponsoring commemorations of Canadian ideas, people and events that are of national symbolic importance. Tribute to Liberty, a not-for-profit organization, is sponsoring a project to build a monument titled Memorial to the Victims of Communism – Canada, a Land of Refuge.
 
This monument will honour the millions worldwide who suffered or perished under totalitarian communist regimes and celebrate Canada’s international role as a place of refuge for people fleeing injustice, persecution and oppression. It is estimated that more than 8 million Canadians can trace their origins to countries that suffered under totalitarian communist regimes.
 
Over the past year, many Canadians expressed concerns over the location of the Memorial, which was to be situated on a large site next to the Supreme Court of Canada. As a result, the Minister of Canadian Heritage has requested that a smaller site in downtown Ottawa that is between 200 and 500 square metres be considered for the Memorial.
 
In that light, Canadian Heritage will be launching a national competition to develop a new design for the Memorial, one that is reflective of the new site. Your perspective and suggestions, based on the responses you provide to the questions below will help to inform the design competition guidelines. 

Participation in this survey is voluntary. The anonymity of respondents will be respected and all responses will be kept strictly confidential. To this end, please avoid directly identifying yourself or your organization in any typed answers.  All information collected will be handled in accordance with the Privacy Act of Canada."

Then comes the first question. Hint: it isn't'should we build a monument to victims of communism or not'. 

"The design must creatively embody the commemorative theme of the Memorial to the Victims of Communism. The theme “Canada, a Land of Refuge”recognizes Canada’s international role as a place of refuge for people fleeing injustice, persecution and oppression. The planned Memorial will commemorate and generate empathy for the millions of victims of communism worldwide, including those who immigrated to Canada.

 
The “Canada, a Land of Refuge” theme encompasses several objectives. Please identify which objectives you think are most important.

You can select up to two of the objectives listed below:

  • Recognize the experience of Canadians who emigrated from communist countries and celebrate their contributions to Canada.
  • Commemorate the millions of people worldwide who lost their lives and suffered under communist tyranny.
  • Remind visitors about core Canadian values of freedom, democracy and human rights.
  • Create awareness of the reality of life under communist regimes.

The next question is about 'visitor experience'.

"Various visitor experiences are considered when designing a new monument. These experiences guide design teams in their creative approach to how visitors will interact with and use the Memorial to the Victims of Communism.

 
Please identify which of these visitor experiences of the Memorial you think are most important.

You can select up to two of the statements below:

  • As a gathering space for a commemorative event or ceremony.
  • As a place for reflection and contemplation.
  • As a catalyst that prompts discussion and inspires visitors of all ages to learn more about the past.
  • As a landmark that enhances the visitor’s perception of the Capital.
  • As a place of repose for the public in the downtown core."

 

In the next question they ask about the 'form' of the 'memorial'. 

The plan is for the Memorial to be built on a site in downtown Ottawa that is between 200 and 500 square metres.
 
Design teams must consider such factors as the size and characteristics of the site as well as the surrounding environment as they strive to create a design that is integrated with its surroundings. Differing approaches to the relationship between a monument and its setting affect its form and character.

Please indicate your preferred approach for the Memorial, given the proposed location and theme.

You can select one of the statements below:

  • An impressive monument set in an open space that reflects the scope of the millions affected by communism worldwide.
  • A human-scaled monument set in an intimate environment that allows visitors to connect to the tragedies at a personal level.
  • An ensemble of individual components that encourages interaction with the monument as visitors explore the sit
  • Finally, at the very end, there is a space to fill in with your actual thoughts, marked 'Do you have any thoughts or ideas concerning the design of the Memorial to the Victims of Communism?'"

At no point do they ask if the respondant supports or opposes the idea of the 'memorial' itself. Which means they intend to build it, regardless of what the public thinks.  

 


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