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  #281  
Old Posted Mar 6, 2015, 11:48 PM
acottawa acottawa is offline
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"Judicial Precinct" is quite the misnomer. There is one judicial building (the SCC) which has been subject to various relocation plans (one the reasons listed on another thread why the CTC couldn't go to Lebreton was the NCC wanted to put the SCC there). The "Justice Building" is a parliamentary building. The LAC building has nothing to do with justice (and in fact bears a strong resemblance to the planned HQ of the Italian Fascist Party - sort of the opposite of justice http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palazzo_della_Farnesina). There was briefly a plan to consolidate various federal courts there (all courts of limited jurisdiction that receive almost no attention from the media or public and many of the judges are ineligible for elevation to the SCC) but it was shelved by the Liberals and canned by the Tories.

I agree the planned monument is oversized (but I would say the same thing about the peacekeeping monument, the human rights monument and the firefighters monument - and I don't see anyone complaining about those) and a fairly obscure topic (but that would describe dozens of monuments around town) but the idea that this is sacred judicial ground that can't be touched is ludicrous.
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  #282  
Old Posted Mar 7, 2015, 1:12 AM
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Originally Posted by acottawa View Post
"Judicial Precinct" is quite the misnomer. There is one judicial building (the SCC) which has been subject to various relocation plans (one the reasons listed on another thread why the CTC couldn't go to Lebreton was the NCC wanted to put the SCC there). The "Justice Building" is a parliamentary building. The LAC building has nothing to do with justice (and in fact bears a strong resemblance to the planned HQ of the Italian Fascist Party - sort of the opposite of justice http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palazzo_della_Farnesina). There was briefly a plan to consolidate various federal courts there (all courts of limited jurisdiction that receive almost no attention from the media or public and many of the judges are ineligible for elevation to the SCC) but it was shelved by the Liberals and canned by the Tories.

I agree the planned monument is oversized (but I would say the same thing about the peacekeeping monument, the human rights monument and the firefighters monument - and I don't see anyone complaining about those) and a fairly obscure topic (but that would describe dozens of monuments around town) but the idea that this is sacred judicial ground that can't be touched is ludicrous.
I have never heard that before - that's absolutely shocking!
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  #283  
Old Posted Mar 7, 2015, 1:21 AM
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Originally Posted by acottawa View Post
I agree the planned monument is oversized (but I would say the same thing about the peacekeeping monument, the human rights monument and the firefighters monument - and I don't see anyone complaining about those) and a fairly obscure topic (but that would describe dozens of monuments around town) but the idea that this is sacred judicial ground that can't be touched is ludicrous.
Fair enough point.... I've lived 20 years in Ottawa and take great pride in the face Canada displays to visitors along Wellington and the surrounding tourist areas.

Whether one agrees/disagrees with the size, location and/or philosophy of Firefighters & Peacekeeping monuments, both of those represent positive contributions, and remembers with respect sacrifices made.

The problem with this "monument" is it caters to a very narrow slice of the electorate (and make no bones about this... it's pure politics given the overwhelmingly negative reaction and absolute intransigence of the proponent(s) ). This has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with making the world a better place by "remembering"... uh.. communism(?).

To be fair, lets make a monument to "Victims of Capitalism" and put it on the west lawn of Parliament. Couple of distorted bodies representing suicides due to financial ruin... statues of 80 year olds still working as their pensions have been raided by corporate interests.. laughing, self smug "leaders" because they "worked so hard" and others didn't.

As a proud citizen of Canada and of this city, this proposal does not represent me in any way, shape or form. And I don't think I'm alone.
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  #284  
Old Posted Mar 7, 2015, 3:23 AM
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A monumental controversy: History of the Memorial to Victims of Communism

Don Butler, Ottawa Citizen
Published on: March 6, 2015, Last Updated: March 6, 2015 4:00 PM EST




In the summer of 2007, Jason Kenney was touring Masaryktown, a private nine-hectare park in Scarborough owned by Toronto’s Czech and Slovak communities.

Kenney, named to cabinet as secretary of state for multiculturalism earlier that year, was walking with Pavel Vosalik, then the Czech ambassador to Canada, when the two came across a monument on the park’s grounds.

Titled Crucified Again, the monument depicts a tortured man crucified on a hammer and sickle, a stark symbol of Soviet oppression. It had been unveiled in 1989 to honour the millions who suffered or died at the hands of communist regimes throughout the world.

When Kenney saw the statue, his first thought was that it should be in a public park in Toronto where more people could see it, Vosalik recalls. The ambassador reminded Kenney that Ottawa, not Toronto, was Canada’s capital. “That’s the moment we started to talk about some place where the victims of communism could be commemorated in Ottawa,” Vosalik says.

Since that day in Masaryktown, the saga of the Memorial to the Victims of Communism has followed a winding and often secretive path en route to becoming the capital’s most contentious new landmark.

Immersed in politics from birth, the project has struggled to raise money from the eight million Canadians who proponents say can trace their lineage to communist countries. It has been assigned three different sites — two announced publicly and one emphatically not — and has provoked strong opposition to its size, design and prime location on Wellington Street. The Citizen set out to tell its story, relying on documents and interviews — both on the record and off — with people knowledgeable about the project’s history.

One of those is Zuzana Hahn, a Toronto artist of Czechoslovak heritage. Weeks after his walk through the park with Kenney, Vosalik approached Hahn to advise her of the government’s interest in commemorating victims of communism. When she expressed enthusiasm, Vosalik invited her to Ottawa to meet with Kenney and his staff.

They told her the government couldn’t “spearhead” the project, but would support the idea if there was sufficient interest in different ethnic communities. Hahn was OK with that. “I did not want this to become the pet project of the Conservative government,” she says.

In January 2008, Hahn and Josef Cermak, then president of Sokol Canada, a youth sports organization, formed a group backed by a coalition of ethnic communities to advocate for a memorial to communism’s victims. It became known as the Open Book Group, a name derived from a design Hahn had created for the memorial.

Kenney attended a meeting with Hahn’s group at the Polish Community Centre in Toronto in February 2008. “I think that was the highlight of my experience,” Hahn says. “I thought, ‘people can really pull together.'”

Along the way, Hahn recruited Charlie Coffey as her group’s honorary chair. Coffey, who had just retired as the Royal Bank’s vice-president of government affairs, is an Order of Canada recipient who had chaired the advisory council for the Canadian Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg. He is also a high-profile supporter of the Liberal party — not an asset in Stephen Harper’s Ottawa.

Coffey says Hahn was “a very well-meaning person” with great ideas for the project. “But she needed a bit of help navigating the small-p politics amongst the ethnic groups and the big-P politics in Ottawa.”

In those early months, Hahn was in regular contact with Kenney’s office, particularly with his chief of staff, Tenzin Khangsar, who emailed her the National Capital Commission‘s guidelines for commemorations and advised the group to submit its proposal. In April 2008, she presented Kenney and his staff with a formal submission to the NCC.

That summer, Kenney’s staff organized a meeting in Toronto about the memorial project, attended by a wide range of interested people, including Hahn. “The upshot of it was they said, ‘We’re going to put together a group of people who are going to lead this project forward,'” Hahn says. Kenney’s staff invited those who were interested to submit their resumés.

Hahn sent along her name and those of other supporters, but heard nothing further. She later learned that a new group, called Tribute to Liberty, had been formed that August without her knowledge. Not only that, it had already submitted a proposal to the NCC. “I thought, ‘Bloody hell!'” Hahn says. “I was really, really upset.”

Hahn scrambled her team and put together a competing proposal, which she submitted to the NCC. The agency indicated it would likely support a commemoration if the two groups merged. They agreed to work together and submitted a joint proposal in June in Tribute to Liberty’s name, with the Open Book Group listed as “founding partner.”

But it didn’t take long for the partnership to unravel. Hahn says Tribute to Liberty ignored most of her group’s suggestions. “Eventually, they started ignoring us altogether. They basically cut us out of it.”

Coffey had become Tribute to Liberty’s honorary chair after the groups merged. But he soon resigned, dismayed by the treatment of Hahn and by what he perceived as the project’s politicization. “It started out as a very non-partisan group,” he says, “and suddenly was becoming very partisan. All those involved were friendly to the governing party.”

Certainly Tribute to Liberty didn’t lack for connections to the Conservative party. Philip Leong, a Macau-born banker who was Tribute to Liberty’s founding chair and honorary patron, is a friend of Kenney and an admirer of Stephen Harper, who he calls a “great leader.” Leong ran unsuccessfully for the Canadian Alliance, one of the precursors of the current Conservative party, in the 2000 federal election.

Alide Forstmanis, who soon became Tribute to Liberty’s chair and remains its treasurer, had been president of the Latvian National Federation in Canada. She was also a longtime Conservative who ran unsuccessfully for the party nomination in Kitchener-Waterloo riding in 2007. Another early director, Wladyslaw Lizon — then president of the Canadian Polish Congress — was elected as a Tory MP in Mississauga East-Cooksville in 2011.

From Leong’s perspective, Tribute to Liberty was the best vehicle to move the memorial project forward. It included a wider diversity of ethnic groups, a more unified voice, a stronger board and was “connected to the government’s direction,” he says. “That doesn’t mean Tribute to Liberty was competing or excluding other people.”

The NCC’s board approved the general concept of a commemoration to victims of communism in September 2009. But the directors suggested modifying the title “to be more inclusive of those who have suffered under oppressive regimes in general.”

That was a non-starter for Tribute to Liberty, which wouldn’t agree to any change that would lessen the significance of the monument as a memorial to victims of communism. The NCC and Tribute to Liberty ultimately settled on calling it “A Monument to Victims of Totalitarian Communism: Canada, A Land of Refuge.” (Since then, the monument has become a memorial and “totalitarian” has vanished entirely from the title.)

The following summer, the NCC allocated a site for the memorial at the Garden of the Provinces on Wellington Street near LeBreton Flats. In Tribute to Liberty’s summer 2010 newsletter, Forstmanis waxed lyrical about the serenity and beauty of the site and its symbolic links to the Supreme Court of Canada building to the east and the Canadian War Museum to the west. Even Kenney issued a statement calling the chosen site “a fitting location.”



But not everyone was satisfied, it would seem. Some time after the NCC announcement, the memorial was shifted to a new location across from the war museum — the site now allotted for the new National Holocaust Monument, another favoured project of the Conservative government.

Exactly why that happened is unclear, but a 2009 story in the National Post suggests one possible explanation. The story quotes from a letter Stephen Harper sent to Kenney in 2008. In it, the prime minister warmly endorsed the idea of the monument and suggested that it belonged near the war museum.

Whatever the explanation, Tribute to Liberty was more than happy with the new site. It was much bigger than the Garden of the Provinces location, Forstmanis says, and it was a good fit thematically with the war museum. But the memorial’s itinerant wanderings weren’t over yet.

According to Forstmanis and other knowledgeable sources, the sponsors of the National Holocaust Monument were originally offered the Wellington Street site between the Supreme Court of Canada and Library and Archives Canada now allocated to the victims of communism memorial.

But the Holocaust memorial’s development council rejected the site, apparently because Scott Paper’s large smokestack across the Ottawa River in Gatineau was clearly visible, belching smoke, in the background. Some council members evidently felt that was an inappropriate setting for a monument to Holocaust victims.

Consequently, the government shifted the victims of communism memorial to the site near the Supreme Court in May of 2012 and transferred the Holocaust memorial to the war museum site. “We actually accommodated their wishes, and now we’re getting the flak,” says Forstmanis.

Asked about the site switch, Rabbi Daniel Friedman, chair of the Holocaust monument’s development council, said only that former cabinet minister John Baird ultimately decided where the monument should go. “It was the minister’s decision,” he said. “We were shown different options but we are a committee and the committee’s made up of multiple thoughts and ideas.”

All these machinations were happening out of public view, more than a year before any announcement that the victims of communism memorial had been allotted the Supreme Court site. Even the NCC appears to have been kept in the dark. According to a November 2013 staff report, it learned of the site change when Public Works sent the NCC a letter on March 4, 2013 requesting a land use change to allow a commemorative monument on the Judicial Precinct site.

In an email last August, a spokesman for Canadian Heritage said the Supreme Court site was selected for the victims of communism memorial “due to its close proximity and thematic links to the Supreme Court of Canada, the Peace Tower, Parliament Hill and Library and Archives Canada.”

For decades, the site had been reserved for a new justice building to complete a “judicial triad” centred on the Supreme Court, mirroring the parliamentary triad of the Centre, East and West blocks. A commemoration there had never been contemplated; the site wasn’t even on the NCC’s lengthy inventory of possible sites for future monuments and memorials.

By all accounts, the NCC was unhappy about the land-use change, but had little choice but to agree. While the National Capital Act says the NCC must approve changes to the use of public lands and new “buildings or other work” erected on them, it also says the federal cabinet can give approval if the NCC balks. Faced with that, the NCC’s directors meekly signed off on the memorial’s new site in September 2013.

The public first became aware of the memorial’s new site in August 2013, when Kenney and Chris Alexander, the minister of citizenship and immigration, announced $1.5 million in funding at the Supreme Court site. With the cost of the memorial rising steadily and Tribute to Liberty still struggling to raise money, that was quietly doubled to $3 million last year.

The federal government launched a two-phase design competition for the new memorial last March. In August, designs by six qualified proponents were reviewed by a seven-member “jury of experts” that included Ludwik Klimkowski, an Ottawa financial advisor who took over as chair of Tribute to Liberty in October 2012, and prominent conservative commentator and former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum, whose sister, Senator Linda Frum, is a major donor to the memorial project.

The Citizen asked Canadian Heritage, which assumed responsibility for commemorations from the NCC in 2013, why Frum was chosen for the jury. In an email, the department said his “wide experience and reputation” made him an appropriate choice.

Contacted by the Citizen, Frum said he couldn’t recall ever being given a reason for being invited onto any of the juries or prize committees on which he’s served. “One is simply asked, and then answers yes or no,” he said in an email. “I’ve written often on communism and its remembrance, and I suppose it was these writings that prompted the invitation.”

The government apparently departed from the past practice of allowing bureaucrats at Canadian Heritage to make jury selections. According to Canadian Heritage spokeswoman Catherine Gagnaire, the department prepared a list of potential jury members and presented it Heritage Minister Shelly Glover, who made the final selections.

Despite periodic news stories in the Citizen and other media, the memorial project was largely off the public’s radar until Barry Padolsky spoke up. Padolsky, who has run an architectural, urban design and heritage consulting practice in Ottawa since 1969, was mightily troubled by the government’s decision to toss out decades of planning and end any possibility of completing the long-intended judicial triad.

Padolsky’s open letter to Harper last September imploring the prime minister to rethink the memorial’s location attracted media coverage, but it wasn’t until the government announced the winning design in December that people really started to pay attention.

Prominent Toronto architect Shirley Blumberg had a lot to do with that. A member of the selection jury who was not impressed by the winning design from Toronto’s ABSTRAKT Studio Architecture, Blumberg went public with her concerns about the chosen site in an interview with the Citizen soon after the announcement of the winning design.

More recently, Blumberg has focused on what she called the lack of transparency in the selection of the site. “There was no public consultation about giving this site to the monument,” she says. “I think that’s the most egregious part of this whole affair. This is a democracy. It’s not a dictatorship.”

Since then, the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, the Ontario Association of Architects, the Canadian Institute of Planners, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, Ottawa Centre MP Paul Dewar and the Liberal party, among others, have piled on. Even Supreme Court Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin expressed concern last fall about the appearance of some of the competing memorial designs.

Throughout the barrage, Klimkowski has remained resolute. In a recent interview, the Tribute to Liberty chair called the controversy “wonderful. I embrace that because it really shows the democratic state of our country.”

With eight million Canadians tracing their origins to current or former communist countries, the events commemorated by the memorial are an integral part of Canada’s story, Klimkowski argues, and deserve a prominent location.

Unlike Nazi leaders, he says, no communist leaders have been prosecuted for their crimes. “The fact that (the memorial) is next to the two most important buildings is giving us that closure and that justice.”

Voytek Gorczynski, head of the winning design team, says he didn’t anticipate the controversy over the memorial. But he regards some of the criticism, such as Blumberg’s complaint that the memorial design is “visceral and brutalist,” as a compliment. “That was the idea behind it, to make it visceral.”

For Zuzana Hahn, though, the fact that the memorial has become “a hated thing” for some people is painful.

“It wasn’t meant to be like that,” she says. “It was meant to be an inspiration. It was meant to be someplace where we questioned things and were inspired by things, not this dreary thing which is completely devoted to dead people.”

“I put five years of my life into this, and so have several other inspired people,” Hahn laments, “and it just breaks my heart.”

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  #285  
Old Posted Mar 7, 2015, 3:24 AM
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Let's put the brakes on the Memorial to the Victims of Communism

Joanne Chianello, Ottawa Citizen
Published on: March 6, 2015, Last Updated: March 6, 2015 6:30 PM EST


The Memorial to the Victims of Communism is well on its way to becoming the most controversial public monument in the capital.

When major architecture and planning institutions are railing against the proposal, when most local MPs and the mayor of the city are willing to publicly denounce the project, when even the Supreme Court’s chief justice feels it necessary to express her concern over proposed designs, then you know there’s a problem.

Here’s what’s not a problem: the concept that there should be some sort of memorial to the 100 million who perished under Communist regimes. It’s natural — and justified — that survivors or family members of those victimized and enslaved under undemocratic rule would want a memorial to mark that suffering, to honour those who were felled by tyrannical regimes. That’s the point of monuments: to remember.

“Victims of Communism” is, however, a slightly vague phrase, in that it doesn’t conjure up one specific event. That imprecise definition has made it easier to hurl insults at the monument. Let’s be frank: If it was the plan for the National Holocaust Monument that was causing us such distress instead of the one honouring the victims of Communism, we’d be having a much harder time lobbing criticism at the project. Who wants to sound even remotely as if they’re against a Holocaust memorial?

The thing is, though, that the majority of people who oppose the Memorial to the Victims of Communism don’t necessarily oppose the idea of a memorial per se. But they are, in growing numbers, against its scope, design and, in particular, location near the Supreme Court of Canada — a piece of federal land that has been set aside for decades in long-term plans for federal court building.

As the Citizen’s Don Butler explains in his exhaustive and excellent piece on how the memorial ended up at its current proposed location, Minister Jason Kenney has championed this project for years. There’s nothing specifically wrong with that — and it shouldn’t be a surprise, given how the Conservatives see themselves as a “monument government” — but there are a number of troubling elements about this memorial’s journey (including the Conservative government’s increasing funding of the project).

In 2010, both the Tribute of Liberty — the group behind the monument — and Kenney were waxing poetic about a site in the Gardens of Provinces site set aside by the National Capital Commission for the memorial. Three years later, the minister for public works asked (or ordered, as the case may be) that the NCC approve a land-use change request to allow the memorial to be built near the Supreme Court.

What happened?

If, as government officials have told the Citizen, the memorial was moved from the Garden of the Provinces because the Victims of Communism wanted a more prominent location, then that’s a problem. And if the monument was moved, as some have suggested, because the prime minister thought the memorial needed a more prominent location, that’s a problem, too.

The way we plan the Parliament Hill district shouldn’t be changed at the insistence of a lobbying group, no matter how valid its aim, nor by the whim of a sitting government. This monument will put an end to long-term plans to build a judicial triad of the Supreme Court, the Justice Building and a future federal court building.

Suddenly, that federal court is out of the plans, with no public consultation and little apparent thought to what the proposed memorial would mean for Parliament Hill district. This monument is massive and somber. Is it appropriate for the district? (Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin cautioned against the potential “bleakness and brutalism” of the proposed designs.)

The current Conservative government may have no plans to build a new federal court, but a future government might decide to move ahead with the project. Why should this government block those ambitions?

And if the government of the day truly believes no one will ever build a federal court, that we need a new long-term vision for our judicial district, then it must launch a proper process involving the public about how that land should be used.

It would be a mistake to build the Memorial to the Victims of Communism as conceived, in the spot where it’s been announced. With vocal criticism mounting by the day, the memorial will be resented by too many citizens. And that’s definitely not the point of a monument.

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  #286  
Old Posted Mar 7, 2015, 3:32 AM
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A memorial's escalating cost

Don Butler, Ottawa Citizen
Published on: March 6, 2015, Last Updated: March 6, 2015 3:21 PM EST


Since Tribute to Liberty was formed in 2008 to advocate and raise money for a memorial to victims of communism, the project’s price tag has nearly quadrupled and the contribution from taxpayers has risen sharply.

Originally estimated at $1.5 million — with the full cost borne by private donors — the memorial’s price tag has ballooned to $5.5 million, with $3 million of that coming from the federal government. Then there’s the value of its choice site on Wellington Street, which is worth between $16 million and $30 million, according to real estate brokers and developers consulted by architect Barry Padolsky, a leading project opponent.

Even the $5.5-million figure is in flux. In December, Heritage Minister Shelley Glover called the cost approximate. “As we move forward, we’ll have a more final number,” she said.

Toronto architect Shirley Blumberg, a member of the design competition jury who also opposes the chosen site, has said there’s “no way” the memorial can be built for $5.5 million. Because of the cutting-edge technologies incorporated into the memorial, she estimated the actual cost will be at least two to three times the current estimate.

In a recent interview, Voytek Gorczynski, head of ABSTRAKT Studio Architecture, which won the design competition for the memorial, said his team was “in the process of putting together the cost estimate. We’re trying to make it as economically as possible. And we’re slowly getting to our number.”

Tribute to Liberty first disclosed it had applied for funding from the Department of Canadian Heritage in its Fall 2011 newsletter. By that point, it had been actively fundraising for two years, but had just $9,574 in assets, according to Revenue Canada filings.

In August 2013, the federal government announced $1.5 million in funding for the memorial project. Tribute to Liberty then had $295,163 in total assets, though Ludwik Klimkowski, who became chair of the charity in October 2012, told the Citizen at the time he’d raised about $1 million since taking over as chair.

When the federal government launched the design competition for the memorial on April 1, 2014, its Request for Qualifications document said the “total, all-inclusive budget” for the project, including taxes, was $1.95 million. But two weeks later, the Department of Canadian Heritage issued an amendment raising that to $3.15 million. It’s now $5.5 million and counting.

Last August, the Citizen reported that the federal contribution had risen to $3 million. The government made no announcement of the increase, however. It only came to light when Klimkowski told the Citizen that the government had “restructured” its contribution. To that point, the charity had raised $2 million, Klimkowski said at the time.

But Revenue Canada records show total assets of just $573,285 as of July 31, 2014. Tribute to Liberty’s filings with the CRA show it had revenues of $884,978 between early 2010, when it obtained charitable status, and the fiscal year ending last July 31. During the same period, it declared expenses of $318,477.

Asked for a fundraising update last month, Klimkowski said the charity had raised $1.5 million “including outstanding pledges.” He couldn’t say what the fundraising goal now is. “The goal is changing, so I cannot define it.”

The charity’s struggles to raise money, coupled with the escalating cost of the memorial, raise questions about what will happen if there’s a funding shortfall. In December, Glover suggested the government would not contribute more than $3 million. The two departments providing the funding — Canadian Heritage and Citizenship and Immigration — reiterated that in emails late last month.

Meanwhile, construction of the memorial is slated to begin this year, with official inauguration of the main monument elements by fall.

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  #287  
Old Posted Mar 7, 2015, 3:34 AM
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I have never heard that before - that's absolutely shocking!
That is Bruce Firestone's story anyway (sorry, this is a secondary link)
http://ottawastart.blogspot.ca/2009/...-place-is.html
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Old Posted Mar 7, 2015, 3:38 AM
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A tale of two monuments: Washington vs. Ottawa

Don Butler, Ottawa Citizen
Published on: March 6, 2015, Last Updated: March 6, 2015 3:23 PM EST



Washington, UNITED STATES: The Victims of Communism Memorial in Washington, DC, a replica of the Goddess of Democracy statue erected
by protesters in Tiananmen Square in 1989, is shown during the memorial's dedication 12 June 2007. THe memorial recognizes those who have
died under communism since Russia's Bolshevik Revolution in 1917.


The contrast could hardly be more striking.

The Victims of Communism Memorial in Washington D.C. is a three-metre-tall bronze statue on a tiny 214-square-metre wedge of land between New Jersey and Massachusetts avenues, a few blocks from Capitol Hill. The proposed Memorial to the Victims of Communism in Ottawa is expected to fill about half of its sprawling 5,374-square-metre site on Wellington Street just west of Parliament Hill.

The memorial in Washington cost a little over $1 million U.S. Apart from the land, provided at no charge by the U.S. Parks Service, its proponents received no support from American taxpayers. The current cost estimate for the Ottawa memorial is $5.5 million, with the federal government supplying $3 million plus land valued at between $16 million and $30 million.

U.S. legislators unanimously approved legislation authorizing the creation of a foundation dedicated to remembering the victims of a “communist holocaust” in 1993, but fully 14 years elapsed until the modest memorial was completed in 2007. By the time the much more ambitious memorial in Ottawa is inaugurated this fall, just half as much time will have passed since cabinet minister Jason Kenney first publicly endorsed the idea.

Ludwik Klimkowski, who chairs Tribute to Liberty, the charity formed to raise money for the Ottawa memorial, says it’s “really difficult for me to speculate why the memorial in Washington is as small as it is.” But, he adds, “I’m delighted that in Canada, we do recognize the victims of communism — our neighbours, our friends and colleagues from work — in such a meaningful way.”

Marion Smith, executive director of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation in Washington, thinks it’s “very appropriate and fitting” that Ottawa’s memorial will be in a prominent location. “I think that’s wonderful, because it does give due place to the victims of the deadliest ideology in human history.”

Unlike Ottawa’s memorial, which focuses on the 100 million people who lost their lives to communist regimes worldwide, the memorial in Washington was designed to be uplifting. It’s a bronze replica of the papier maché Goddess of Democracy statue erected by student protesters in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989. “It made a point that the ideas of freedom and liberty are universal,” says Smith.

Today, the memorial in Washington has become a place of pilgrimage — “all the more remarkable because of the modesty of the site,” Smith says.

Smith’s foundation has larger ambitions. It has begun raising money to build a museum on communism in Washington. Smith expects the foundation to do “something quite significant” — perhaps a groundbreaking ceremony — by the centennial of the Bolshevik revolution in 2017.


Not surprisingly, several memorials to communism’s victims have been erected in the former communist states of Eastern Europe. Here are a few notable examples:

Prague’s Memorial to the Victims of Communism

Unveiled in 2002, the memorial shows seven bronze figures descending a flight of stairs, some with missing limbs or fractured torsos. The monument is meant to symbolize how political prisoners were treated by communism. “At night, with the lights on it, it’s really quite haunting and arresting,” says Smith.


Prague’s Memorial to the Victims of Communism.

The House of Terror Museum in Budapest

Opened in 2002 in a building where the Nazi and Soviet secret police had their headquarters and jailed or executed opponents, the House of Terror has become a memorial to the victims of those regimes. Displayed around the entire exterior of the building are the names and photographs of victims who were incarcerated or killed in the building.


The House of Terror Museum in Budapest.

The memorial in Sighetu Marmaţiei, Romania

The Memorial of the Victims of Communism and of the Resistance — which bills itself as the world’s first memorial to communism’s victims — consists of the Sighet Museum and the International Centre for Studies into Communism. The museum occupies the former Sighet prison, with the cells transformed into rooms presenting a chronology of Romanian communism. Inside the former prison’s courtyard is a statuary group titled Cortege of the Sacrificial Victims, depicting 18 walled-in human figures.


The memorial in Sighetu Marmaţiei, Romania.

Mask of Sorrow

Perched on a hill above Magadan, Russia, the Mask of Sorrow commemorates prisoners who suffered and died in Gulag prison camps in Stalinist times. Unveiled in 1996, it shows a large concrete face with tears streaming from its left eye and its right eye depicted as a barred window. Inside is a replica of a typical Stalinist-era prison cell.


Mask of Sorrow

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  #289  
Old Posted Mar 7, 2015, 3:57 AM
acottawa acottawa is offline
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The problem with this "monument" is it caters to a very narrow slice of the electorate (and make no bones about this... it's pure politics given the overwhelmingly negative reaction and absolute intransigence of the proponent(s) ). This has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with making the world a better place by "remembering"... uh.. communism(?).
Ok, but the criteria of "caters to a very narrow slice of the electorate" also applies to:

The various monuments to specific ethnic groups all over town (Hungarians, Chinese, Italians, Irish, First Nations)
The monument to dead military attaches on Island Park
The monument to animals killed in war
The various occupation-specific monuments (firefighters, police, tradespeople, aid workers)
The navy monument
The various battle-specific monuments

Personally, I would like to see the federal government out of the monuments business. If a group wants to build a monument, they should buy a piece of land, build the monument, and set up a trust fund to maintain it, or get some other agency (an NGO, Embassy, municipality, religious institution, etc) to host it on land they already own.
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  #290  
Old Posted Mar 7, 2015, 4:41 AM
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"Judicial Precinct" is quite the misnomer.
There isn't an intention for a precinct, simply a symbolic "Judicial Triad", a grouping of three buildings centred on the Supreme Court to echo the triad of buildings on Parliament Hill. This has been in the plans in one form or another for a hundred years. It is not as specific to the use of the buildings but rather a design massing the arrangements on two promontories on that escarpment.
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  #291  
Old Posted Mar 7, 2015, 9:35 AM
Temperance Temperance is offline
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I think that there is a good reason for our government to be involved in the creation of monuments as an act of remembrance and memorialisation of events important to Canada. Having said this, it really needs to be something almost all Canadians feel they can get behind and this monument is not it - both in terms of its thematic focus and choice of site.

The judicial triad would add symmetry, function, as well as a symbolically important site representing the importance of justice in Canada. Moreover, the consolidation of the various federal courts is long overdue in terms of efficiency and effectiveness.

It's time to pull the plug on this monument indeed. I believe they might consider not only moving the monument (preferably off of Wellington street altogether) but also renaming it to more accurately reflect the suffering it seeks to commemorate. This monument has everything to do with the Harper government's ideological stridency and divisive politics and nothing to do with actual commemoration or memorialisation of events important to Canadians.
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  #292  
Old Posted Mar 7, 2015, 12:10 PM
danishh danishh is offline
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perhaps the important thing is that the canadian government should be involved in ottawa monuments that have significance to the history of Canada.

Would it be appropriate to have a monument on the hill to the victims of the crusades? What about the victims of the spanish inquisition? The victims of the Irish war of independence? The American war of independence? What about the American civil war? The Mexican-American war? The Indian Independence Movement?

Memorialising the wars of immigrants and their ancestors means de-canadianianizing our civil society. Canada should be about Canada, not the struggles of foreigners.
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  #293  
Old Posted Mar 7, 2015, 6:03 PM
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These questions came up a few pages back, and it doesn't sound like anyone other than our illustrious overlord has final say on this.

Does ANYONE outside of the PMO/NCC (one in the same in this case) have ANY power to do ANYTHING at all about this??
What about the GG or the Queen? Maybe they can do something useful for once.
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  #294  
Old Posted Mar 7, 2015, 6:16 PM
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Ok, but the criteria of "caters to a very narrow slice of the electorate" also applies to:

The various monuments to specific ethnic groups all over town (Hungarians, Chinese, Italians, Irish, First Nations)
The monument to dead military attaches on Island Park
The monument to animals killed in war
The various occupation-specific monuments (firefighters, police, tradespeople, aid workers)
The navy monument
The various battle-specific monuments

Personally, I would like to see the federal government out of the monuments business. If a group wants to build a monument, they should buy a piece of land, build the monument, and set up a trust fund to maintain it, or get some other agency (an NGO, Embassy, municipality, religious institution, etc) to host it on land they already own.
Ya, but in most cases, these aren't giant, multi-million dollar monuments and none of them sit on a 30 million dollar piece of land on Parliament Hill.
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  #295  
Old Posted Mar 7, 2015, 7:12 PM
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In one of the Butler articles, it was mentioned, almost in passing, that for a short period the Holocaust monument was slated to go in the same spot that the Communism memorial is now slated to be built.

Anyone have any idea how that happened? That would seem, at least in part, to be what opened the door on all this.
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  #296  
Old Posted Mar 7, 2015, 7:57 PM
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I find it interesting that the Holocaust Memorial is more than half funded privately and was fully funded by the time the announcement came it was going to be built and the design that was selected IS the design being built. Whereas this monument is more than 2/3s funded by the taxpayers, the Tribute to Liberty still has a shit tonne more funds to raise and the selected design is being reworked... so wont be what the Feds chose. Plus, there isnt even a cost associated with the construction yet.

So, apart from the construction and material costs, the property is 16-30 million for this monument, to be provided for free. The Holocaust memorials property is probably less than half, also likely provided for free, but also much less valuable in relation to the people of Canada and our institutions.

And the reference to the Holocaust memorial going into the SCC lot is probably due to a 30 second proposal that gained no steam. Since there was no steam, there was no backlash. The Rabbi had it right, the smokestacks from Scott Paper would remind people of something else...

I also am intrigued that the original name included Totalitarian... Something that is sorely missing from the current name, which makes for a miss leading situation.
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Old Posted Mar 8, 2015, 2:06 PM
acottawa acottawa is offline
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There isn't an intention for a precinct, simply a symbolic "Judicial Triad", a grouping of three buildings centred on the Supreme Court to echo the triad of buildings on Parliament Hill. This has been in the plans in one form or another for a hundred years. It is not as specific to the use of the buildings but rather a design massing the arrangements on two promontories on that escarpment.
The plan from 100 years ago (the Bennett Plan) proposed a courtyard surrounded by buildings for that site.
https://qshare.queensu.ca/Users01/go.../drawing14.htm

If a symmetrical triad on the site is important, it is certainly a recent innovation. In the 30s the government built the SCC and Justice building in different architectural styles out of different materials. From the 40s to the 90s, no government put any priority in completing the triad (despite building dozens of government buildings all over the capital). And even when somebody wanted to build something there in the early 00s, the design of the PET courthouse had a weird tower thing that messed up the symmetry of the site, and was much larger than the justice building.
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  #298  
Old Posted Mar 8, 2015, 4:04 PM
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Originally Posted by acottawa View Post
The plan from 100 years ago (the Bennett Plan) proposed a courtyard surrounded by buildings for that site.
https://qshare.queensu.ca/Users01/go.../drawing14.htm

If a symmetrical triad on the site is important, it is certainly a recent innovation. In the 30s the government built the SCC and Justice building in different architectural styles out of different materials. From the 40s to the 90s, no government put any priority in completing the triad (despite building dozens of government buildings all over the capital). And even when somebody wanted to build something there in the early 00s, the design of the PET courthouse had a weird tower thing that messed up the symmetry of the site, and was much larger than the justice building.
The P.E.T. Building is due for a redesign, but I find that it respects the area in terms of scale and "symmetry" of the site.




http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/colline...-jdcl-eng.html
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  #299  
Old Posted Mar 8, 2015, 4:58 PM
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Originally Posted by acottawa View Post
The plan from 100 years ago (the Bennett Plan) proposed a courtyard surrounded by buildings for that site.
https://qshare.queensu.ca/Users01/go.../drawing14.htm

If a symmetrical triad on the site is important, it is certainly a recent innovation. In the 30s the government built the SCC and Justice building in different architectural styles out of different materials. From the 40s to the 90s, no government put any priority in completing the triad (despite building dozens of government buildings all over the capital). And even when somebody wanted to build something there in the early 00s, the design of the PET courthouse had a weird tower thing that messed up the symmetry of the site, and was much larger than the justice building.
Strict symmetry was never the intent, more of the concept of balance, and intersecting sight lines that actually meet asymmetrically. In fact, that plan from 1915 does show how a "triadic" arrangement would look on the Supreme Court promontory. It also shows an inner east-west axis, which has evolved into Vittoria street, a mall-like arrangement that is now roughly centred on the Mackenzie tower (the second tallest tower on Parliament Hill, on the west side of the West Block. The weird tower thing on the ill fated design of the PET building was to be at the opposite end of this axis.

The Capital core wasn't meant to be all in one architectural style, nor declared "finished" at any one time. It is supposed to be a generational endeavour, with enough room in the canvas for future generations to make their mark. If some are irked by the over abundance of useless green space, don't worry, it will be filled if you are optimistic about Canada lasting for hundreds more years. It just isn't the job of the current generation to fill it all up.

Legacy-building should be an exercise of stewardship of what past generations have left us, and also a show of respect to future generations by leaving them something worth taking care of that says something meaningful about our time. Now, does this generation want to say something profound and hopeful that defines who we are now; or regurgitate atrocities foreigners did in the past elsewhere outside Canada and pick at those scabs so the scars never go away?
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  #300  
Old Posted Mar 8, 2015, 7:53 PM
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perhaps the important thing is that the canadian government should be involved in ottawa monuments that have significance to the history of Canada.

Would it be appropriate to have a monument on the hill to the victims of the crusades? What about the victims of the spanish inquisition? The victims of the Irish war of independence? The American war of independence? What about the American civil war? The Mexican-American war? The Indian Independence Movement?

Memorialising the wars of immigrants and their ancestors means de-canadianianizing our civil society. Canada should be about Canada, not the struggles of foreigners.
So immigrants and their descendants are foreigners?
I don't understand the vitriol directed here against this project. The site might be a bit excessive, but it is certainly relevant to the history of Canada and many Canadians.
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