Lewis MacKenzie supports controversial Cape Breton war monument
Cape Breton Highlands National Park also supports the construction of monument
Retired Major-General Lewis MacKenzie is backing a controversial proposed multi-storey war memorial in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park.
MacKenzie says he was interviewed during the early stages of the project to gather his opinion. He says when he saw the artist's depiction of the project, he knew he had to support it.
"It just blew me away," he said. "It was a very emotional moment. A short time later I was an ambassador for the project and I'm very happy to be able to support the project because it's unique in the world."
The proposed war memorial includes an 18-metre tall monument that depicts a woman with outstretched arms looking in the direction of the Canadian war memorial in Vimy Ridge, France.
It also includes a concrete walkway circling the statue's feet.
The memorial, which will take up just under one hectare of land in the national park, has been criticized by those who believe the installation will spoil the picturesque Green Cove.
Mackenzie says Canada only started to repatriate its war dead since 1970 and the memorial is a fitting tribute to those buried overseas.
"We have this luxury, and it is a luxury," he said." We fought most of our wars off our shore. Most countries, they are fought on their own territory as a result the casualties and those deceased are dealt with on their territory. We, on the other hand, buried the vast majority of our personnel overseas or at sea."
The Never Forgotten National Memorial Foundation, which proposed the monument, intends to raise $25 million for the project through corporate and private donations.