Parks Canada defends Mother Canada project $100K grant
Eddie Kennedy of Parks Canada says grant doesn't spoil service's impartiality or good record
Parks Canada is defending the $100,000 grant paid to the private company leading the Mother Canada project, and says it can remain impartial through the review process.
Yesterday, Friends of Green Cove revealed Parks Canada had used public money to help fund the 24-metre statue planned for the Highlands National Park, despite previous statements the project would be funded only through private means.
Eddie Kennedy, the project's manager for Parks Canada, has said an objective assessment of the memorial can still be performed before the project is approved.
"Parks Canada has a very good record," Kennedy said.
"Although we support the intent of a memorial being built, it still has to meet all the regulatory requirements. So, if the project at the end of the day cannot mean the regulatory requirements, it wouldn't be going forward."
Back and forth
The planned project will cost an estimated $25 million, and is being backed by a private group, the Never Forgotten National Memorial Foundation.
Kennedy said the fiscal responsibility still falls entirely with the foundation.
"The project, in its entirety — the main cost of the project, that being the construction and ongoing maintenance — will still be the responsibility of the proponent," he said.
"There would be no Parks Canada or government money going into either."
Friends of Green Cove, a coalition opposing the project, now wants an independent review of the plans.
But despite this, some local residents are still voicing their support of the project. Even tourists are weighing in on the controversy.
"Because of [the soldiers], we do have national parks," said New Brunswick tourist Jean Marc Clement. "They fight for the country and everything, so, why not do it for them? I agreed with it."
"I have pros and cons about it," said Rushdie Dupuy, from Louisiana. "The con that it will take away from the nature beauty what we see out here right now. The pros would be it would be a great honour to the servicemen that lost their lives."
Controversy around the memorial continues, as Green Cove isn't located within the Highland National Park's protected zone.
If the project meets all the regulatory requirements and is approved, Parks Canada says the memorial wouldn't be built until 2017 at the earliest.