There are many open fields in Ottawa, but one in particular is garnering an unusual amount of attention of late. It’s located on Wellington, just west of the Supreme Court, and just east of Library and Archives Canada. It’s the site where the Memorial to the Victims of Communism is set to be built.
With a budget of 5.5 million, the planned memorial will feature a serious of escalating triangular walls, which one can either walk through or view from an arched spectator deck. As written on the website, Tribute to Liberty:
“This new commemoration in the Capital will honour the more than 100 million lives lost under communist regimes, recognize the experience of over 8 million Canadians who trace their immigration story to communist countries, and serve as a place of remembrance for communities. It will also educate future generations of Canadians about the horrors of communism, as well as highlight the role that Canada has played as a place of refuge for people fleeing injustice and persecution.”
A video of the proposed design can be viewed here.
Although supported by the Conservative government as well as by numerous members of the opposition, the planned memorial is causing controversy. Earlier this month Ottawa Citizen journalist Joanne Chianello published the results of a poll conducted by EKOS research which found that of the 2,100 Canadians surveyed, “more than three quarters said they opposed or strongly opposes the proposed memorial” when asked if they “support or oppose this memorial in its current form.” The exact reasons for this opposition are not explicitly stated. Some seem to be perturbed by the very initiative to build such a monument while others seem concerned with particularities: elements of its design (size, images, etc.). Others have expressed unwavering support for the project, and seem enthused about its pending construction.
The proposed locale has been a particular point of contention. Recently, Ottawa City Council voted against the proposed location 18-6, arguing that another site (perhaps just a bit further west on Wellington) should be used instead. Because the land belongs to the NCC, and falls under federal jurisdiction, an issue has also been raised as to whether or not the Federal government needs the support and/or consultation of the municipal governing bodies.
We want to know what you think. Should the public be consulted when decisions of this sort are being made, or should these matters be handled exclusively by governing authorities? What issues arise when public opinion is taken into consideration? Are you in favour or against the building of this monument and why?