Minister of Canadian Heritage Melanie Joly announces the momument for the victims of communisim will start over with a new location and selection process Thursday, December 17, 2015 in Ottawa.

Minister of Canadian Heritage Melanie Joly announces the momument for the victims of communisim will start over with a new location and selection process Thursday, December 17, 2015 in Ottawa.
Photo Credit: PC / Adrian Wyld

Liberals want to move monument to victims of communism

The Liberal government is moving ahead with a controversial monument to victims of communism in Ottawa but wants to redesign it and move it farther west of Parliament Hill.

Speaking at a press conference in Ottawa Thursday morning, Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly said she’d like to see the monument moved back to the originally planned site at the Garden of the Provinces and Territories, farther west of Parliament Hill.

Joly said the government will also be launching from scratch a new competition for a winning design of the monument, pledging an “open and transparent” process in jury selection for the competition. Joly said the public will be consulted about the new design. She promised to release the details of public consultations in early 2016.

“The process of this monument was too political, too divisive, and ultimately far from its goal of remembering the horror of victims of communism,” Joly said, adding that the monument was supposed to elicit a sense of “empathy” for the victims of communism, “not shrouded in controversy.”

“Eight million Canadians can trace their origins to countries were there were totalitarian, communist regimes,” Joly told CBC television program Power and Politics. “So that’s why the idea was good but the process was flawed.”

 The winning design for the National Memorial to Victims of Communism. The Liberal government scrapped it Thursday, saying it will launch a new competition.
The winning design for the National Memorial to Victims of Communism. The Liberal government scrapped it Thursday, saying it will launch a new competition. © (Tribute to Liberty)

The monument championed by the previous Conservative government had also attracted controversy in part because of the planned location next to the Supreme Court of Canada building on Wellington Street — land that was reserved for a new Federal Court building.

The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC), which had opposed the previous design and location of the monument, said it was “relieved at today’s announcement.”

“It is good news that the Government of Canada has chosen to respect the Long Term Vision and Plan (LTVP) for the Parliamentary and Judicial Precincts,” said RAIC President-elect Allan Teramura.

He noted that the plan had been developed over the past 100 years by some of Canada’s finest architects, urban designers, and landscape architects.

Joly said Thursday the government’s financial contribution to the monument will be capped at $1.5 million.

Tribute to Liberty non-profit organization, which is spearheading the monument project, will match the government’s contribution, said the organization’s chair Ludwik Klimkowski.

“I am really smitten with the fact that Madam Joly is so open and so transparent that we were able to talk at length as to what needs to be accomplished,” Klimkowski told RCI.

“We are committed to the matching of funds from the federal government and I have no hesitation in saying we will meet our commitment .”

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5 comments on “Liberals want to move monument to victims of communism
  1. Avatar David Mayerovitch says:

    Has anybody noticed that this massive and brutal winning design for a monument to the victims of communism looks so entirely Stalinist?

  2. Avatar Tom Barrett says:

    Forget moving it. Don’t build it. I have no problem with the memorial in Edmonton to the millions of people who lost their lives in the Ukraine thanks to the policies of the USSR, but a general momument to victims of communism ignores the many victims of western colonial capitalism in Africa, Asia and South America, for example. If we equate Russia or the USSR with communism and the USA and western Europe with capitalism it is likely that the latter killed even more and caused more suffering. Forget the ideology and focus on governing.

  3. Avatar David says:

    This whole concept of ‘victims of communism’ is absolutely absurd. Trying to vilify communism by equating it with tyranny is called a straw man argument. “Look at all these people who immigrated to Canada because of communism”, they will say. Er… well, no… They were escaping tyranny actually.

    Conversely, there are lots of communist governments where tyranny is not at all prevalent. In Kerala for example, the communist party there is democratically elected into office every few years – nothing tyrannical about it. The majority simply chose and prefer this system of government.

    Why not have a memorial dedicated to the victims of capitalism? Capitalism inarguably spawned the American military industrial complex. Lots more victims to commemorate if we build one for capitalism too.

    Absolute rubbish!

    David in Vancouver

    • Avatar Inna says:

      You are downplaying the atrocities of the deadliest ideology of XX century (with 100 million victims), which continues its oppression and human rights abuse today. Take examples of North Korea or China. I am wondering why do you avoid it and how you can make such a bogus statement: “there are lots of communist governments where tyranny is not at all prevalent.”

      Your Kerala example is a lie. Since when Kerala became an independent state run by the Communist regime? Kerala is as Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka,or Telangana are part of India and today this state is run by the United Democratic Front not the communists. I am very concerned people are spreading misinformation about this topic

      Communist regimes were ALL about oppression, tyranny and mass murder.

      I invite you to read my article on this matter: