Petition opposing memorial to victims of Communism continues to grow
Published Friday, March 13, 2015 1:09PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, March 20, 2015 11:32PM EDT
An online petition protesting the location of a planned memorial to the victims of Communism has earned more than 1,500 signatures in the last three weeks and continues to grow.
The Move the Memorial petition was launched in late February by Kayla Carman, an anthropology student at the University of Ottawa. Her petition argues that the memorial's proposed site on land next to the Supreme Court of Canada building is "entirely inappropriate."
The memorial is meant to commemorate the 100 million people who have died under communist regimes. But the petition says the memorial "essentially demonizes (either rightly or wrongly) a particular socioeconomic system."
It says placing it next to the Supreme Court "undermines the very foundation of that institution, which is its independence and impartiality."
The federal government announced in 2012 it was donating 5,000 square-metres of land to the memorial. It then offered $1.5 million in the summer of 2013 to a private charity named Tribute to Liberty, to build the memorial.
Ottawa's mayor, Jim Watson, opposes the memorial's planned location as well. He says that not only does the memorial not fit the site, he doesn't like the planned design.
The memorial would feature a series of triangular concrete rows rising 14 metres high in some spots. Tribute to Liberty says the design is meant to evoke a “fold of memory” with over 100 million “memory squares” covering the folds, each representing an individual victim.
Watson says the stark design would "take away from the beauty" of the Supreme Court building.
"I think it is a blight on that particular site," he told CTV Ottawa in February.
Even Supreme Court Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin has weighed in, saying the concrete structure would convey a sense of bleakness in a space dedicated to the administration of justice.
The land where the monument is due to be built was set aside 100 years ago for a federal court building, as part of the judicial precinct. But in 2012, the federal government donated the land to Tribute to Liberty.
The memorial is expected to cost $4 million to build. To date, $2.6 million has been raised through private and government funding.
The National Capital Commission will be charge of the memorial's construction, due to begin in the fall.
Once completed, ownership and maintenance of the monument will be transferred to Public Works and Government Services Canada.