OTTAWA – CPAWS welcomes today’s decision by the federal government to reject the proposed seven-storey “Mother Canada” statue in Cape Breton Highlands National Park. This is an important step in implementing the government’s election commitment to limit development in our National Parks.
“It is heartening to see our federal government demonstrate respect for the fundamental purpose of our national parks which is to protect and encourage people to experience nature,” said Éric Hébert-Daly, CPAWS National Executive Director. “After more than two years of public uproar about this ill-conceived project, there is no doubt our government made the right choice by saying no to Mother Canada. This is a good day for our parks.”
Public concern about the giant Mother Canada statue has steadily mounted: thousands of Canadians have written to the Environment Minister and Parks Canada opposing the proposal; national, provincial, and local newspapers across the country have published scathing editorials; and 28 retired senior Parks Canada officials sent an open letter to the Minister opposing the project in a national park. Local community groups like Friends of Green Cove have been at the forefront of opposition to the project, and an independent study on “Mi’kmaq use at Green Cove” raises major objections to the project.
“It is crystal clear that Canadians love their national parks and want them protected from these kinds of inappropriate developments. The rejection of this proposal to grow the private commercial footprint in Cape Breton Highlands National Park is a thoughtful and appropriate response to a broader problem of development proposals threatening our parks,” said Mr. Hébert-Daly. “Today’s decision sends an important signal from the federal government that our parks are to be protected, for the benefit of Canadians, now and for the future.”
The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) is Canada’s only nationwide charity dedicated solely to the protection of our public land and water, and ensuring our parks are managed to protect the nature within them. In the past 50+ years, we’ve played a lead role in protecting over half a million square kilometres – an area bigger than the entire Yukon Territory! Our vision is to protect at least half of our public land and water so that future generations can experience Canada’s irreplaceable wilderness.