I am writing to express my concern about the proposed Mother Canada memorial, which is to be placed in a national park at Green Cove.
As much as I support art, even art that is controversial, my support does not go so far as to allow an endeavor of human beings to impose itself on the pristine natural beauty of a national park. We have a National Parks Act written to prevent just such an intrusion on the park.
As for the art itself, I am opposed to it per se. It has not been conceived by an artist, but by a businessman. It is concerning to me that in the conceptual phase of such a project, we’re already talking about “marketing potential”. This, in my mind, somehow detracts from the principles for which our soldiers fought, and it debases the artistic purity of the work.
One trait I like to lay claim to as a Canadian, is subtlety –a reluctance to glorify ourselves above noble ideals. In my mind, our military commitments have never been for the glory of Canada, but have been humanitarian in nature. This is one of the traits I embrace as a Canadian. I worry that the statue as it is currently envisioned is a clumsily conceived monument to vainglory.
I agree with John Greer’s analysis that as an abstraction of “Canada Bereft”, the work is conceived out of sentimentality, rather than pure sentiment. It is the latter that should inspire art, not the former. Therefore, as a work of art, Mother Canada limits itself to being a poor imitation of something unique and beautiful. It somehow cheapens Canada Bereft in my mind.
Lastly, as a monument that is placed on a Canadian shore, it (in its present design) would completely disregard the long heritage of Canada’s First Nations. It is very European in its style, and speaks only of our participation in European ventures. Its permanence as an image on Canada’s shore seems to me to cement an understanding of Canada as a descendant of, and continuing participant in European colonialism.