(Ottawa) The Conservative Party in turn asks the Trudeau government to reverse its decision to “arbitrarily” grant the design of the National Monument commemorating Canada’s mission in Afghanistan to a group that had not been selected by a jury .
The Conservative Party therefore stands united with the Bloc Québécois and the NDP to demand that we respect the decision of the jury which had selected the Daoust team, made up of the artist Luca Fortin, from Quebec, of the architectural firm Daoust Lestage Lizotte Stecker, from Montreal, and Louise Arbor, former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, to carry out this project.
This selection was made following a design competition launched in 2019. However, The Press revealed last month that then-Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAuley had ruled out the jury’s choice and announced in June that another group had been selected to erect the monument – a $3 million project. In doing so, the minister flouted the rules of a competition that he himself had established.
“It is extremely concerning that despite having clear rules, your department is changing these rules at the last minute to favor another group. The precedent thus created is terrible and will have consequences on the integrity of future competitions,” asserts conservative MP Pierre Paul-Hus in a letter sent on September 5 to the new Minister of Veterans Affairs, Ginette Petitpas Taylor.
Loss of trustworthy “
“Artists and experts will lose confidence in these competitions and be deterred from participating in them in the future. Furthermore, and most importantly, this goes against the transparency and fairness that we expect from the Canadian government. (…) It is essential that the federal government reevaluates its decision to abandon the rules that it itself had established in order to maintain the seriousness and integrity of the process, of your department and, in fact, of your government,” added Mr. Paul-Hus, who is the political lieutenant in Quebec of Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre.
As if that were not enough, Minister Lawrence MacAuley, who is Minister of Agriculture, informed the group selected by the jury two hours before the official announcement, on June 19, that the Government of Canada, “after careful consideration », had decided to select the concept developed by another team. This other team is the Stimson team, which is made up of visual artist Adrian Stimson, veteran of the Armed Forces of the Siksika Nation of Alberta, the MBTW Group of landscape architects, from Toronto, and LeuWebb Projects, public art coordinator, also from the Queen City.
The Department of Veterans Affairs later justified the decision by saying that the Stimson team’s design concept best reflects feedback from veterans, their families and other participants in the Afghanistan mission, according to a survey carried out on the five finalist design projects.
But according to MP Pierre Paul-Hus, this explanation does not hold water. “The official explanation of a survey in no way invalidates the rules in force. Nor the final decision of the juries,” he argued in his letter to Minister Petitpas Taylor.
The opposition parties are not the only ones to denounce this “terrible” decision. Public art artists and experts are also very difficult to hide their anger at this “aberrant” decision by the federal government. Many artists have launched a call for mobilization to force the Trudeau government to reverse this decision.