Victims of communism monument should be relocated, Liberal MPs say

Three Liberal MPs want the planned site for a victims of communism monument changed, joining a growing list of opponents to the downtown Ottawa site.

At a press conference Thursday morning, Liberal heritage critic Stéphane Dion and two Ottawa MPs, Mauril Bélanger and David McGuinty, said while the Liberal caucus supports the monument, they don't believe it should be built on a large vacant site just west of Parliament Hill on Wellington Street.

"There is no doubt that we support the idea of the monument," said Dion. "We have a moral duty to remember these atrocities … Canada immensely benefited from all these people that were getting out of these horrible regimes, and came in Canada and made our country much stronger."

In November, the National Capital Commission approved the construction on the site near the Supreme Court of Canada and Justice buildings.

Architects have criticized the site as an obstacle to the possibility of a judicial triad to complement other buildings along Wellington, including Parliament Hill. Dion echoed those statements on Thursday, saying the proposed monument site would be ideal for a new Federal Court building.

McGuinty said the government's lack of consultation before announcing the site was "disrespectful." He compared it to the government's move to rename the Ottawa River Parkway and the "knee-jerk" reaction to fund the renovation of the "decrepit" Canada Science and Technology Museum, rather than consider a new site.

Canadian Heritage Minister responds to criticism

Minister of Canadian Heritage Shelly Glover issued a statement in response to the Liberal trio.

"Liberal leader Justin Trudeau knew where the memorial site was when he sent his support letter for the project," the statement said.

"The Liberals are now effectively telling the eight million Canadians that trace their origins to countries affected by the scourge of communism that they do not deserve a prominent site for their place of collective memory."

The federal government has donated the land between the Supreme Court and Library and Archives Canada for the monument.

Paul Dewar, Ottawa mayor also critics

The winning design features six rising, concrete slabs covered with millions of "memory squares" to commemorate lives lost under various communist regimes.

The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada suggested the Garden of the Provinces and Territories on Wellington Street would be better suited for the monument.

NDP MP Paul Dewar, whose Ottawa riding includes Wellington Street, said he has asked Minister of Public Works and Government Services Diane Finley to reconsider the monument's location.

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson also added his voice to the chorus of detractors earlier this month, saying the city was not consulted.