Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Harperland Part 3

As I stated in a previous post, there are many aspects of life in Ottawa that have been painted by Harper's brush. The former Ottawa River Parkway is one example. I grew up about a block from that river and I remember when the houses closer to the river were expropriated and the scenic driveway was created. It was in the early sixties I think. That four lane parkway is just one little piece of Ottawa's complicated jurisdiction. Unlike other cities, decisions in Ottawa are often complicated by the fact that this is the capital city. There is a lot of land that is federally owned. Relationships between the feds and municipal politicians are not always friendly. Anyhow the Ottawa River Parkway is maintained by the National Capital Commission, a federal Crown corporation.

Since its creation, it was known as the Ottawa River Parkway, probably because it runs along....the Ottawa River. It ends as Wellington Street starts, with The Canadian War Museum, the Supreme Court Building, Parliament Hill ...the whole nine yards. For maybe fifty years it was the Ottawa River Parkway but no more. In August of 2012, Minister John Baird, the minister responsible for the National Capital Commission, renamed the route as the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway. Earlier in that same year the former Bank of Montreal Building on Wellington Street was also renamed..the Sir John A. Macdonald Building.

I am not arguing about the importance of Canada's first Prime Minister. I'm just saying that with Harper, you're far more likely to have a building or roadway named after you, if you happen to be a Conservative.

As with the summer Mosaika film on Parliament Hill, Harper loves to insert a little military history whenever he has a chance, even if it is temporary, like in an ice sculpture.

For years, Winterlude and Ottawa's Canada Day festivities were organized and run by the National Capital Commission. However, the March 2013 federal budget stripped the NCC of its responsibilities for those two major Ottawa events. Now the federal Department of Canadian Heritage has that role.  This is all leading up to 2017, the celebration of Canada's 150th anniversary of Confederation. That federal department will have total control of that major event.

Anyhow, back to this year's Winterlude, the first one run by the Heritage Department. While admiring the ice sculptures we certainly noticed this one, set part from the others in a prominent location near the front of Confederation Park.

It is a train scene. There are soldiers on board the train, leaning out to wave goodbye to folks on the platform. It was an impressive sculpture. It is to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One.

Again, I am not saying that this was not a significant event. I'm just saying that when you go to Winterlude, to look at the sculptures and listen to music and eat a Beavertail, you are not necessarily thinking that this year just happens to be that anniversary. Unless you're Stephen Harper.

We can only imagine what they are cooking up for this year's Canada Day!

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