The Harper government has abandoned plans to erect a controversial Memorial to the Victims of Communism in the nation’s capital.
The monument, variously assailed as “cynical,” “bleak,” “brutal,” “a blight,” “an esthetic monstrosity” and “a tribute to moral obtuseness,” was to have been built on a prominent location close to the Supreme Court of Canada on historic Wellington Street.
In its place, the government has unveiled plans for another, more timely memorial, this to the victims of gluten.
The announcement came at a 3 a.m. press conference presided over by the MP for Nepean-Carleton and minister responsible for the National Capital Commission, Pierre Poilievre. Mr. Poilievre shared the stage with a bleary-eyed backup trio of Heritage Minister Shelly Glover, Public Works Minister Diane Finley and Health Minister Rona Ambrose.
“While communism was, and indeed remains, a scourge for many,” said Mr. Poilievre, “gluten is making life a living hell for a far greater number of today’s hardworking Canadian families.”
Mr. Poilievre denied reports the government’s change in direction was in any way a response to criticism from the likes of Supreme Court Justice Beverley McLachlin, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and virtually every architect, visual artist and historian in the country
“We’ve never listened to nattering elitist pointy-heads before,” said Mr. Poilievre, in response to a lone reporter’s questions. “Why would we start now?”
Opposition MPs, meanwhile, accuse the Tories of jumping on the anti-gluten bandwagon for political gain.
“Gluten? I like gluten,” said Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, outside the House of Commons.
“The Harper government has displayed their usual cynicism on the backs of the guts of middle-class Canadian families,” said NDP leader Thomas Mulcair. “They’ve realized there are only about 8 million Canadians who have—or whose families have—fled Communism, while at least three times that many are currently struggling to escape the clutches of gluten. It’s an election year. You do the math.”
Mr. Mulcair went on to accuse Mr. Harper of personal hypocrisy in the matter. “Guess who I shared a box of crullers with just last week,” he said.
The non-profit Canadian Centre for Gluten Alternatives had a more measured response.
“Certainly, we see the new memorial as a cynical ploy on Mr. Harper’s part,” said a spokesman for the centre-left think tank. “On the other hand, the energy level in our office is way up since we’ve gone gluten-free. Me, I’ve already lost 12 lbs., and I look great.”