Food - For -Thought 

Section 1: Nikita Lopoukhine’s Insidious Duplicity

Section 2: Howard's Hypocrisy

Section 3: Geology Controversy

Section 4: Newspaper Notes

Section 1: Nikita Lopoukhine’s Insidious Duplicity

In 2000, Nikita Lopoukhine became Director General of Parks Canada. He favoured a “back to nature philosophy" which brought poor results in some areas. The Maligne Lake Southern Woods Caribou herd shrunk from 60 to 4 animals during his tenure. In the Cape Breton Highlands, full time staff positions disappeared and some became seasonal; as a result, only 30% of the built assets were considered to be in "good” condition during the 2010 audit. Trails deteriorated to such an extent that visitors spent more time looking down than at the vistas and wildlife. Visitor numbers dropped from 390,000 per year to 180,000 when he left in 2012.

He then joined a lobby group, CPAWS, and co-authored two letters to the former Environment Minister. In April of 2014, he objected to an overnight accommodation proposal for the Maligne Lake area - his main objection - it would threaten extinction of the caribou herd that he had so ”wonderfully”  protected. His second letter (June 4, 2015) dealt with the Never Forgotten National Memorial. It has been established that Mr. Lopoukhine was less than truthful regarding Green Cove’s Wilderness Designation and against C.B.Highlands Park policy. He wanted to use those issues to establish precedents against any new Park development.

Parks Canada was greatly worried about the declining visitation in the C.B. Highlands. When Tony Trigiani came forward with a proposal to honour our fallen veterans, they moved to approve the project as it would increase Park use. In 2011 the Canadian Government gave the go ahead regarding the proposal to honour the more than 114,000 fallen Canadians who never returned home. In addition to the Environment Minister, the NFNM had the support of the Veterans Affairs and National Defense Ministers.

Four years of planning and cooperation ensued; drilling was completed in the Fall of 2014; the Stantec Detailed Impact Analysis (DIA)and the Mi’kmaq Ecological Knowledge Study (MEKS) Report were presented and accepted; public consultations resulted in revisions of the original concept and everything was a go. And then, a change in government.

Without consulting with the Never Forgotten National Memorial Foundation and not responding to suggested changes delivered to Parks Canada on Feb. 4, 2016, the Environment Minister, on Feb. 5, 2016, announced her rash decision. It gets more curious, Mr. Lopoukhine had endorsed the Environment Minister’s candidacy in Ottawa Centre. Could this have compromised her impartiality? Is this an example of pay back?  Or, is this a coincidence?

~Ray Stapleton

Read More: Lake Maligne Controversy ---(Commercial tourist operation in Jasper National Park)

"Parks Canada can consider new developments in national parks even if they go against management plans, the Federal Court has ruled."

Section 2: Howard's Hypocrisy

During a press conference at Cape Breton University (CBU), 2 non-Canadian professors, Sean Howard and Lee-Anne Broadhead, presented the Friends of Green Cove (FOGC) as a local group which was against the NFNM. They gave 3 main reasons for their objections: It was against Parks policy, it was pristine wilderness area and was a rare, unique package of rocks.

When these points were proven to be false, they continued their charade by requesting fellow CBU assistant professor and ethno botanist, Tuma Young to do a study of the Green Cove area. In a Cape Breton Post article, on July 9, 2015, Howard was effusive in his praise for...”Tuma’s remarkable study-a work of power, beauty and integrity"...which...”has been shared with Membertou Geomatics :.. and” will supplement, complement, and strengthen...the Mi’kmaq Ecological Knowledge Study (MEKS)”. When he discovered the MEKS Report was benign, Charlie Gillis reported in MacLean’s magazine on Nov 13, 2015 that “Howard put little stock in a recent environmental assessment in the hands of Parks Canada, or in ongoing consultations (MEKS Report) with First Nations.

FYI: On June 1-2 of 2015, both Howard and Broadhead reported that they did not want the NFNM built anywhere.

FYI: Only 5 or 6 of the FOGC group actually live North of Smokey. They are not a local group.

Section 3: Geology Controversy

Learn More: 

GEOLOG: Sandra Barr, April 3, 2014

GEOLOG's Articles:Ray Stapleton & Sandra Barr

Ray Stapleton's unpublished letter to Alwynne Beaudoin: Editor of GEOLOG Magazine

A rejection letter from GEOLOG to Ray Stapleton

A cover letter to The Hon Catherine McKenna & Hon Melanie Joly

Acadia geologist, Dr. Sandra Barr, presented an appeal to Atlantic Canadian Geologists to speak against and reject the proposal for the Never Forgotten National Memorial (NFNM) at Green Cove. Ray Stapleton sought publication of a rebuttal which was granted-BUT- before publishing Ray’s article, GEOLOG sent it to Dr. Barr for a rebuttal. Ray then requested an opportunity to reply to Dr. Barr’s rebuttal; he sent his article which GEOLOG refused to publish.

Section 4: Newspaper Notes

National Observer: Charles Mandel, Dec 4, 2015

“Parks Canada was ‘authorized by the Government of Canada’ in Nov 2013 to ‘collaborate’ with the Foundation (NFNM). A letter from then Parks Canada CEO, Allan Latourelle, to Trigiani said the federal agency was authorized to allow the Foundation the use of land at Green Cove for the construction of the Memorial.”


Globe & Mail: Roy McGregor, 2015

Parks Canada CEO, Alan Latourelle, said “Parks Canada is honoured to be involved in the NFNM project and looks forward to working with the Foundation on this meaningful exceptionally striking and appropriate addition to the CBH National park.”


Parks Canada Agency-CEO's Message: 2015

Recently appointed, Parks Canada CEO, Daniel Watson, has this to say in his message to Canadians. “We are the storytellers...We are also endeavouring to present the rich tradition of our partners, aboriginal peoples and ethnocultural communities, as well as the accomplishments of the many Canadians who shaped our country.”


The Ottawa Citizen: Mark Kennedy, "Trudeau Turns to Two Key Aids for Senior Roles", Oct 27, 2015

In the article, Gerald Butts, chief advisor to the PM, while referring to Ottawa had this to say. “This is a business that is dominated by people who make quick, and in my view rash decisions.”            

Note: Environment Minister, Catherine McKenna’s decision on Green Cove was such a decision.


The Chronicle Herald: Thomas Mulcair,  Sept 21, 2015

Thomas Mulcair, leader of the NDP had this to say regarding the NFNM...“I do think the local community has to be listened to carefully on this one (Mother Canada).”

Note: Minister McKenna, at no time, contacted the local community, North of Smokey, before her decision was made.

The Herald News: Premier Stephen McNeil,  Sept 30, 2015

Premier McNeil says, “ reference to the proposed Mother Canada Memorial, it is a matter for the community surrounding Green Cove in Cape Breton and the Federal Government to deal with.”

Note: Minister McKenna has had no contact with the local community regarding the NFNM despite the fact that she was sent copious amounts of information on this issue including petitions, postcards, letters of support, etc.


The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) Press Release: Feb 5, 2016

On Feb 5, 2016, CPAWS’ National Executive Director, Eric Hebert-Daily, in his press release congratulated the Federal Government -NOT Parks Canada- for its decision to reject the lease for Green Cove. In his note, he repeats the falsehoods of the 28 former Seniors Managers of Parks Canada, refers to Tuma Young’s “independent study” of Green Cove which was commissioned by the FOGC and Sean Howard. He calls the FOGC a local group when, in fact, its 70+ members, led by 2 non-Canadians, have only a few persons who live in the local communities North of Smokey. He refers to the NFNM Foundation as a “commercial enterprise” when it is a registered not-for-profit foundation.

FYI: Eric Hebert-Daily current national director of CPAWS, was the former National Secretary of the NDP.

On The Hill, David Akin, Jan 28, 2016

In his column, Akin reported on NDP environmental critic, Wayne Stetski’s letter to Minister McKenna stating that the "NFNM poses a threat to the ecological integrity of the Park” – his proof: the letter of the former 28 senior managers. George Mercer, a co-signer of the letter from the former 28 senior managers, admits that the letter was wrong. 

FYI: Warden's Stories: Eating Crow...