NEWS

Kitchener Prime Minister Statues Project Slammed

02/21/2014 03:41 EST | Updated 02/21/2014 03:59 EST

Kitchener, Ontario is looking at erecting bronze statues of all 22 prime ministers in a public park to celebrate Canada's 150th birthday.

The idea is going over about as well as a statue of Jimmy Carter did on "The Simpsons."

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A public survey asking residents' opinions about the statues has turned up overwhelmingly negative feelings, with 79 per cent of 2,441 respondents opposing it.

Several respondents revealed a low opinion of past prime ministers:

"It's a lovely park full of natural features, and more statues would look rather ugly. Also there are many prime ministers who were not great people, and it would be offensive to many to have them there."

"Some of these people were/are criminals, and I'm not fond of honouring them in this way."

Others felt their presence in the park would be offensive:

"It's 2013. A park full of statues of white men? Really? We need to be bold and celebrate all kinds of Canadian leaders. PMs get enough attention."

"Worship dead white men whose activities (or complacency) were responsible for so many atrocities committed against First Nations peoples, on whose borrowed land Victoria Park sits? No thanks. Terrible idea."

The project would install statues of every Canadian prime minister (even those who only served for 68 days) in the Victoria Commons area of Victoria Park, a popular public space in Kitchener.

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The initiative comes at the request of Kitchener residents Dave Caputo and Jim Rodger, the latter a former principal of Kitchener Collegiate Institute who commissioned a statue of William Lyon MacKenzie King as a student.

The Statue Project would cost $2.2 million — $75,000 to $100,000 for each of them — and the city has been asked to contribute $300,000 toward making it a reality.

This isn't the first time that a statue project honouring prominent politicians has failed to capture the public's imagination.

A private amusement park in Williamsburg, Va. erected busts of all 43 pre-Barack Obama U.S. presidents, but soon closed due to lack of funds, The National Post reported.

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