Why is there money for this and not for that?


Ralph Goodale raises the matter of the Norman Bethune memorial to question cuts to the Motherwell Homestead in Abernathy, Saskatchewan.

It’s no wonder people around Abernethy feel strongly about this National Historic Site. It costs less than $400,000/year to operate as a vital community asset, tourist attraction, educational tool, job creator, and living monument to a prairie hero. But none of that matters to Stephen Harper. Like that tree nursery at nearby Indian Head, the Motherwell Homestead got chopped in this year’s budget. It’s being drastically downsized and left to languish as a pale shadow of what it used to be.

This is a dumb decision. But worse still, it’s biased and discriminatory. While the Motherwell Homestead is being gutted, the Harper Conservatives are putting $2.5-million into the home-riding of Treasury Board Minister Tony Clement for a National Historic Site near Muskoka, Ontario. Remember “pork-barrel” Tony? He’s the Harper Minister who mis-spent $50-million without lawful authority on sheer waste (e.g., ornamental gazebos and sidewalks to nowhere) to puff-up his riding before the G-8 fiasco there in 2010. Now he gets yet another spending boondoggle, while Abernethy gets cut. Why?


Why is there money for this and not for that?

  1. It’s funny/sad because it’s true

  2. I’m defending Tony Clement!!
    This childhood home of Norman Bethune was purchased by the federal government in 1973 and has been supported by Liberal and Progressive Conservative and Conservative Governments since. I would guess it has attracted many many thousands of Chinese tourists to a small rural Ontario town and given them a wonderful picture of Canada to take home.
    This unholy alliance of Goodale and Anders sound like they’ve fallen off a few too many of those wild broncos out on the western rodeo/political circuit.

  3. Another badly botched rollout by the Cons, and Goodale is having some fun with it.

  4. Ralph, try changing the name to Jia de Mā Hao and make your pleadings using your best Charlie Chan impression – as “Saskatchewan’s # 1 son”.

  5. This is such a blatant play at ridiculous politics it is not even funny. It wasn’t that long ago that Macleans online had a ‘contest’ for the most Canadian whose inventions were the most innovative and impactful on the history of the world. I do believe Norman Bethune came third in the running for medical innovations behind Banting and Best. The Motherwell family….hmmmm…say no more. I don’t believe they were on the list of 100 greatest Canadians either. So, when you ask “why is there money for Norman Bethune’s memorial site over the Motherwell homestead”? I think, you must be joking if it isn’t obvious to you and Ralph. Norman Bethune was a brilliant Canadian inventor. People might not like his politics but hey, Alexander Graham Bell was a big fan of eugenics but I am betting they won’t be dismissing the importance of his invention or the fact that he was born in Canada.
    As for the money involved in running these national historical sites and parks….after spending 40 minutes at the Banff National Park gates waiting to pay at the most antiquated system imaginable, you cannot tell me that these parks and historical sites are not due for a BIG overhall. They haven’t changed a thing about how they do business since the 1950’s. I don’t think they even try to raise any money to offset the costs of running themselves.

    • Bell was born in Scotland….

      • Yes, and so was John A. Macdonald.

      • …Yes, okay my mistake and Steve Nash was born in South Africa. If we stop celebrating immigrants, we can get rid of all lot of so-called Canadians and never spend any money on future memorials.

    • Chinese students are required to read Mao’s letter concerning the death of Bethune in 1939, translated here:

      It seems rather apparent, in the first paragraph, that Comrade Mao was using the death of Bethune for political purposes. And in continuing to do so, by having successive generations study his writing, perhaps mythologising his own role. Great March anyone?

      But, I understand that Chinese students also study the Gettysburg Address, and can recite it from memory (ask a mainland Chinese next time you meet one – I’ve heard the recital firsthand). Some former Chinese Leaders:

      With a translator repeating his words, [Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji] said that as a schoolboy he had memorized Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, but had forgotten it except for one part, which he exclaimed in halting English: “Of the people, by the people and for the people!”

      [Chinese President Jiang Zemin] was a flashy (for a Chinese leader) former Shanghai Party secretary, who sang karaoke on state visits and recited the Gettysburg address to foreigners.

      The $2.5 million investment isn’t just upkeep of an historical building. It appears from the signage, glass and stonework it’s much more than that – and principally catering to Chinese tourists. The Parks Canada site has a Chinese translated webpage for the facility http://www.pc.gc.ca/lhn-nhs/on/bethune/natcul/natcul1-chin.aspx

      I don’t have any problem with it personally, it’s a part of history – ours and theirs.

  6. Aaron, typo in Abernethy in the lede. It’s correct in the italicized paragraphs from Ralph.

    • Yeah, that`s probably it—you Harper-Hating Twit.

  7. Pretty well every gravesite, monument, memorial and homestead in Canada is starved of funding, and often in falling-down condition. Homes of many of our famous people have been ignored altogether. A national disgrace that matches the mess 24 Sussex and Stornaway are in.

    Of course Bethune’s site should be in top condition….a brilliant, compassionate and world-famous Canadian doctor…..should have been done long ago.

    Now let’s get busy on the rest of them.

  8. Normally, when Rob Anders does anything, Wherry will come along with a post about how Anders is an idiot.

    Apparently, except when Anders is criticizing Harper. Then Anders is brilliant.

    Anders is an idiot.

    Bethune is one of the most internationally renowned Canadians in history, regardless of his political beliefs. He is renowned for his accomplishments in delivering health care to people desperately needing health care.

    A Bethune memorial with attract Chinese tourists and their dollars to Canada. It will foster good will between China and Canada.

    And on this issue, of all issues, the ritualistic Harper-haters chose to side with Rob Anders.

    • I think Aaron is too subtle for you.

      Btw, the basis of your name, originates from a 1969 quote, as reported in Macleans:

      ‘Similarly, Pierre Trudeau is remembered for arrogantly asking Western farmers, “Why should I sell your wheat?” In fact, Trudeau, after asking the question rhetorically, then went on to explain all the obstacles that the Canadian government faced in trying to export wheat on the international market.’

      This of course was when the CWB existed, and after Diefenbaker had opened sales to China in 1961.

      So, from your perspective, what were the Western farmers asking of Trudeau that continues to give offence -to the point where it is your moniker?

      • We are all “children” of Trudeau. We live in Trudeau’s Canada, for better or for worse.

        The handle is a merely an acknowledgement of that fact.

        “Why should I sell your wheat?” is just “western” for “Je me souviens”.

        Trudeau, arguably, brought “modern” Quebec to Ottawa. “Why should I sell your wheat?” has come to represent Trudeau’s challenge (symbolically) for the “modern” West to “occupy” Ottawa. The rallying cry of the Reform Party was “The West wants in” i.e. The West wants to “occupy” Ottawa.

        The Reform-now-Conservative Party is the West responding to Trudeau’s challenge to complete the transformation of Canada to a “modern” Canada.

        The Western “yang” to the Quebec “yin”.

        i.e. Harper is Trudeau’s true heir. The bastard son is always the “true” heir.

      • i.e. Who was the only major Canadian political figure who stood with Trudeau against the Charlottetown Accord? It was Harper. Manning wanted to go along with the establishment. It was Harper who gave Manning the backbone not to cave. Chretien and Martin both caved.

        • Interesting that you bring up Harper in the context of Trudeau. Because I seem to recall reading somewhere that Harper was once a Liberal and big fan of Trudeau (which given that PET was first elected in 1968 would have covered the time when this quote was made).

          If you read Trudeau’s line in today’s context, with Harper dismantling the CWB (apparently he doesn’t want to sell “your” wheat either), it seems a bit ironic.

          It’s an interesting take that you present. My impression was that this quote (apparently taken out of context) along with Trudeau giving protesters the “finger” in Salmon Arm, BC (apparently mirroring his welcoming) formed the basis for, or reinforced Western alienation. Didn’t Ralph Klein return a similar gesture to an environmentalist who paraded in front of him giving him the one finger salute, to much local fanfare?

          Anyhoo. Hope you get over any lingering feelings, if they exist, over an event/events that appear to have occurred well before your time. Hope they don’t taint your comments here, 43 yrs later.

  9. If the Motherwell Homestead is a “vital community asset”, I’m sure other levels of government and individuals will be swooping in to support it. After all, it costs less than $400,000/year, which apparently is chump change to Ralph.