ontario news watch

Ministers’ responses on Afghan monument contract ‘pathetic’: design team

OTTAWA — An architectural group that lost out on building a monument to Canada’s mission in Afghanistan is accusing the government of giving a “pathetic” explanation for how the contract was awarded.

The design by Renée Daoust and her team was selected by a jury, but the government overruled that decision to award the contract to another group.

The government says it passed over the jury’s choice to reflect the preference of veterans who filled out an anonymous three-question survey online.

Heritage Minister Pascale St-Onge and Veterans Affairs Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor testified about the controversy Monday before the House veterans affairs committee. 

In her opening statement, St-Onge said only that she would defer to her colleague, while Petitpas Taylor said listening to veterans was the least the government could do to honour their sacrifice.

But Daoust says veterans were well-represented on the seven-person jury, which was told to take the survey results into account in making its decision. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 1, 2023.

The Canadian Press