No Caribou statue at Gallipoli thanks to Budget 2015

NDP Business and Rural Development critic George Murphy

NDP Business & Rural Development critic George Murphy (MHA, St. John’s East) was told just this morning that visitors marking the centenary of a historic battle in the first world war will not have the opportunity to see a statue of a caribou, similar to the one in Bowring Park in St. John’s, and the five erected at other World War I battle sites in Europe.

“We learned in Estimates Committee this morning that World War I commemorations in Gallipoli will not include the installation of our iconic Caribou because of budget cuts,” Murphy said during Question Period in the House of Assembly today.

He then asked the minister responsible to explain the decision.

Minister King confirmed that the government planned to put up a plaque rather than a statue.

“We lost thirty Newfoundlanders and Labradorians in direct battle, and ten by disease,” said Murphy.

Murphy says the sum involved would seem to be insignificant amount compared to the sacrifice made by the soldiers. He says that in many ways, a caribou statue at Gallipoli would complete the “Caribou Trail” of similar monuments.

“Newfoundland and Labradorians have a record of sacrifice for our province. In the case of Gallipoli, thirty of them paid the ultimate sacrifice,” he said.

He is appalled that money for this project is missing from Budget 2015, and that it was not left as an appropriation for future budgets.

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