Pierre Elliott Trudeau:
Mount Trudeau plan spurs growing protest
CAROLINE ALPHONSO; With a report from Mark MacKinnon in Ottawa
Thursday, October 12, 2000
VANCOUVER -- The protests grew louder yesterday over Prime Minister Jean Chrétien's decision to rename historic Mount Logan after the late Pierre Trudeau.
"Public opinion is running 20-1 [against renaming Mount Logan]," said Bruce McKnight, executive director of the B.C. and Yukon Chamber of Mines. "We're not against the idea of honouring Mr. Trudeau. We're just saying it's not appropriate to denigrate Logan or Canadian history for political gain today."
A petition against the new name, posted on the Internet yesterday morning, had 505 signatures from around the world by early evening.
Geologist Harmen Keyser, who runs the Web site, http://www.savemtlogan.com, with Ray McNally, said renaming the mountain would dishonour and disgrace the memory of Sir William Logan, one of the top geographers in Canadian history.
"There was no chance for the average Canadian citizen to have a say in this," Mr. Keyser said.
Responding to the protests, two Liberal MP backbenchers from B.C. asked Mr. Chrétien to rethink his decision.
On a visit to Vancouver last week, the Prime Minister said that he was sticking to his plans to name the tallest mountain in Canada after Mr. Trudeau, who died on Sept. 28.
Ed Morgan, a spokesman for Mr. Chrétien, said yesterday that "the Prime Minister was very clear in Vancouver that the decision has been made."
But Liberal MP Lou Sekora said the Prime Minister should have listened to Canadians before deciding to rename the mountain. Mr. Sekora said he will bring the issue up at next Wednesday's caucus meeting in Ottawa.
"Once things have been named after somebody, I think it should stay that way," Mr. Sekora said while in Vancouver yesterday. "I hate to think of names being changed on a yearly basis."
Another Liberal MP said the number of calls to his Vancouver and Ottawa offices has increased, with people making suggestions on what to name after Mr. Trudeau.
Ted McWhinney said that among the many suggestions from his Vancouver constituents is to have a national holiday named after Mr. Trudeau or even name a scholarship after him. He has passed these ideas on to Mr. Chrétien.
"I think the rethinking [on Mr. Chrétien's part] is going on," Mr. McWhinney said.
But Canadians are not waiting for Mr. Chrétien to change his mind.
On the Web site to save Mount Logan, one person wrote: "Former prime minister Trudeau was a great Canadian -- but this is an insult. In 100 years will the name be changed again to a newer/better Canadian?"
Another wrote: "Perhaps the real reason for the proposed name change is the fact that the son of Stockwell Day is Logan Day. I think our current prime minister is 'losing it.'"
Some of the suggestions as to what might be named after the former prime minister include the TransCanada Trail or one of the many peaks on Mount Logan. Allan Higdon, the acting mayor of Ottawa, and Hull, Que., mayor Yves Ducharme sent a joint petition to Mr. Chrétien proposing that the Interprovincial Bridge that joins the two cities be renamed the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Interprovincial Bridge.
Members of the B.C. and Yukon Chamber of Mines have sent letters voicing their opposition to Mr. Chrétien's decision to rename Mount Logan.
"He has to have a second thought about this," Mr. McKnight said. "[Mount Logan] is not a temporary label to be ripped off."
Descendants of Sir William Logan are angry at Mr. Chrétien's decision. Sir William was a surveyor who made the first-ever geological maps of Canada and the first Canadian-born person to be knighted.
Charles Wardell, a Logan descendant living in Austria, said yesterday that the family is not considering a lawsuit, but "hoping common sense will prevail."