Conservative MP for Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo Frank Caputo is helping to raise awareness about a proposed development that would see seaside condominiums erected on the site of Canada’s D-Day landings.
The shadow minister for veteran affairs said roughly a month ago, he received two concerned letters about the proposed development. Recognizing the importance of the issue, he directed his staff to look into the matter. Within 48 hours, MPs were flooded with letters.
On March 30, a motion to support the Save Juno Beach campaign was unanimously passed in the veteran affairs committee. Eleven days later, Conservative MP Michael Kram stood in the House of Commons to voice his support for the campaign and that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should call the French president “and do whatever is necessary to save Juno Beach.”
Save Juno Beach urges constituents to email their MPs to push to the Canadian government to put pressure on their French counterparts to stop the condominiums from being built on the site of Juno Beach.
“This isn’t something that really is like a conservative versus liberal thing,” said Caputo. “This is something where I think nobody wants to see this out there.”
Caputo was part of a delegation of Canadian parliamentarians that visited military memorial sites in France and Belgium this month. On April 13, he stood on Juno Beach, where over 14,000 Canadians landed on D-Day. In a post to Facebook, Caputo expressed his concern about the condominium project.
There was an obvious consequence to the development, he said, as many Canadian veterans, organizations and citizens believe the area to be hallowed ground.
“The development of this space is disrespectful to those who fought and paid the ultimate sacrifice in service of their country,” he wrote.
The second concern is focused on keeping the Juno Beach Centre accessible. He said the road to the centre is private property, but a recent ruling by the French court said they must allow access to construction vehicles and equipment. The concern is the added traffic will damage the road, or close off access to the centre from visitors.
The Juno Beach Centre is a non-profit and not owned by the Canadian government. Much like many non-profit organizations, the centre is struggling to stay open after losing attendance to the pandemic and any further disruptions “could prove fatal.”
“They need all the help they can get,” said Caputo. “They just really don’t need anything going against them at this point.”