The hon. member for Palliser will have five minutes remaining and the usual five minutes for questions and comments when the House next returns to debate on the question.
It being 12 a.m., pursuant to an order made earlier today the House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m. pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).
(The House adjourned at 12 a.m.)
- MPcon23 hours ago | Saskatchewan, Palliser
Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Yukon.
It is nice to see full benches on the other side enjoying a fun-filled evening. Certainly, we are pleased that they are here. It would be rather quiet without them.
I am glad to speak on Bill C-49, the Canadian museum of history act. The establishment of the museum would provide Canadians with an unprecedented opportunity to learn about and appreciate the richness of Canada's history.
Much consultation has happened and information was gathered up before the construction on this building. There was face-to-face consultation, a web page was set up and there were hundreds of hits on the page with ideas on what the museum should house and how it would be arranged. The consultation was extensive.
The legislation would change the name and mandate of the Canadian Museum of Civilization and begin a transformation that would be completed over the next five years in the lead-up to Canada's 150th birthday in 2017. Let me be clear. Our government believes in our national museums and we recognize the tremendous value that they hold for all Canadians. As we approach Canada's 150th birthday, it is an unprecedented opportunity to celebrate our history and those achievements that define who we are as Canadians.
The Canadian Museum of Civilization is an institution to be proud of. It is one of Canada's most popular museums. It is important to understand that this is not the end of the Canadian Museum of Civilization. It is the beginning. It would be given a new name and indeed a new mandate.
Let me read the current mandate of the Canadian Museum of Civilization:
...to increase...appreciation and respect for human cultural achievements and human behaviour by establishing [and] maintaining...a collection of objects of historical or cultural interest, with special but not exclusive reference to Canada—
This is a mandate that states its collections do not have exclusive reference to Canada.
Our government is proposing a new mandate for this museum. Let me read it as it is described in the legislation. It states:
...to enhance Canadians’ knowledge, understanding and appreciation of events, experiences, people and objects that reflect and have shaped Canada’s history and identity, and also to enhance their awareness of world history and cultures.
This new mandate would allow the museum to create a national narrative of the history of Canada for all Canadians.
We should think of this initiative as a rejuvenation of the Canadian Museum of Civilization. This significant investment would allow a major renovation of more than 43,000 square feet of permanent gallery space, some of which has been in place since 1989, in order to present a comprehensive and chronological history of Canada to Canadians and to the world.
It is important to note that this legislation would not affect the internal workings of the museum. The museum's board would remain intact. The Canadian War Museum would continue to be an affiliate.
Order. Resuming debate. Before we call on the hon. member for Palliser, I will let him know there are five minutes remaining in the period allocated for government orders so he will have the remainder of his time when the House next resumes debate on this question.
The hon. member for Palliser.
- MPcon23 hours ago | Quebec, Lévis—Bellechasse
Mr. Speaker, there can be no doubt that the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages introduced a very promising bill for Canada, a bill about a Canadian museum of history that the City of Gatineau, historians and the museum's architect wholeheartedly support. This museum will facilitate a better understanding of our history.
My question is very simple. Why refuse to acknowledge Canadian history when conventional wisdom tells us that a population that does not know its history cannot know where it is going? Why are the New Democrats being so stubborn? That is so disappointing. Why are they stubbornly refusing to acknowledge Canadian history? Is the member ashamed of her history? I, personally, am proud of the history of the Canadian people.
Order. We have time for one answer.
The hon. member for Hull—Aylmer.
Order, please. The hon. member for Hull—Aylmer.
- MPcon23 hours ago | Ontario, Oak Ridges—Markham
Mr. Speaker, it is truly unbelievable what we have here. If there is a bill that is over 10 pages, it is too long for those members to read. They talk about closure and how much they want to debate and the first opportunity they get they try to close down debate and go home. It is unbelievable the hypocrisy that comes from that side. They do not want to talk about things that are important to Canadians.
I know the member has a tendency to say one thing in the House, but then another thing when she communicates to the people in her riding. For instance, I know she takes credit for the tax cuts that we have given to families. Therefore, could she give some insight as to how she will be communicating to her riding, in her householders, about how she actually really supports this, like she supports the tax cuts that we have given for Canadian families? Although she voted against it, really she supports it, so she says in her householder.
Could she give me a sneak peek of her next householder and could she explain to Canadians why the NDP members are so averse to working late at night, if they want to give back some of the $160,000 that Canadians pay us to be in—
I declare the motion defeated.
- MPconWed 8:05 pm | Ontario, Simcoe North
In my opinion the nays have it.
And five or more members having risen:
Call in the members.
- MPconWed 7:50 pm | Ontario, Oak Ridges—Markham
Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member looks at Bill C-49, it talks about all the things that this museum is going to have to do, including organizing exhibits both in Canada and outside Canada. It helps to open up our museums, not only the national museum, but museums in communities across this country so that they can share in the collection of the national museum.
One member's constituency has a museum for Exporail, and he talked about how important that museum was to his community. I cannot think of a better way of making that museum more important and more accessible to Canadians than by becoming a part of the new museum of Canadian history. Does the museum right now have the ability to talk about Canadian history? Yes. Can it do a better job of doing that by bringing in communities across this country, by bringing in artifacts, by sharing the artifacts, but also bringing artifacts that are important in the member's community to Ottawa? Absolutely.
We can do better and that is the whole point of this. With a $25-million investment, we will make sure that all parts of this country can celebrate in their history and all the good things that have helped make this such a great country to live in.
- MPconWed 7:45 pm | Ontario, Oak Ridges—Markham
Mr. Speaker, we have heard the opposition say it does not want us to make the decisions for independent organizations, so we are not going to do that. However, Library and Archives is going to be a very important partner in the new museum that we are creating here. They are going to be a very important partner in this, and that is why it is so important that we move forward with this museum.
It is not just about Library and Archives Canada. If we talk about the CBC and the National Film Board, they have amazing collections that they are making available to Canadians. I encourage all Canadians to get access to them and to look at some of the things they have preserved.
Library and Archives is going to be very important to this museum. We cannot have a museum like this without involving Library and Archives Canada.
- MPconWed 7:20 pm | Ontario, Oak Ridges—Markham
Mr. Speaker, we have some disagreement with the hon. member for Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, but we have always had a good relationship in committee and when we have disagreed, we have been done that in a cordial way.
I am excited to speak about this legislation, but before I do I want to point out the extraordinary work of the Minister of Canadian Heritage. I have only been here since 2008, but I have had the opportunity to be a student of politics and a student of our system and I am confident and secure in saying that he is the best Minister of Canadian Heritage that our country has ever had and I will tell the House why.
What the minister understands, and what previous ministers, including those who served on this side understand, is the importance of arts and culture to not only helping people around the world understand how great our country is, but understand that arts and culture is important to the country's economic growth, that it creates jobs and economic activity.
As a result of that, even when the country was going through one of the worst global economic downturns, this government made historic investments in arts and culture. When other G7 countries were reducing their funding, this government, through the leadership of the minister, was increasing funding to the Canada Council for the Arts to its highest level ever. We invested over $140 million in our national museums and we did that for a number of reasons. It is important that Canadians have access to their history and that they have pride in the institutions that are mandated to tell the stories of Canada. This is why we have made some of these important investments.
I have also heard from members of both official parties about the motion that was brought forward at committee. I want to speak briefly to that because it ties into this a bit. They talked about it being overly prescriptive. The motion actually says that we should talk about Canada and its history before Confederation and after Confederation. It says that we should talk about the 20th century and important developments in Canadian history. It referenced some important battles of World War I and World War II.
Why should we talk about that? We should talk about that because significant anniversaries of important battles in Canadian history are coming up for one. Second, there are still people in our country who can give us first-hand accounts of what they faced in battle. This is an opportunity to bring these people before committee before it is too late, hear their stories and celebrate them. It is not meant to be something like the end of it. If members were to read the whole motion, if they do honour to this place, they would talk about the entire motion. I know we will get co-operation.
We want to talk about the people, the places, the events, the things that have helped shape our country. Sometimes those things are good. Sometimes they are things we want to celebrate, things we want to commemorate, but there are instances when things were not good, but we need to remember them all the same. We talked about the internment of Japanese Canadians. We might not be proud of that part of our history, but it is important that we remember it. That is what we are talking about at committee.
We have heard a lot of people talk about how important it is that we go forward with this project. We have heard a lot of historians talk about how happy they are that we brought this initiative forward. We have seen over the last number of years, especially as we approach Canada's 150th birthday, a reawakening of Canadians' pride in their country, in their province and in their local communities. We have heard consistently that there is no way for them to share this pride in a tangible way across the country.
I want to share a story about something in my riding. About 200 metres from my home there was a discovery made in advance of a subdivision being built in the community, which changed entirely the way we think about our first nations, and there has been a documentary on this called the Curse of the Axe. We found, 200 metres from my home, a Wendat village.
Why is this important? It is because this village had 70 long houses. It was not a community of 10 or 12 houses as was first thought, but a city of 70 long houses. Thousands of people lived in this village and it completely changed the way we thought about these people in this area.
The excavators found that in order to support a village of this size the cornfields alone would have encompassed the entire city of Toronto. They found that these people engaged in trade with other nations, again changing what we thought about the relationships between our first nations at that time. It was revolutionary in how we thought of the Wendat nation.
There are no large communities of Wendat still in Ontario. They are now in Quebec. However, we had ambassadors from the Wendat nation come to my home town of Stouffville and they talked about how significant this find was for their people. They talked about how important it was that the rest of Canada and North America understood what they were doing, how they were doing it and how sophisticated they were. They were very proud of this.
We had the team that led the excavations come to our town a number of times and had displays of the Curse of the Axe. Hundreds of people from our community have come to learn about the local heritage that we just did not know about. Our own community was making headlines across North America. In the town of Stouffville, 200 metres from my front door, there was this amazing discovery. Now we have to find a way to make sure that all Canadians understand it so that we can update what people think of the Wendat and tell them how important and exciting this is.
The minister referenced Douglas Cardinal in his remarks. He said:
I love the fact that the museum keeps evolving and growing, and people still feel that it’s a national monument that can expand and serve all of Canada.
This is important because, although it has a long history, at one point the museum was called the Museum of Man. At the time, I suppose, that was okay. However, time moves on. As the member for Ottawa—Orléans points out, there was a time in this country when women were not even considered persons, but time moves on and we are better for it.
We changed the mandate of the Museum of Man, which became the Museum of Civilization. We got together and said that we had to do better and we did. The Museum of Civilization was brought forward and Canadians have been very excited about that. It has done a spectacular job. Canadians can now be as excited about the new museum of history as they had been about the Museum of Civilization, and for many different reasons.
It is a tragedy that over three million pieces or artifacts in the collection of the Museum of Civilization are in storage and not available for Canadians to see. It is a tragedy, especially when we have museums across this country that have made significant investments.
I look at my own community, the city of Markham, which has massive investments in its local museum. The people of Markham understand how important it is to preserve their local history, their culture. They have made massive investments. They are very excited about the prospect of a museum of history so they can share their collections with the national museum and so the people of Canada can understand just how important Markham was to the development of the GTA.
There are 40,000 people in my home town of Stouffville who poured millions of dollars into our museum. They did that for a number of reasons, predominantly because they knew it was a good investment for the community. They knew people wanted to know more about the history of our community, so they put more money into it. They did it also because so many people were coming, they needed to upgrade the facilities so they could host more people.
I looked at my own community. Last year we celebrated something called the Freedom of the Town for the Governor General's Horse Guards, a unit which, in part, has its history in the development of our community.
Even on that there was not complete agreement. There were people in the community who felt this celebration should not happen in because the community was founded by Mennonites, who did not necessarily support things like the war of 1812. We had fierce debate in the community, but ultimately we had the Freedom of the Town and thousands of people came out from our community to celebrate this historic unit.
However, that does not mean the people who disagreed with it were wrong. They disagreed. They talked about it. I may not necessarily have agreed with them, but they got their message out there. It shows just how exciting history can be when we present it to Canadians in a way they can debate, discuss and share. Then they can go to their local communities.
Think of what this could do to local communities across the country when they have the opportunity to see the last spike in their own little town. Think of what that would do for a local museum, the amount of people who would drive to that museum, the people who would be even more engaged to know about their communities and the things that have helped build our country.
Ultimately, we will always have disagreements in this place. It goes without saying. We are elected from different parties. We all have different attitudes on different things. I know full well that although we have different ideas, that all of us fight and argue, ultimately we are all very proud Canadians. We are all people who want to see our country prosper and do better. We also want to ensure that people around the world can understand what has made our country great. That is what this museum will help us do. That is one of the reasons why I am so proud and excited about this.
We also talked a bit in some of the speeches about the road to Canada's 150th birthday and why that was so important, the sesquicentennial, as the Minister of Veterans Affairs pointed out.
That is such an important time for Canada. It will be a time when we can showcase all the great things Canada has done. So many people came to us at committee and said that the 100th birthday of Canada was one of those remarkable things. Everybody talked about Canada's 100th birthday. I am almost jealous that I was not born then so I could have attended some of the 100th birthday celebrations.
We want to ensure Canada's 150th is the same. We want to really help Canadians from coast to coast to coast understand why they should be so proud of our country.
I had the opportunity to visit Yukon with the fabulous member for Yukon, and he took me to his local museum. That was my first visit to Canada's north. The pride he showed as he toured me around and showed me some of the important places in his community was something that all Canadians should know. Yet not all Canadians can get to the north.
When I looked at the treasures and the collection in storage at that museum and when I heard the minister talk about the opportunities with the new Canadian museum of history, to share these collections so we could be proud of what we had accomplished, I thought this was an excellent opportunity.
We see upstairs in this place a display of the Franklin expedition. We saw the pride the Minister of Health had because something so important to her community was not being displayed just outside the offices of the Prime Minister. It was being displayed and celebrated in other areas of the world, such as Norway. I had the opportunity to meet with the ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway and to talk about how important this was, how Norwegians were celebrating and wanted to continue to make connections with the Minister of Health's home town. These are things we have to celebrate. These are things Canadians have to know.
I have had the opportunity, as I am sure a lot of parliamentarians have had, to go to Pier 21. My parents came to this country through Pier 21. It is a shame to me, and one of the saddest parts of my life, that neither one of my parents was alive to see me elected. To go back to Pier 21, where they arrived in Canada, and see my parents' names on the manifest of the boat that brought them to this country, to stand on the pier and look out over the exact place they came to, was truly amazing. It was a truly amazing moment for me, and not just me. Others were visiting Pier 21, and it was easy to know who was going back. I could see them standing there and looking around. I could see in their faces how honoured they were to be there and to be Canadians.
We have to celebrate these things and let other Canadians understand. That is why when I hear things about the Historica-Dominion Institute talking to our veterans, getting first-hand accounts and making them available, that makes me proud. It is also talking to people who came to this country through Pier 21 and getting their stories about what they faced when they came to Canada.
My parents came from Italy. My mother always told me that she was depressed for the first 10 years she was in Canada, because the winters were so harsh and the summer was only a time for her to fear what was coming in the winter. It was brutal for her. My father was a very proud Italian, but also a very proud Canadian. He did not understand hockey at all, but he cheered for it, because he knew it was what Canadians did. He could not understand any part of the game, and he always tried to relate it to soccer, but he was fiercely proud of his new country.
Sometimes it takes going somewhere else to realize just how lucky we are and just how special this country is. Going back to my parents' home town, when I was 14, although it was a beautiful place, made me realize how lucky I was to be here. It also awakened me to something then, even that far back. The many Italians who came to Canada did not know enough about Canada. We have all heard stories of tourists who come to Canada in July with skis on their cars thinking it is going to be snowing. We could do a better job.
There is no problem with members disagreeing in the House about history. That is good. Let us disagree. That is what history is all about. It is not our job to write the history books. That is not what we do. It is our job to be in this place, debate, and make sure other Canadians have access to that history. That is what this new Canadian museum of history would do, and that is why I am so excited.
It is not just about a $25-million investment that will update the museum, as the minister said, after many years. Displays have to be changed. It is not just about that $25-million investment. It is not about the $142 million we have already put into arts and culture and into our museums. It is about giving Canadians access to the things, people, places and events that have helped make this country the best country in the world in which to live. Regardless of how we feel about the policies of one another, we can all agree on that. Surely we can all agree on the fact that everybody, not just Canadians, deserves to understand what has made this country so great.
- MPconWed 7:10 pm | British Columbia, Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the time my colleague put into gathering his thoughts and making an intervention on the museum, but this is not a small project. It is a large project. It is a $25-million investment in the museum itself. We are talking about building a national infrastructure. I was saying to the leader of the Green Party a minute ago that this museum has an annual budget from this Parliament of $57 million a year. One-third of that money goes to research. This is a research museum that reaches out to people across the country. This is a museum that does more than just tell these stories, so it is an important project.
I will give my colleague two points on the point he raised in the last half of his speech about the independence of the museum.
First, as was pointed out by my parliamentary secretary, the Museums Act prescribes that. When the Liberals created the War Museum, there was a great deal of controversy. If the member will remember, it had Hitler's car, and that was a great source of debate. There were many Canadians who thought it was offensive or inappropriate. It was not part of our Canadian narrative. Jewish Canadians found it offensive that it was used entice people to come to the museum. There was a great controversy. The Liberal government of the day was frustrated, but on the other hand relieved, that this was a debate to be had at the museum. The museum officials struggled with it, as Jack Granatstein pointed out in his book Who Killed Canadian History?, but it was an important debate about the Canadian history narrative and the Second World War, how to tell that story, what kind of language to use and those kinds of debates. They happen all the time. The government of the day could not interfere with the museum in that very touchy debate at the time because of the Museums Act, and that is a great thing. Let the museum officials figure these things out. Let them debate them. Let them make mistakes and figure it out and tell these narratives and move forward.
Second, on the issue of independence, specifically with this museum, he would note, and some people have noted as well, that the name we have put forward is the Canadian Museum of History, not the Museum of Canadian History. There is a particular reason we chose that language. It is because Canadian history does not begin in 1867. There are our first peoples, the north, and aboriginal Canadians. Canadian history does not begin in 1867. We have been precise in talking to people about how to actually name this museum in a way that is inclusive of all of the narratives of those who today call themselves Canadian. The amendment and the legislation talk about broadening the discussion on this, within a Canadian lens, and not assuming that for all Canadians their sense of belonging to what is now Canada begins in 1867. We chose that language deliberately, again, to give the museum the independence to design their narrative such that it is not just the political one that begins with the Constitution Act of 1867. We are being very deliberate about this to—
- MPconWed 6:50 pm | Ontario, Elgin—Middlesex—London
Now you are in trouble.
- MPconWed 6:45 pm | Ontario, Alma-Lac-St-Jean
Mr. Speaker, you have previously admonished the member about the way he addresses the members of the House. He often speaks to members opposite in the second person. He should always address the Chair and never use the second person. This is how we can keep a civil discourse and debate in the House.
- MPconWed 6:40 pm | Ontario, Oak Ridges—Markham
Mr. Speaker, it is often disappointing to listen to the member. He speaks to the very narrow vision of history that the NDP members have.
I know that to this member maybe Laura Secord is not important, but she is important to a lot of Canadians. Canada's achievements in World War I and World War II might not necessarily be important to that member and the members on that side, but they are important to many Canadians, and many Canadians want to hear more about them.
He talked about territorial independence. Clearly, he has not read the Museums Act, because had he read it, he would have seen that it is actually guaranteed. He talked about the fact that international exhibits will not be a part of this. He has not actually read the bill, because if he had, he would have read that it may “organize, sponsor, arrange for or participate in travelling exhibitions, in Canada and internationally, of museum material in its collection and from other sources”. It is right in there.
Members opposite have also had the opportunity to vote, since 2006, in favour of $142 million worth of new investments for our museums, and consistently they have voted against, every single time.
Here we have another $25 million investment for another museum, and again they are saying they will not vote in favour of that. It speaks to the NDP's narrow vision. Anything NDP members want is something all Canadians should want, but if we do not agree with what they want, then everybody else must be wrong. That is not how we have built this country.
There are some three million artifacts in storage in the Canadian Museum of Civilization. I wonder if the hon. member would at least agree with me that it is important to bring those artifacts out and to involve museums across this country, small and large, so that all Canadians in all provinces and territories can have access to them. Would he agree it is important that all Canadians have better access to their history?
- MPconWed 6:15 pm | British Columbia, Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam
Mr. Speaker, one of the things we have spoken about with Mark O'Neill, who is the current president of the Museum of Civilization, is an idea to have all partner museums across the country, all those who sign an MOU—the CFOs, the board chairs, the presidents—come to Ottawa to talk about best practices, and to maybe talk about collectively having better curatorial services, working together on ideas to digitize their content and make it more available online. It is not just about partnerships between the national museum and local museums, but partnerships between local museums as well.
We would be surprised at some of the collections in these museums, as the member has referred to about the museum in Clinton. I have seen some incredible collections of remarkable things in museums all across this country. When we have the privilege, as I have had, to visit these museums, we find some real gems across this country. However, we also realize that some of these gems have become stagnant in local museums because they have been there for a long time. We want to breathe new life into our museums, allow them to have collections from other museums in the country, to draw from the national museum, and give all of them new life, new energy and new stories to tell, as they choose them, not as Ottawa chooses them.
- MPconWed 6:15 pm | British Columbia, Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo
Mr. Speaker, I am really delighted to hear tonight about the plans to move forward. I had the opportunity within the last month to visit the Museum of Civilization and then to visit a little museum in Clinton, British Columbia, which had an amazing collection from the gold rush times. It was quite a delight to tour this very small museum.
I would like to hear more from the minister in terms of how he perceives that these will knit together. We heard about the opportunity for small museums to bring collection items one way. Will there also be an opportunity to have more of a two-way, and that also includes things like the Japanese camp he acknowledged in his comments regarding Midway? Will there be a bit more back and forth with this plan?
- MPconWed 6:10 pm | British Columbia, Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam
Mr. Speaker, I brought this issue before a parliamentary committee. I have spoken to the member opposite about this project, and I do think that this should be about partisanship. As I said, when we created the Canadian Museum of Immigration, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, and when the Liberals created the Canadian War Museum, those were all moments where we were actually able to work together.
He mentioned partisanship. Again, I would read into the record the new mandate. This is what is in the bill, and this is the new mandate of the museum. I do not think there is anything ideological or misguided about this at all. It states:
The purpose of the Canadian Museum of History is to enhance Canadians’ knowledge, understanding and appreciation of events, experiences, people and objects that reflect and have shaped Canada’s history and identity, and also to enhance their awareness of world history and cultures.
That is a mandate that is focused on history. It is open. The Museums Act creates a barrier between politicians and the minister, telling a museum what it can or cannot do on a day-to-day basis. That is what the Museums Act does. This gives the museum a focus, by the way, a focus in a way that I think has long been needed by this museum, and a refreshing of a mandate that will serve all Canadians very well.
It is not just about this, as I said. This is about creating a pan-Canadian infrastructure to bind all of our institutions together so that all museums, not just the museum in the nation's capital, but all museums in the country, will benefit from this proposal. All museums in the country that become official partners will have access to the 3.5 million items in the collection, 90% of which are in storage right now, so we can tell all of Canada's stories, one to another.
We often know our local histories very well. I can tell the House about Captain Cook and Colonel Moody. I can tell everyone about my community very well, and I am sure my hon. colleague can talk about his hometown, but very often we do not know national histories as well as we ought to. One of the things we can do to try to fight that is to build this infrastructure, work together, and get collections moving around the country. Let us do this.
- MPconWed 5:55 pm | British Columbia, Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam
moved that Bill C-49, An Act to amend the Museums Act in order to establish the Canadian Museum of History and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to open the debate in the House on Bill C-49, an act to amend Museums Act to establish the Canadian museum of history.
This legislation would change the name and mandate of the Canadian Museum of Civilization, an institution with a remarkable and proud history. It is a history that traces its way back to 1856 when it was then known as the Geological Survey of Canada. In 1968, its mandate shifted and its name changed again to the Museum of Man. In 1986, it was renamed the Canadian Museum of Civilization and was moved to its current home on the bank of the Ottawa River.
This museum is the largest of Canada's museums. It is the largest both in size, with over one million square feet, and visitors, averaging 1.3 million visitors over the past couple of years. It receives the largest share of government funding of any museum and it is one of the museums with the highest level of self-generated revenue.
While the Canadian Museum of Civilization is our country's most visible national museum, it is not our only museum. In fact, there are over 2,500 museums in communities all across the country, some large, some small, and all these museums tell our stories. They tell them in different ways and in different locations and they tell them in a way that is unique to these local communities.
For example, in the small town of Midway, British Columbia, there is an exhaustive display of material from the Japanese internment during the Second World War. Japanese Canadians living in the region collected materials and put together a narrative of what Japanese Canadians dealt with and suffered through in the south Okanagan during the Second World War. There are countless examples of exhibits like this in museums all across Canada.
This museum describes Canada's history. Yet, Canada does not have a national institution that connects all of these local museums across the country, to tell Canada’s story.
Geographically, Canada is the second largest country in the world, but in terms of population, we are the 34th largest country in the world. Therefore, what unites us together as Canadians? What unites us as a people? It is our languages, our culture, the arts and the ability to tell our stories one to another and to have an understanding of our shared history. A museum devoted to our history will provide a focus on the people, the places and the achievements that bring us together as Canadians.
We are counting down to Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017. The road to Canada’s 150th birthday offers us an unprecedented opportunity to celebrate our history and the achievements that define who we are as Canadians.
Our stories are vast, and they deserve to be told. From Samuel de Champlain’s arrival on our shores to the last spike that marked the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway tracks that took us from east to west and back.
From Terry Fox's journey in the Marathon of Hope that still inspires millions of Canadians today to raise money and fight cancer to Maurice “Rocket” Richard to James Naismith and his invention of basketball to our brilliant scientists like Frederick Banting and Charles Best, these are the people, the events, the stories that inspire us always and need to be told and retold again.
Canada needs and deserves a national institution that will tell the stories of Canada. Canada needs an institution that will independently research and explore Canada's history. Canada needs a national institution that celebrates our achievements and what we have accomplished together as Canadians. Our children need to know more about Canada's past. That is why last year our government announced the creation of the Canadian museum of history.
Let me read the mandate that we are proposing in Bill C-49 that is at the heart of this debate and of this legislation. This is what the new mandate of the museum will read:
The purpose of the Canadian Museum of History is to enhance Canadians’ knowledge, understanding and appreciation of events, experiences, people and objects that reflect and have shaped Canada’s history and identity, and also to enhance their awareness of world history and cultures.
We have chosen not to build a new national museum from the ground up. We are doing that right now in Winnipeg with the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. We have also established the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 in Halifax, building on an existing institution.
The home of this new museum will be what is currently the Canadian Museum of Civilization.
We will build on its reputation and popularity to create a museum that will showcase our achievements as a nation.
The United States has the Smithsonian. Germany has the German History Museum.
Let me share with the House something I think is really important to understand about the details of what we are proposing here with this new museum.
Beginning shortly, the museum will renovate over 50,000 square feet of public space, roughly half of the permanent and temporary galleries that are currently part of the museum. Those areas of the museum that will remain as they are include the very popular Canadian Children's Museum, the First Peoples Hall and the IMAX theatre. A $25-million one-time investment will allow the museum to make this happen.
It should be noted that the current Museum of Civilization in Gatineau has not been updated in over 20 years. In fact, in the Canada Hall at the museum, aboriginal people are excluded from the narrative that is Canada's history. It is a museum that needs to be updated and needs to be improved upon, and that is what we are proposing.
The museum will also allocate internal resources to the project and will launch a fundraising campaign with the intent to raise $5 million. I am told that the fundraising campaign is already well under way and having success. This investment will be funded within existing budgets from the Department of Canadian Heritage at no new additional cost to taxpayers. It will allow the Canadian Museum of Civilization to begin the transformation that will be completed in time for Canada's 150th birthday in 2017.
More than changing the name, the mandate and the exhibits, more will change. We want to ensure this great national institution, which we have the benefit of visiting in Ottawa, reaches out across the country and connects Canadians. To achieve this, we are building partnerships, partnerships that will be created between the new Canadian museum of history and museums across Canada that have the same mandate, but are doing it at a local level. These local museums will have the opportunity to become official partners of this new great national museum.
In fact, we already signed our first memorandum of understanding with the Royal B.C. Museum in Victoria. What this will mean for that museum and other museums across the country is they will have access to the 3,500,000 items currently in the collection at the Canadian Museum of Civilization, soon to be the museum of history. Approximately 90% of these items are currently sitting in storage because we do not have a network to moves these items across the country and share our history. This is a really important move forward to tell our history and allow us to tell our stories to all Canadians.
I am also very pleased to say that since we announced this project, it has received broad-based support from Canadians, including countless historians and people in historical associations from every corner of the country. These are not people, by the way, who frequently agree with our government, but they agree with the need to create a national infrastructure for the teaching of Canada's history.
I am grateful, for example, of the support of Douglas Cardinal, the original architect of the Canadian Museum of Civilization and a very well-known Canadian for all of his life's accomplishments. In response to the creation of this museum, he said, “I love the fact that the museum keeps evolving and growing, and people still feel that it’s a national monument that can expand and serve all of Canada”.
This project has the support of and has been celebrated by Canadian historians as well. It includes the award-winning historian and author, Michael Bliss, who said that it was very exciting that Canada’s major museum would now be explicitly focused on Canada’s history and he thanked the government for making the museum possible.
Jack Granatstein, who, as many in the House know, wrote the book Who Killed Canadian History? a few years ago said, “This move (to create the Canadian Museum of National History) is exactly what I thought should happen. I'm delighted the government and the museum are doing it”.
Deborah Morrison of Canada's National History Society said, “the potential for the new Museum to help create a national framework for our history is compelling. And the time is right”.
John McAvity of the Canadian Museums Association said, “the renaming of the museum is essential, that it is good news and that it will give Canadians greater access to their heritage and history”.
The Historica-Dominion Institute said, “We enthusiastically welcome the creation of this new Canadian museum of history”.
The Ontario Museum Association said, “We welcome the initiative to strengthen partnerships among museums in Ontario and across the country”.
John English, a former Liberal member of Parliament and a biographer of P.E. Trudeau, said, “Congratulations on the Canadian museum of history”.
That is a great boost for the museum.
From Marie Senécal-Tremblay, of the Canadian Federation of Friends of Museums, representing volunteers from smaller museums across Canada: “We support these changes to one of our country's most important national museums.”
I am also very pleased, and I should highlight this as well, that the museum proposal does have the support of the mayors of Gatineau and Ottawa, Marc Bureau and Jim Watson. They both support this initiative as being important to the national capital region.
As well, many historians have added their names to the list of those who support this initiative: Réal Bélanger, Charlotte Gray, Anne Trépanier, Norm Christie, Yves Frenette, Bob Plamondon, Richard Gwyn, Jane Fullerton, Suzanne Sauvage, Brian Lee Crowley and many more. Again, people who may not be Conservative understand that on items like this we should work together, put partisanship aside and support the creation of institutions that bind this country together.
I think the Toronto Star said it very well in their editorial on this subject, and I quote:
It was welcome to hear [the government] announce...the rebranding of the Canadian Museum of Civilization...as the Canadian Museum of History. Canada's history should be celebrated in [this] revamped museum. ...we want to make history come alive, ensure we don't forget our shared past and [that we] honour our heroes.
In conclusion, I understand that this is an issue that has brought some great debate across the country. However, Canada's history is far from dead. It is alive and well and a story that needs to be told.
It is a true statistic, but a sad one, that in only four of Canada's 13 provinces and territories is it necessary for a child to take a history class to graduate from high school. That is provincial jurisdiction, of course, but it does not mean we should step away from the importance of it as a national government, as a national Parliament. We can work together and do what we can to talk about Canada's history and improve education, by supporting our museums, building a great national museum, uniting all of our museums and working together on this project.
In the past, this Parliament has come together. When a former Liberal government decided to create the Canadian War Museum, people said it was divisive, a waste of money and that we ought not do it now. However, the Liberal government had a vision and said it was the right thing to do. The War Museum is now one of the best museums in the world, rivaled only by Les Invalides, in Paris, and the Imperial War Museum, in London. It is one of the great museums in the world.
We are now asking for what this Parliament has done before when it unanimously supported the creation of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg. We were working together, and it is going to be a great institution for all of Canada. This Parliament also unanimously supported the creation of the Canadian Museum for Immigration at Pier 21, in Halifax. It is a great institution and doing good things for this country.
I have approached this in as non-partisan a way as I can. I have reached out to my opposition colleagues in the NDP and the Liberal Party, provided them with the text of this legislation and tried to work with them so we can make sure this museum will go forward and be a constructive piece of Canada's social fabric. We have worked together in the past on institutions. This is a good project for this country, and I hope my colleagues will work with us to make it happen.
A couple of years away is Canada's 150th birthday. We deserve to have a great national institution that will teach Canada's history, bring Canadians together and work toward a celebrated goal of keeping this country united and strong. Support this bill.
- MPconWed 5:50 pm | Saskatchewan, Regina—Qu'Appelle
I declare the motion carried.
- MPconWed 5:45 pm | Saskatchewan, Regina—Qu'Appelle
All those opposed will please say nay.
- MPconWed 5:00 pm | Ontario, Simcoe North
All those opposed will please say nay.
- MPconWed 4:45 pm | Ontario, Oak Ridges—Markham
Mr. Speaker, it is a strange thing that we are hearing today. NDP members have said in most of their speeches that when a bill is too long, let us say over 10 pages, that it is too much for them to read, and now they are being asked, God forbid, to stay here until midnight to debate.
Do those members honestly think that the people of Canada, who pay us $160,000 a year to be in this place and to debate issues of importance to them, think that we should be going home early at a time when we have so much on our agenda, including Canada's economic action plan and a whole host of bills?
Those members talk about debate. A bill was brought forward by a Liberal member of Parliament with respect to philanthropy day, and NDP members decided to filibuster that bill. They wanted all of their members to speak to it because it was such a controversial bill. Is that the type of debate they are talking about? They cannot even pass a bill that would see us thank Canadians who give so much of their time and their money to help make our communities better. Is that the type of debate they are talking about?
- MPconWed 4:30 pm | Saskatchewan, Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre
Mr. Speaker, again, this is quite amusing. It is quite clear the members opposite do not want to engage in meaningful debate. They are just trying to delay and prevent government bills from being passed. That is their sole purpose.
We have proven time and time again that we have a legislative agenda. We want to see it fulfilled. We want to pass bills. We want to get things done on behalf of Canadians. The opposition simply wants to derail and prevent any government bills from being passed in this place. There is a huge difference between meaningful debate and unnecessary and unwarranted delay. That is what members opposite do.
I would also point out that as opposed to closure, and a lot of members get closure and time allocation confused, when we have brought forward time allocation, we have allowed for sufficient debate. Some bills have been debated over 70 times before we brought forward time allocation. To suggest that we are trying to curtail debate just does not cut the mustard.
- MPconWed 4:25 pm | Saskatchewan, Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre
Mr. Speaker, I have to laugh. We hear the same argument from members opposite as we just heard now. The reality is quite different from what the member opposite is reporting.
The reality is that members opposite are not really interested in meaningful debate. They are simply trying to delay and defeat any legislation our government brings forward.
If it were merely a case of wanting to debate a bill thoroughly, I would have no problem with that. However, the reason our government has been forced—and I say forced—to bring time allocation in on many bills is that the members opposite have proven that they will use any procedural tactic available to them to continue delaying the passage of bills, time and time again.
Now, I get that. That is the opposition's right. Opposition members can delay legislative items as much as they possibly can, because they have procedural tactics at their disposal. However, so do we. Our priority is to get bills passed. We were given a majority government by the people of this country to get things done, to pass legislation, and we are doing so. We are doing so in as efficient a manner as possible.
However, to suggest for a moment that we are preventing debate from occurring, whether it be in the House or in committee, and then to oppose a motion that extends sitting hours to give them the additional hours for debate makes absolutely no sense. It is the height of hypocrisy.
- MPconWed 4:05 pm | Saskatchewan, Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre
Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to speak this evening to Motion No. 17, which everyone on our side of the House knows is simply a motion that will extend sitting hours for the next few weeks to allow increased debate and participation by all members, dealing with a series of what we consider to be very serious and important legislative bills that the government wishes to bring forward.
I should point out at the outset that there is nothing new here. This is not unusual. In fact, as all members know, when they look at their parliamentary calendars, those little plastic calendars that we all put in our wallets to see when the session is on and when we adjourn, they will notice that the last two weeks in June always have asterisks attached to the last two sitting weeks. It is interesting, because every year even the most experienced parliamentarians continue to ask the same questions. They look at those little stars and come to me, or others on our side of the House, and ask if that means they can get out two weeks early. We have to point out that, no, it does not mean we can rise two weeks early. It means the government has the ability to extend the sitting hours for those last two weeks to allow for enhanced and increased debate.
This is quite a common occurrence that occurs every session and every sitting of a Parliament. All we are suggesting this time, hence the motion we brought forward, is to extend sitting hours for a few more weeks than the last two weeks of the scheduled session.
Why are we asking for that to be done? It is simply because we feel we have a very busy legislative agenda. We believe we have a number of pieces of important legislation that have yet to be passed in Parliament. We would like to see many of these, if not all of them, debated, voted upon and hopefully, from our perspective, passed before we rise for the summer. That is all. There is no other ulterior motive, as members opposite seem to be suggesting. We are not trying to engage in increased sitting hours now so we can rise earlier. Not at all, we are simply stating a fact, that our government has many pieces of legislation that have yet to be debated fully in this place and yet to be put to a vote.
We want to see that happen as quickly as possible. Hence, we are recommending that we sit, starting tonight, for an extended period of time. It would be a number of hours every evening, Monday through Thursday so we would be able to engage all parliamentarians in a proper debate of some of these legislative agenda items.
I have also heard some commentary from members opposite who seem to engage in these ongoing conspiracy theories. They suggest, for example, that one of the things the motion would do, in addition to extending the sitting hours, is impair the opposition members' ability to bring forward concurrence motions. I want to speak to that for just a moment.
If one is to adhere to the arguments brought forward by members opposite, one would get the impression that these concurrence motions, in other words debate on reports, are the most important thing that Parliament has to consider. Mr. Speaker, as you would well know, and I think all members know, that is the furthest thing from the truth. Concurrence motions, when brought forward by members of the opposition, are nothing more than dilatory tactics to try and prevent our government from engaging in its legislative agenda.
Mr. Speaker, as you well know, and all members should know, once a concurrence motion is brought forward, it allows for three hours of debate on that motion. In other words, if a concurrence motion was brought forward on a Wednesday, which as we all know is a short day, three hours of government time would be used in debate of an opposition motion. The government then would be unable to bring forward its own legislative agenda and would be unable to debate the bills that we wanted to see debated in the House. Instead, we would be engaging in a debate on a concurrence motion brought forward by the opposition, which means opposition members would simply be trying to delay legislation from being passed.
On one hand, we hear consistently from members opposite the argument that they need more time to debate, that the government is preventing real and fruitful debate in the House. That again is the furthest thing from the truth. In fact, just the opposite is occurring on a regular basis.
Opposition members are using procedural tactics, like concurrence motions, to prevent our government from introducing legislation. Why? Because they are not merely trying to oppose our legislative agenda; they are trying to prevent it from even making it to the floor of the House for reasonable debate.
That is what concurrence motions are and that is what the opposition is arguing that Motion No. 17 would prevent, but that is not true. The reality is, if we adopt Motion No. 17, concurrence motions would still be allowed, even though we all know they are dilatory in nature.
Members of the official opposition and third party would still be able to bring forward concurrence motions. There would only be one slight change, which is that after the first speaker completed his or her remarks, usually 20 minutes, and after the customary 10 minutes of questions and comments, we would then revert to orders of the day. This does not mean the remainder of the three hours would be washed away. The government would be obliged, in fact compelled, within two weeks to resume debate on that concurrence motion.
We are not preventing debate on any motion for concurrence that the opposition members bring forward. We are merely allowing for proper debate on government legislation to be held, without being impaired and delayed unnecessarily. When a concurrence motion is brought forward, normally our government, to try to get back to orders of the day, would move a motion to do just that, to return to orders of the day. However, that precipitates then a 30-minute bell. Committees are interrupted because members have to return to the House to vote on that motion.
There is important work being done in committees. We do not want that unnecessary delay to committees, particularly as we get closer to the end of this legislative session. The committees are seized with very important bills that have been passed through second reading and are at committee stage. We want the committees to engage in an examination of the bills, but if we are continually interrupted by having dilatory tactics brought forward by members of the opposition, that prevents true legislative examination of bills at committee.
Our intent is quite simple. Motion No. 17 merely suggests that we sit a few hours longer each and every day for the last few weeks before the scheduled adjournment on June 21 to allow meaningful debate on many bills that our government has introduced. The opposition members should embrace and welcome this. After all, it is they who continually state that we are preventing them from debating legislation.
This gives them an opportunity, four more hours each and every day, Monday to Thursday, 20 more hours per week of debate. Yet we hear this hue and cry from members opposite that they do not want to support Motion No. 17. Somehow they are trying to argue that by adding 20 hours of debate per week, it prevents them from speaking effectively on issues that they feel are important. How can that be? How can adding time for debate each and every day be a bad thing? In other words, we cannot have it both ways.
If members of the opposition are trying to make an argument that they need more time for debate on bills, if members of the opposition argue that time allocation prevents them from speaking on bills, how can they then oppose our attempt to add more hours to the day to give them the ability to debate the very bills they are complaining about now, saying that they do not have proper time for thorough examination? It makes no sense. Their argument does not seem to make any sense whatsoever.
Let me give one small example of a bill we want to debate and hopefully pass before we rise for the summer. This is only one of many. Bill S-2, on matrimonial property rights for aboriginal women on reserves, is a bill that has been criticized and opposed by members opposite, both of the official opposition and the third party, for reasons that I can only think about. Again, it defies any rational or logical thought, in my opinion.
What is Bill S-2? Bill S-2 proposes to enact legislation that would allow women living on reserves to have the same basic rights that every other woman in Canada enjoys now. Canadians may be quite appalled to learn that currently, on reserve, if a woman is married and living in a house, but then becomes divorced, she has no right to 50% of the property that she and her husband co-own.
Let me repeat that. An aboriginal woman living on a reserve, living in a house with her husband, who gets divorced, cannot claim 50% of the property that she and her spouse previously owned. That is abominable. That defies any logical thinking by any fair-minded Canadian.
However, both opposition parties in this place oppose our attempts to give aboriginal women the same rights every other woman in Canada currently enjoys. Why? I have asked them. We have yet to hear a logical answer. We have yet to hear an answer that makes any sense.
Members opposite continually seem to criticize our government, saying that we really do not have the best interests of Canadian woman at heart, yet this very bill, which they should be embracing, they oppose, for no good reason. I asked the member for Winnipeg North earlier tonight to give me one reason the Liberal Party of Canada opposes our bill. He could not do so. Why? I can think of several reasons, but none of them make any sense.
The basic point is that we want to debate that bill. We want Canadians to understand what this bill would mean to aboriginal women. We are asking for additional time in this place over the course of the next few weeks to debate this bill, and many others like it, that we believe are important to Canadians.
We have bills that deal with the economy of our country. We have bills dealing with the safety and security of Canadians. We have bills that I know Canadians want to see debated and passed.
However, members opposite are opposing our attempts to do just that. Again, how can it possibly make sense to, on one hand, criticize our government for restricting debate and on the other hand oppose our attempt to add hours to the sitting of this legislature for the purpose of debate? It makes no sense.
I know that I have more time available to me, but I also understand that members opposite wish to make some presentations this evening and that by eight o'clock, this debate will be concluded, so I will conclude my remarks, allowing the opposition members their 10 minutes for questions and comments.
Let me just conclude with this statement, once again. All our government is attempting is to allow more fulsome debate on government legislative agenda items. If members opposite do not want to be sitting extended hours, because they do not want to put in the time for meaningful debate, they should simply say so.
Our government believes that increasing the hours to allow for more debate is something Canadians would embrace.
It is a very simple situation. They either agree that more debate is a good thing, or they say that more debate is something they do not want to engage in. I think one answer is the answer Canadians would embrace; the other answer shows the sheer hypocrisy of the arguments being presented by members opposite.
- MPconWed 4:05 pm | Ontario, Alma-Lac-St-Jean
Mr. Speaker, I have been listening to the hon. member for Winnipeg North quite a bit today and, as a matter of fact, most days. Today, his main point is about restriction of debate. His main point is that he does not get enough chance to speak. It is important that he should have an opportunity to speak. The last time I checked he had spoken in the House over a period of months and years more than 50 other MPs put together.
I wonder if the hon. member should be a little more circumspect when he talks about the subject, especially when there are only 34 members in his own caucus and they need a chance to speak.
- MPconWed 3:15 pm | Saskatchewan, Regina—Qu'Appelle
I declare the motion defeated.
It being 6:19 p.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on today's order paper.
- MPconWed 3:10 pm | Saskatchewan, Regina—Qu'Appelle
The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at second reading stage of Bill C-463 under private members' business.
- MPconWed 2:25 pm | Saskatchewan, Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre
Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to my hon. colleague's comments, and I found them astonishing. He is trying to suggest to Canadians that the reason the Liberal Party is opposing the motion is because it feels we are trying to get out of this Parliament early, and for that reason he feels his party has to oppose it. Nothing could be further from the truth. We are scheduled to sit until June 21. We are merely saying that we want to add additional hours of debate, something the opposition parties have been clamouring for this entire session, so we can address the pieces of legislation we have on the order paper.
One of those pieces of legislation that I want to speak to quite briefly, and ask my hon. colleague a question about, is Bill S-2, the matrimonial property act, which would allow aboriginal women on reserve to have the same basic rights that every other woman in Canada has. Could the member tell me why his party is opposing it? It would seem to be a no-brainer that every Canadian would agree to, and yet the Liberal Party and the NDP oppose allowing aboriginal women on reserve to have the same basic matrimonial rights that every other Canadian woman has. We want to debate that. We need extra time to try to convince the parties opposite to support it.
Could the member opposite please tell me why he wants to deny aboriginal women the same basic human rights that every other Canadian woman has?
- MPconWed 2:15 pm | Ontario, Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke
- MPconWed 1:15 pm | Ontario, Elgin—Middlesex—London
Mr. Speaker, the House leader just mentioned the not criminally responsible reform act, which has been before the House but has not been allowed to come to a vote. He also mentioned items before the House being able to come to a vote. Back home we are told many times as parliamentarians that we seem to discuss the same items a lot. People say that every time they turn on the TV, parliamentarians are discussing the same thing over and over again.
Could the minister please tell us again how important it is that we finally get to a vote on the many pieces of legislation before the House?
- MPconWed 12:55 pm | Ontario, Alma-Lac-St-Jean
Mr. Speaker, it is important that the government continue to support tangible achievements to keep our streets and our communities safe, in Orléans and across the country.
Since the last election two years ago, our government has taken action to protect children from sex offenders and put an end to house arrest for violent offenders who have committed serious crimes. We have targeted organized crime groups that make and possess illicit substances for the purpose of trafficking.
With the additional time provided for in the motion, will we have the opportunity to debate new initiatives to keep our streets and our communities safe in Blackburn Hamlet, Beacon Hill and Convent Glen and from coast to coast to coast?
- MPconWed 12:05 pm | Saskatchewan, Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre
Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to eight petitions.
While I am on my feet, I move:
That the House do now proceed to orders of the day.
- MPconWed 12:05 pm | Saskatchewan, Regina—Qu'Appelle
The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the Motion?
- MPconWed 12:00 pm | Ontario, Ottawa West—Nepean
Mr. Speaker, I think the Prime Minister spoke to that issue at a press conference with journalists earlier today.
- MPconWed 12:00 pm | Territories (yk, nt, nu), Nunavut
Mr. Speaker, as I announced last month, our government is taking action to support the health and safety of Canadians and their families. Canadians expect that the products they find on store shelves are safe. It is clear that some products containing small powerful magnets pose a danger to children, so we have taken action to have them removed from the marketplace.
As Health Minister and as a mother, I am proud to say that our government has made supporting and protecting families a priority.
- MPconWed 11:55 am | Ontario, Niagara Falls
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Langley for standing up for the rights of victims. I am proud to indicate that the government fully supports this legislation and I urge all members of the House to do so as well.
The legislation is consistent with our past efforts to crack down on violent offenders. For instance, we have already eliminated the use of house arrest for child sexual offences.
Canadians gave us a strong mandate to promote the rights of victims in Canada. The safe at home bill from the member for Langley would do precisely that.
- MPconWed 11:55 am | Ontario, Ottawa West—Nepean
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister spoke to this issue at a press conference earlier today. Obviously we believe this payment was inappropriate. That is why Mr. Wright offered his resignation and that is why it was immediately accepted.
- MPconWed 11:55 am | British Columbia, Langley
Mr. Speaker, in my riding of Langley, families have been forced to endure constant turmoil when the sex offender of their child was permitted to serve house arrest in their neighbourhood.
In one case, a sex offender served his sentence across the street from the young victim. In another case, it was right next door. This is why I introduced Bill C-489, the safe at home bill. This bill would prohibit child sex offenders from coming within two kilometres of their victim's home.
Will the Minister of Justice please inform the House as to the government's position on this important bill?
- MPconWed 11:55 am | Ontario, La Prairie
Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to family reunification. In fact, thanks to our plan for faster family reunification, we are on track to cut the backlog and wait times in half so families will be reunited with their parents and grandparents.
In 2012-13, we are admitting the highest level of parents and grandparents in 20 years.
- MPconWed 11:50 am | Ontario, Cambridge
Mr. Speaker, of course, we do. In fact, that is why we have made record investments in science, technology and innovation that the NDP consistently votes against. We have increased support for our granting councils at every single opportunity that we have had. In addition, our government is supporting over 10,000 scientists, researchers and students across the country through the discovery grants program, scholarships and fellowships. Our government is on the right track.
- MPconWed 11:45 am | British Columbia, Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam
Mr. Speaker, the Canada-U.K. relationship is broad and deep and, of course, has survived through profound international change. In recent years, our relationship has grown even stronger with the celebration of Her Majesty's Golden and Diamond Jubilees, as well as successful visits of the Prince of Wales as well as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
On June 13 of this year, for the first time since Prime Minister Mackenzie King had the privilege in 1942, our Prime Minister will be speaking to both Houses of the U.K. Parliament to advance Canada's interests in Europe and work together with the U.K. on our prosperity and security together.
- MPconWed 11:45 am | Prince Edward Island, Egmont
Mr. Speaker, the independent investigation by the Public Service Commission did not find any evidence of any wrongdoing or influence on the part of ministers or any political staff in this matter.
I hope that member is listening. The Public Service Commission report clearly states, “No evidence was found to support allegations of political influence in the ACOA investigations.”
ACOA has taken actions on all the recommendations of the Public Service Commission.
- MPconWed 11:45 am | Ontario, London West
Mr. Speaker, this past Monday, many Canadians and those in my riding of London West took part in Victoria Day celebrations. It is an annual occasion that marks the strong historical ties between Canada and the United Kingdom. The relationship between our two countries is deeply rooted in our common history, our shared values, our tradition of parliamentary democracy, and our strong family and people-to-people ties.
As chair of the Canada-U.K. Parliamentary Group, I would like to ask the Minister of Canadian Heritage to comment on the Canada-U.K. relationship and ways in which it might be strengthened in the near future.
- MPconWed 11:40 am | Ontario, Ottawa West—Nepean
Mr. Speaker, obviously the government, as it always does, will co-operate fully with the independent parliamentary ethics officer.
- MPconWed 11:35 am | Ontario, Ottawa West—Nepean
Mr. Speaker, the government obviously does not direct police authorities.
What we have said is that this Parliament has established an independent ethics officer, Mary Dawson. This matter has been referred to her. Obviously we have said, as we always do, that we will fully co-operate with any review she should choose to conduct.
- MPconWed 11:30 am | Ontario, Ottawa West—Nepean
Mr. Speaker, the member opposite wants a document tabled that no one in the government is aware exists with respect to legal documents surrounding this payment.
Nigel Wright accepted sole responsibility for his action. He accepted sole responsibility for his decision, and the Prime Minister immediately accepted his resignation.
- MPconWed 11:05 am | British Columbia, South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale
Mr. Speaker, May 11 was a big day for soccer in British Columbia. The adult provincial championships were held at West Hills Stadium in Victoria. The women's final was claimed, 1-0, by Surrey United when Chelsey Hannesson took advantage of a pass headed by Ally Benes and squeezed a tight-angled shot past the keeper into the net. The Surrey United Women have now won an unprecedented 10 consecutive provincial championships.
A few hours later, the Surrey United Men's team also won its final, 1-0, for its second consecutive provincial championship. The game was won on an early goal when United's Colin Streckman stepped up for a penalty shot and scored with measured accuracy into the bottom corner, giving the goalkeeper no chance.
Both Surrey United teams are from Cloverdale, in my district, where our ideal climate allows teams to practice and play year-round. Surrey United men and women will now move on to the nationals in Halifax this October.
Congratulations Surrey United.
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