Evidence of meeting #10 for Canadian Heritage in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was centennial.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

10:15 a.m.

Professional Engineer, As an Individual

Peter Aykroyd

We sent out letters to all the graphic designers in Canada who had experience in graphic design, and we asked them to submit in a standard form what they would consider to be an appropriate symbol for the centennial. That was unsuccessful, because the executive committee of the Centennial Commission did not like any of what they sent us. We had to give them the prize money anyway--first, second, and third--because we had promised to give them some money.

It was in desperation that we went to a young graphic designer who worked for one of the printing houses in Toronto and asked him if he could design something for us quickly, and he designed something that everybody liked. It was really odd.

10:15 a.m.

Conservative

Parm Gill Brampton—Springdale, ON

Thank you. I appreciate that.

My next question may be for Mr. MacLeod. In the last 45 years the demographics within Canada have gone through a significant change process. There will be a lot of new Canadians participating in the 150th.

What sort of impact might that have or what would you say we need to keep in mind while preparing, considering the new Canadians and the new ethnographics?

10:15 a.m.

Principal, MASS LBP

Peter MacLeod

One of the organizations that could be very helpful is the Institute for Canadian Citizenship, the former Governor General's legacy, run by Gillian Hewitt Smith. They've created a cultural access program for all new Canadians so that they automatically get free admittance to the country's best art galleries, museums, and other cultural institutions. They're also responsible for the enhanced citizenship ceremony process, and they would be a good group to tap for some of their ideas.

There's no question that demographics have changed this country dramatically, and again, I think that's why this isn't just an exercise in public engagement. That's only one-half of the equation. It is as much an opportunity for public learning. There's a lot we don't know about ourselves, whether it's our contemporary reality or whether it's our history or what some of the choices facing this country over the course of the next generation really look like.

For all of those who are new to Canada, perhaps it makes that conversation only that much more relevant and pressing. We have excellent institutions across this country that can help stage that conversation, but at least we know from the polling research that people are keen to have it.

10:15 a.m.

Conservative

Parm Gill Brampton—Springdale, ON

Thank you.

I have a question for Mr. Jackson.

First of all, I want to thank you for the wonderful work you and your organization are doing.

Have you had any interest from other cities to take what you're doing and implement it in their own cities?

10:15 a.m.

Chair, imagiNation 150 (Calgary)

Colin Jackson

Thank you.

We intend for what we do to be offered freely to anybody else who wishes to pick up both the content, things like the symbol we've developed, and what we've learned about engaging people, the projects and so forth that are possible. It's there to be had by anybody who wants it.

There are sparks in different parts of the country. There's no organization as advanced as we are yet. We're not that advanced, but there's nobody else that advanced. For example, in London, Ontario, there is a group that I think is coming out of the Corps of Commissionaires, who are developing a memorial project. There are those kinds of focused projects, but not yet broader umbrella groups.

10:20 a.m.

Conservative

Parm Gill Brampton—Springdale, ON

That's great.

Are you seeing a trend in the types of gifts or projects that Canadians are wishing for on your site?

10:20 a.m.

Chair, imagiNation 150 (Calgary)

Colin Jackson

This probably reflects our own biases.

A lot of what is coming back are ways of getting to know each other better; to Peter's point, about discovering each other. There are stories about origin and how we came to be in this country, and stories about what our shared dreams may become and ways of investigating those. Those are the kinds of tones and trends.

Again, Mr. Gill, I'm not sure if that's who we are, what we're hearing with our ears, as opposed to what the community is saying. We're hearing more about human learning and connection than the physical projects at this point.

10:20 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Rob Moore

Thank you, Mr. Gill.

Ms. Boutin-Sweet.

November 3rd, 2011 / 10:20 a.m.

NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet Hochelaga, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I also thank our three witnesses for being with us.

Mr. MacLeod, in your presentation, you talked about who we are, how far we have come and where we are going. That's very interesting.

I'm going to go back to something you mentioned. You talked about symbols. I agree that symbols are very important. You talked about the permanent legacy of these kinds of parks. However, you also mentioned something that I found even more interesting with regard to permanent legacies. You talked about housing. So unless I'm mistaken, you were talking about the construction of social housing.

Could you give us more details on that topic? If not, would you agree that this kind of permanent legacy might be very important in a changing society such as ours, with increasing wage disparities and poverty problems?

10:20 a.m.

Principal, MASS LBP

Peter MacLeod

That's a very important question.

The centennial responded to some very real needs that this country had. It was the Royal Bank that identified housing as one of them. It wasn't part of the centennial program, but of course the 1970s was an era of substantial federal investment in public housing that created some really lasting and successful neighbourhoods in major cities across this country.

I don't have a strong position or counsel for you in this regard, except that this planning phase really needs to be based on a thorough and unvarnished view of where this country is at and what it needs. It's not just because we want to be tough-minded about it, but because we want to connect with real Canadians in their everyday experience. We want to be able to make this an occasion or event that really corresponds to their lives. I think it's wholly appropriate that the investigation of this committee address many of the social phenomena, obstacles, or challenges that Canadians are facing, and thinks about how an occasion like the sesquicentennial isn't just a party but is an opportunity for public imagination and public investment.

I also agree that the private sector needs to step up to the plate this time around and be part of the conversation too.

10:20 a.m.

NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet Hochelaga, QC

I saw Mr. Jackson nod his head. So I assume you are in favour of that principle.

Would you like to comment on the question?

10:20 a.m.

Chair, imagiNation 150 (Calgary)

Colin Jackson

One of the opportunities that this marvellous event offers is that there are multiple sources of leadership in this nation. If government can behave in a way that lifts up those sources of leadership, people who are deeply concerned about social justice will be honoured and recognized, people who have other gifts to offer us. Government's opportunity to convene and to challenge is the greatest value at this point in our journey.

10:20 a.m.

Principal, MASS LBP

Peter MacLeod

It should be a great relief to every member of this committee that you don't need to come up with the single big idea that's going to please everyone. I think your job is to create a sense of urgency about this and to develop a framework. Whether your thing is the arts, public education, housing, or travel, you should recognize 2017 as an important moment to make your mark. If you can come up with a framework that helps Canadians to recognize that opportunity, you will have catalyzed a remarkable series of events for the country.

10:25 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Rob Moore

Mr. Hillyer.

10:25 a.m.

Conservative

Jim Hillyer Lethbridge, AB

Thank you.

Mr. Jackson, you talked a bit about what your group is doing. Could you explain how your group came to be? Who thought of it? How did it get started? Would you have any recommendations on what we can do to help other such groups get started?