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

9:50 a.m.

Professional Engineer, As an Individual

Peter Aykroyd

It was not. “The Anniversary Axiomatique”, which were my 10 precepts for a successful centennial or a successful anniversary, was done after the fact, by analyzing the programs that we had finished, by taking what were the elements of those programs and then saying, “Well, wait a minute, what did that mean?” Out of those dropped those 10 precepts, but they came out after the fact, not before.

9:50 a.m.

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

I'm not going to go through all of them because there are time constraints, but I believe from reading through it that if you developed an instrument we could use to evaluate activities we choose to do and try to perpetuate, and if we used an instrument to evaluate those to see whether they met some of the criteria—because those are criteria from successful events that we did last time—in running them through that lens we would probably have a pretty good tool to evaluate.

That may be a legacy that your book provides us. I want to thank you for that. I think I'm going to push that forward as a recommendation.

9:50 a.m.

Professional Engineer, As an Individual

Peter Aykroyd

Thank you. I think it will live on. It's good.

9:50 a.m.

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

Mr. MacLeod, you said something that has inspired me, and I think it is something else we should talk about: you believe that the sesquicentennial should be an exercise in public imagination. It goes back to what Mr. Jackson said about top down and bottom up.

I agree with you that we have to have the ability to provide Canadians the opportunity to imagine what the sesquicentennial means to them and be able to develop their own events and their own infrastructure in their local communities, and we need to be able to provide the resources necessary from a federal level so that they can express this imagination.

Do you have any suggestions, so that we don't make it top down, as to how we can provide the resources and the supports necessary without being too controlling of what happens on the ground?

9:50 a.m.

Principal, MASS LBP

Peter MacLeod

You have some immediate assets at hand. The first is the work I've already mentioned by David MacKenzie, with P.E.I. 2014. That's a great opportunity, and I know there is the possibility of federal government commitment to and participation in that exercise.

What I have tried to say today is that I believe the federal government's role is really about convening, ultimately, and providing some of the connective tissue through the symbols and other iconography.

Get started by looking to those groups that can convene Canadians today. Work with P.E.I. 2014. Work with the YMCAs of Canada. They had an enormous role in the staging and planning of the centennial, with 52 associations clear across this country. Look to one of the important legacies of Canada 125 ,and that's the Trans Canada Trail, which they would very much like to complete and finish connecting in time for 2017. They've had the idea that we need a Trans Canada Trail party to get Canadians out and hiking on that day.

I think if you even just brainstorm among yourselves, you'll quickly be able to spot local civic associations, many of which have provincial and national connections, that could work with you to stage that conversation today. You don't need to reinvent the wheel. Work with our national broadcaster as well. I think it has an important role to play here.

9:55 a.m.

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

I have one more question, but I'm really low on time, so I'm going to make it a quick one.

It's in relation to what Mr. Simms was saying. We have many municipalities and smaller communities in the rural parts of this country that will have difficulty, if a program is one-third, one-third, one-third funded, coming up with their third. The province and the federal government can allocate large budgets to this project; they can meet their two-thirds.

My suggestion would be to have some sort of base line that all municipalities get and on top of it a top-up of local investment in which they can engage with one-third. I really think that if this is going to be an event that is promoted across the country, we have to provide every community, every group across the country, with the ability to do something.

So I suggest, Scott, base line funding for everyone so that they could do something; then if they have more resources available they could engage in a program divided into thirds. That might be an answer. What are your feelings on that?

9:55 a.m.

Principal, MASS LBP

Peter MacLeod

I don't have a technical view on the financing of 2017, but I would suggest that it's no surprise that government already has a very big footprint in this country. One of the very simple things the federal government did was to insist that the centennial logo be printed on every cheque that was sent to Canadians in the year before; thus in 1966 and 1967, every veteran's cheque, every benefit the government sent out had that little logo on it.

Conduct a kind of search across government about all those contact points with Canadians and use them as channels to communicate this opportunity. Every time you step across a sidewalk that has one of those Centennial symbols stamped into it, it should be a reminder to each of you to speed up, because we're getting there quickly.

9:55 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Rob Moore

Thank you, Mr. Armstrong.

Now we're moving into five-minute rounds, in which you have five minutes for the question and the answer.

We'll move to you, Mr. Nantel, first.

November 3rd, 2011 / 9:55 a.m.

NDP

Pierre Nantel Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Thank you.

First, I really appreciate your presence here, Mr. Aykroyd. Honestly, it's a big privilege for us.

Obviously 1967 came during a very rich, candid, and optimistic era. The last 45 years have brought many changes concerning national unity tensions and the economy also, which is not as clear as it was.

If you were to be reassigned today for our 150th, how would you adapt to these changes?

9:55 a.m.

Professional Engineer, As an Individual

Peter Aykroyd

I didn't understand the question.

9:55 a.m.

NDP

Pierre Nantel Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

If you wanted to be reassigned for the 150th anniversary, would you make any changes in your approach, considering the changes Canada has been through in the last 45 years.

9:55 a.m.

Professional Engineer, As an Individual

Peter Aykroyd

Absolutely. It would be essential to do that. It would be prudent for any planner to make an assessment of that and come right up to date with their database and their opinions about trends, absolutely. Some of the work that is going to come out of your committee will reflect that for sure.

I'd like to say something that I have to mention, and that is what we call the private sector. Where was the private sector in the centennial? Nowhere. And the big corporations of Canada? Nowhere.

The only corporation that stepped up to the bat was the Royal Bank. They donated $50,000 every year to some worthy cause upon application, and it was considered a centennial gift. Nobody else did that, not one.

One has to pause and wonder why the ethos and personality of the corporations of Canada made them so reluctant to take part. One of the answers was that they went to Expo, because Expo had some place for them and had a structure for them, so that the rest of the celebrations across the country in which all Canadians were participating were neglected.

It's something to think about. What part will the private sector play in the upcoming anniversary?

9:55 a.m.

NDP

Pierre Nantel Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Thank you, Mr. Aykroyd.

My other question is for Mr. MacLeod. In March 2010 you met with many people to bring in ideas for the next celebration. Were there any themes that popped out overwhelmingly? Let's say we're talking about the....

I'm going to speak in French.

Let's consider the example of health insurance, which has considerably changed matters in Canada. Has this theme come out? Have other themes come out? I essentially heard you talk about the success of 1967. What ideas have you received for the future?

10 a.m.

Principal, MASS LBP

Peter MacLeod

Thank you for the question.

The report we published from the conference identified seven or eight principles that the conference thought should inform the design of 2017.

The first is the idea that diversity is Canada's pride; that it's part of our character and it's our strength, and 2017 should reflect that; that it is big ideas that ultimately contribute to a lasting legacy; that it should be an occasion to rekindle the sense of public imagination; then the idea, which I mentioned, that demography is destiny.

One point that was discussed at length at the conference is that the novelty in 1967 of becoming a multicultural country, bringing in more immigrants per capita than any other country in the world, a legacy that has continued, is no longer the whole story. We're also a country of emigrants; that is, in fact 8% of our population lives abroad, and that is a higher percentage than for any other country in the G-8. It's not just about Canadians of convenience. It's about young people pursuing education, about travel opportunities, about business people around the world.

So how, In 2017, do we make it a global celebration? How do we activate our embassies and our consulates to participate in this? The conference talked about ours being a better, fairer society, and said that ultimately the sesquicentennial needs to be shared by all.

10 a.m.

NDP

Pierre Nantel Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

My last question is to Mr. Jackson.

I liked a lot your idea of Canadians giving each other gifts. To me this is a nexus. We're talking about ways of doing the celebration and how it worked well in the 100th, thanks to Mr. Aykroyd's efforts and team. But tell me more about your concept of gifts.