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 a.m.

Chair, imagiNation 150 (Calgary)

Colin Jackson

Thank you.

A gift could be as simple as moving your barbecue to the front lawn and inviting neighbours you've never met to a conference on the future of Confederation.

One of the elements that fascinates me, which would be difficult for the government to engage in but which it probably should, is what our obligations are. We speak frequently about our rights to vote, human rights, and so forth, and they're to be celebrated, of course. But my understanding is that my obligations as a Canadian are to pay taxes and to serve on a jury, if called, and that's about it. Is that sufficient? Is there something more we could wrap around this notion of our formal obligations to each other?

To the point about corporate involvement and business involvement, my experience so far--of course, it's very short, it's just a year old--is that there's a quick willingness to explore the contribution of finances and time. But a question I'm getting from all kinds of businesses in Calgary is on how they involve employees. Well, maybe it's that you go to Tim's, buy some coffee, get some donuts, and have a conversation about what we can do as a business for the centenary.

Corporations, again, in Calgary and elsewhere, have remarkable networks nationally and internationally. That's to Peter's point about how we recognize our global nature. Well, Nexen has business interests in the North Sea, in the Middle East, and in many places. Those are networks we can activate.

10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Rob Moore

You're out of time.

10 a.m.

NDP

Pierre Nantel Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

I'm out of time.

10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Rob Moore

Next is Mr. Young.

November 3rd, 2011 / 10 a.m.

Conservative

Terence Young Oakville, ON

Thank you, Chair.

Thank you, gentlemen, for coming here today and for giving your time. It's very informative for us.

I'm a little older than Mr. Brown and Mr. Armstrong, so I actually knew the song very well by Bobby Gimby, the Pied Piper, about Canada. That's very memorable for my generation, my group, anyway.

I also wanted to thank Mr. Peter Aykroyd for his definition of patriotism. It is very simple: “[T]his is my home, my native land.” I'm sure that this “Anniversary Axiomatic” will be very helpful as a template or guide for this committee and for the government.

It must be nice to be called back. They still need you. They still need your advice.

Mr. Aykroyd, you commented that one suggestion you had for the 150th is to involve the private sector more. Do you have any other suggestions to make our 150th more exciting?

10 a.m.

Professional Engineer, As an Individual

Peter Aykroyd

It's too complicated and too extensive a question to be answered in anything but a very extensive omnibus way, and I'm not capable of doing that.

There are lots of suggestions. I noticed in the paper given to me by the clerk of your committee that there are quite a few suggestions already for you to start on. I think that's not a bad beginning. I appreciate the work that was done to put that together.

That's my best answer to that.

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

Terence Young Oakville, ON

Okay, that's helpful as well. Thank you very much.

One of the things I'm interested in for the 150th celebration, and leading up to it— we want this to be a celebration that leads up to 2017--is telling Canadian stories. For example, I don't think very many Canadians know that Sir John Graves Simcoe, the first governor of Ontario, banned slavery in Upper Canada 60 years before the American Civil War, and not a shot was fired. I'd love to see that story told in film or dance or opera or whatever.

Peter MacLeod, I wanted to ask if you have any suggestions on how to involve Canadians in the arts more in the celebrations.

10:05 a.m.

Principal, MASS LBP

Peter MacLeod

Well, I think, actually, Colin, who is the head of the Confederation Centre of the Arts, and the Epcor Centre for the arts in Calgary may have more suggestions about that.

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

Terence Young Oakville, ON

I'm going to ask him as well.

10:05 a.m.

Principal, MASS LBP

Peter MacLeod

All right, good.

I think the arts are still important, because they convey a kind of vitality, right? They are a place for experimentation and a place for public imagination. It's arts high and low. You look to Toronto, where we have the incredible Manifesto urban arts festival that happens every year. Again, it's not about creating everything anew. It's about connecting with organizations and giving them a nudge right now, which doesn't necessarily mean funding. It means just saying to start thinking now. Suggest to all the arts associations that this year is a good time to bring it up at the AGM and to come before this committee perhaps in the future to share with you their plans. You have tremendous convening power to ask any of these arts executives to do the homework required to think about how the arts can play a role.

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

Terence Young Oakville, ON

Do you have any thoughts on seed money or contests, or anything like that?

10:05 a.m.

Principal, MASS LBP

Peter MacLeod

Money that can be put toward convening is really important.

This may be a broader point about the sesquicentennial, but no one has asked about how well we are going to use Facebook and Twitter and technology to make this all great. Of course, it's going to play an important role, but let's not forget that in the centennial the federal government funded the movement of hundreds of thousands of high school students on buses and trains across the country so they could simply see their country. Canada hasn't gotten any smaller in the course of the past 40-odd years. We're going to need the federal government to continue, as William Thorsell has written, to help people mix up, move around, and see their country. We need that at the planning stage. We need that as part of the celebration.

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

Terence Young Oakville, ON

I'd like to ask Mr. Jackson the same question about ways to involve people in the arts telling Canadian stories.

10:05 a.m.

Chair, imagiNation 150 (Calgary)

Colin Jackson

To build on what Peter is saying, I believe very much in the government's convening ability, but also the challenging ability. I think funding is necessary but not necessarily funding. I think there is an obligation that can be promoted for those of us who benefit from being part of this nation, to contribute to this nation, regardless of whether we're funded. If we require and can make the case for public funding for this particular project, excellent. But we should be doing it anyway. I would argue strongly with you that the first thought isn't seed funding; the first thought is articulating a challenge.

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

Terence Young Oakville, ON

That's very helpful.