Canadian Heritage Committee on Nov. 17th, 2011
A recording is available from Parliament.
On the agenda
November 17th, 2011 / 8:50 a.m.
The Vice-Chair Pierre Nantel
Good morning, everyone.
This morning, we have a special presentation. We have representatives from the Glenn Gould Foundation, Mr. Brian Levine and Ms. Clelia Farrugia. Although they appear in second place on our agenda, we will start with them. There is another special thing: the video being presented is in English only but our interpreters will give us a simultaneous translation on the sound system. If you want to listen to music, you will have to find two headphones, one for English and the other for French.
After that, we will hear our other witnesses, Mr. William Thorsell and Dr. Robynne Rogers Healy.
Thank you very much for coming here this morning.
The clerk is advising me that there is a technical problem with translation. It should be fixed in a couple of minutes.
We will now present this video from the Glen Gould Foundation. Then Mr. Levine will address the committee.
Mr. Levine, do you have something to say before we proceed with the video presentation?
Brian Levine Executive Director, Glenn Gould Foundation
To begin, this video is a good backgrounder to help set the context for what I'll be saying. I think it's pretty self-explanatory.
The Vice-Chair Pierre Nantel
Thank you very much.
Mr. Levine, the floor is yours.
Executive Director, Glenn Gould Foundation
Chairman, and honourable members of the committee, thank you so much for the opportunity to speak with you today.
The Glenn Gould Foundation would be honoured to play a significant role in the Canada 150 celebrations. In fact, we have actually been developing plans to mark this historic year for some time. To explain how, I need to outline our primary areas of focus today. Then we can move on to our plans for the future.
First is to cement the Glenn Gould Foundation's position as a global cultural institution and the Glenn Gould Prize as the world's pre-eminent award for artistic achievement and creativity in the service of humanity, and as a powerful vehicle for using the arts to transform lives. Effectively, our objective is to make Canada the home of the Nobel Prize of the arts. In so doing, our goal is to project Canada as the leading centre of excellence and innovation on the world stage. It is to build the Canadian brand, if you will, using our most iconic symbol of originality and creativity: Glenn Gould.
Second is the celebration of our future. Of course, the young emerging artists of today are our creative future, which is why we present the Glenn Gould Protégé Prize to recognize and promote the promise of outstanding young artists. Now we're going further with the establishment of the Glenn Gould concerts. They are a wonderful platform for recognizing and promoting the most gifted young musical talent in the land and for boosting their career development by associating them with Gould's legacy.
The first of these concerts featured eight brilliant young artists and was held for Their Excellencies, the vice-regal couple, at Rideau Hall last December. Our plan is to continue in this vein, seeking out the best and brightest. In fact, this very evening we have a concert at Carnegie Hall featuring a young Montreal pianist.
Now the template has been established, and we're going to be partnering with other arts organizations across the country to present these Glenn Gould concerts to the Canadian public from coast to coast to coast.
That brings us to 2017 and the unique opportunity to take our foundation's 30 years of experience with world-class celebrations and the promotion of gifted young artists to the ultimate level by creating a Canadian musical dream team of incredible young musicians. This roster of fresh new talent will reflect the rich diversity of musical cultures and genres in our great country, from east coast Celtic to Québecois chanteurs; from aboriginal, jazz, classical, country, blues, urban, singer-songwriter to folk rock and metal. We plan to conduct a national search for young Canadian musicians of true superstar potential throughout 2016. This will create public awareness, anticipation, and excitement, both for our young artists who are vying for pride of place and for the coming 150th anniversary year. These exceptional young Canadians will receive their big breaks in the sesquicentennial year. Like our Olympians, they'll be given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own the podium by becoming our musical ambassadors not only to Canadians, telling our musical stories to ourselves, but also to the world.
In short, the Glenn Gould Foundation proposes to mount a spectacular year-long Canada 150 world tour. Our specially selected dream team, representing the cream of our future musical stars, will perform for six months across the country, in major venues and smaller communities from coast to coast to coast, in a unique showcase presentation of Canada's most exciting musicians under 25. The six months in Canada will culminate in an epic Canada Day concert to express musically the dreams, hopes, and aspirations of all Canadians.
For the remaining six months we'll be taking the show on the road, visiting world cultural capitals and spreading awareness of Canadian excellence and cultural brilliance. Our young artists will be a living expression of Canada's national confidence, maturity, and culture of innovation. They will be spreading the word to our friends and most valuable trading partners alike. The adventures and triumphs of the Canada 150 musical team will be the stuff of legend. Captured by media and preserved in documentaries, they will inspire all Canadians, especially our youth, to strive for excellence and to always believe in the limitless potential of this great nation.
It is our hope to present a commemorative multi-media memento of our musical Team Canada 150 as a gift to every Canadian schoolchild as an inspiration in years to come and as a keepsake to remember this historic year.
The Glenn Gould Foundation possesses the experience, the network, the expertise, and certainly the big vision, and above all, the powerful symbol of Canadian excellence represented by Gould himself that are needed to bring this ambitious goal of a national celebration of our musical future to the world.
Thank you for letting me share the vision with you. I hope the members of the committee will embrace it and join with us in helping to make this dream a reality.
The Vice-Chair Pierre Nantel
Thank you, Mr. Levine.
Mr. Thorsell, would you please introduce your topic.
William Thorsell Consultant, As an Individual
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I thank you for the opportunity to come here and think about Canada 2017. My remarks today are taken from a paper that I gave in July to the annual meeting of Canada's federal and provincial ministers of culture and heritage in Whitehorse. This is a much abbreviated version of that paper, which I have supplied to the committee.
I'm looking to start back in 1967 at the time of Canada's centennial celebrations, and to talk a little bit about how Canada has changed and suggest how I think we should think about what to do in 2017.
Our celebrations in 1967 had a major focus, Expo 67, at which I had the privilege of being the manager of the western Canada pavilion at the age of 21. In those days you could get jobs like that when you were just out of school from Alberta. Of course, Expo 67 was but a star attraction in a myriad of events and projects created to mark that centenary, many of them under the Centennial Commission, and many others coming up through the provinces and municipalities.
The centenary was a fervent mix of bottom-up and top-down projects. A lot of infrastructure was built, the National Arts Centre among other examples. We had a lot of good times. It was fun and productive, which is good to know when we don't have enough fun or are not productive enough.
But was it something more? Did the centennial and Expo 67, along with the new flag and medicare and the Canada Pension Plan, set the stage for a golden age of national unity and economic progress? Did Montreal vault into that league of international cities that we assumed it would at the time? Did our estranged regions and communities across Canada create new networks of understanding and shared purpose?
Unfortunately, the answer is no. Within three years of the centennial, we endured the extrasensory trauma of the October Crisis in Quebec, followed by the dramatic economic erosion of Montreal, a decade of national stagflation in the 1970s, not to mention shag carpets and bell bottoms and disco. We had the election of the Parti Québécois in 1976, a referendum on sovereignty association in 1980, and the dramatic intensification of western alienation, to the point of a separatist party arising in Alberta by 1980.
I think the question is, can our celebrations of 2017 make a more enduring contribution to the national project than the centennial of 1967, for all the latter's brilliance? I think so, if we act on the basis of two salient points, with a bias to looking towards the future.
The first of them is what I call the “Canadian equation”, which is the equation between land and people. Something has changed here in the last 50 years. Canadians have among the biggest claims on earth to the world's lands and oceans, and not just per capita but in terms of the sheer extent of this territory: about 7% of the global land mass is under our sovereignty. This creates a delight and a responsibility for its management that is global in depth and scope.
The grandeur of this space alone can be an enormous source of pride and commitment to Canada. Who else's nationality includes such potent and inspiring real estate? As the rest of the world's population scrabbles to live on more crowded and compromised lands, we retain a sense of Eden about our own.
What has changed in the last 50 years is the rampant degradation of ecosystems around the planet since 1967. We now realize here that competent management of our territory is of exploding significance to us and to the entire world. We are going to be famous in history, unavoidably, for how we manage the Canadian equation alone: very few people, much land, the capacity as rich people to do something about it.
To do it well, a great many more Canadians need to get out and actually experience the breadth and depth of the land. Most Canadians have no concept of the landscape of Canada, because they have never seen it.
The second salient fact since 1967 has to do with our human geography. In 1967, the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism realized that biculturalism was not a viable concept. Canada was clearly a multicultural country, which was officially recognized in 1971 with Mr. Trudeau's famous speech in Parliament.
Since then, multiculturalism, however, has grown dramatically. Several years ago, Statistics Canada published a report looking ahead to the nature of Canada's visible minority population in 2017. What did it say?
Amounting to some 7 million people—looking at 2017—these communities of predominantly Chinese, south Asian, black, Filipino, Latin American, southeast Asian, Arab, west Asian, Japanese, and Korean peoples will constitute 20% of our population. These communities are growing at six times the rate of the rest of the population. And 75% of these peoples are concentrated in the three cities of Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver—and 95% of them in our cities as a whole. The more urban we are, the more multicultural we are. Even more striking is the fact that in 2017, fully 70% of these visible minorities will have been born outside of Canada. This is the highest proportion of foreign-born Canadians in the last 100 years.
One can say something qualitatively about these numbers. Newer immigrant communities are clearly more distinctive or different from mainstream Canada than in the past. Multiculturalism once referred to various ethnicities and peoples within the ambit of Europe, that is, the west. Now it refers overwhelmingly to peoples who come from different civilizations and religious traditions and values. They are visibly and culturally much more distinctive than earlier generations of immigrants from Europe. And they are likely to maintain that distinctiveness with unusual ease and passion, abetted by unbroken relationships with their homelands in the digital age.
At the same time, our aboriginal populations are emerging as more urban, self-confident, and participatory than we have ever known them to be.
This is a very significant change from 1967. The cultural differences among our communities and regions are deeper, the size of our minority communities is larger, and the concentration of different communities in certain suburbs or provinces is bigger. All of these trends are deepening. Canada is becoming multicultural with a capital G and a capital M, Global Multiculturalism.
How do we sustain shared commitment, knowledge, and familiarity among various communities in the country—a swath of common ground, if you will—so we do not become many more communities of others, not two solitudes but many?
Given the Canadian equation of land and people and the concentration of various communities in far-flung cities and regions, how do we give these groups a real appreciation for each other and for the country, for the landscape itself? How do we make this happen?
I believe that 2017 is a very good opportunity. One of the gaping truths about Canada is that very few of us know it, either in the sense of having physically experienced it or having come to actually know fellow Canadians of different cultural and regional backgrounds. Aristotle is the one who famously said that one's first sacred duty is to “know thyself”. We don't pass that test, as Canadians, in this country.
This is where I think we have an opportunity to create a transformational year in the development of our very surprising society, a celebration with unique and serious purpose. So here is my proposal.
With great energy and conviction, we need to mix up our communities and get those mixed up communities on the road together to experience each other and the country. We can envision a national mixer and mover, if you will, on a scale not before seen in any other country, social networking of a dimension and reality unparalleled anywhere. Diversity, yes, but diversity up close and on the road.
The goal is the creation of broader, deeper human networks, more shared values, more social trust, social networking, more knowledge and pride in the country, and more commitment to the health of our lands and oceans.
And so I would say that Canada's 150th anniversary should not be about things; it should be about relationships. It should not be about places; it should be about movement among places. It should not be about existing communities or groups; it should be about networking among communities and mixing up groups. It should not be about government defining a country; it should be about individuals and groups discovering their country and thereby redefining it themselves.
Imagine something like this. Under the title, “Mix-Up and Move Around”, the Canadian social network program, Know Thyself 2017, would fund an enormous variety of projects, exactly like the Glenn Gould Foundation proposal here--a huge variety of travel and schemes--on the condition that they mix up people by ethnicities, age, and other demographic qualities, and take them into parts of Canada they have not experienced before, sometimes even across a metropolitan region.
When I was at the ROM we brought a bunch of grade 4 school kids down from Jane-Finch. They came as a philanthropic thing. I met them as they got off the bus, and I said to the teacher, “These kids have never been to this museum”. She said, “Mr. Thorsell, most of these kids have never been downtown.” They didn't know they lived in a city like this. They didn't know they lived on water. They live in suburban Toronto. That's how bad it can get.
So under the title, “Mix-Up and Move Around”, we would support only the projects that come forward that mixed up people by demographics and got them out of their own backyards into other parts of the country. That would be the lens or filter by which we would assess them.
Former UN Secretary-General Javier Pérez de Cuéllar put it this way in 1991 when he gave his whole collection of mementos to the Canadian Museum of Civilization. I went to a dinner at the Prime Minister's house and I asked him, “You're a Peruvian diplomat. Why did you give all five years of your mementos from your time as Secretary-General to a Canadian museum?”. He said he had travelled the world and that Canada was the country that the rest of the world needed to become. By that, he was talking about our species of multiculturalism and living together.
We cannot be complacent about this. We must work intelligently and intensely to keep it true. The 150th birthday of the country gives us a perfect vehicle through all of these other groups who are looking for support. The goal of Canada 150 is neither immodest nor modest: We will enrich and deepen Canada's unique national character beyond the reach of cynicism or a reversal in hope for the world.
As a postscript to realizing that people often look for material projects anyway, these are not material projects. This is move, move, move, talk, talk, learn, see, experience, and then create a Facebook page to make sure these relationships develop forever in the next 10 or 15 years, instead of having Expo 67, the centennial, just fall off a cliff.
I have two short proposals for the federal government.
First, consistent with this, let's build an unforgettable bridge over the Ottawa River like those old bridges in Venice, Paris, and London that had buildings on them. It's would not be a bridge for cars, but would be accessible only to pedestrians, that is, a Bridge of Canadian Persons. Canada is made and changed by individuals like Glenn Gould, as well as by groups. Let that bridge include a contemporary version of a national portrait gallery, if you want to use that phrase, but with gathering places, performance spaces, restaurants, bars, and lookouts over the rushing waters and romantic spires. Let that bridge be both a fact and a metaphor, identifying and illuminating the individuals, not groups, that stand out in the creation of our society.
We are also part of this great geography. So consistent with Mix-Up and Move Around and getting to know each other and Know Thyself, the Government of Canada should complete, in full dress, the Trans Canada Trail project for Canada and inaugurate it on January 1, 2017. The Trans Canada Trail literally extends and completes that bridge of persons across the Ottawa River and mixes up and moves people around in a very intimate way, literally across the country.
So the Government of Canada would complete a perfect circle—there's only one kind of circle, a perfect circle—for Canada 150 by creating the biggest social networking experience in the history of any country. The rest of the world will be dumbfounded by this. By building a Bridge of Canadian Persons in a breathtaking structure over the Ottawa River and by tying it all up into the romantic Trans Canada Trail as an accessible national artery for mixing up and moving around....
Mixing up and moving around: Know Thyself. That's it.
The Vice-Chair Pierre Nantel
Thank you very much, Mr. Thorsell, for this very clear demographic description.
We now turn to Dr. Robynne Rogers Healy.
Dr. Robynne Rogers Healey Associate Professor of History, Department of History, Political and International Studies, Trinity Western University, As an Individual
I'd like to thank both the chair and the committee for the opportunity to appear. I am before you today as an historian, and am always happy to celebrate any opportunity to discuss the heritage of our great country. I'd like to focus my comments today on the sesquicentennial celebrations in three specific areas, one of which I think is quite connected to Mr. Thorsell's comments.
The first is on 2017 as part of a nation-building process, with this caveat: let's get the history right. We sit on the cusp of a number of important celebratory events in Canadian history. As most of you know, next year is the bicentennial of the war of 1812. It has already received a fair bit of press. Two years after that marks the centennial of the beginning of the First World War which, for good or for ill, has claimed a fairly important position in Canadian history. And just over five years we shall celebrate the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation, an event that created a state, not a nation.
In 1969, shortly after the centennial celebrations of 1967, Canadian historian J. M. S. Careless published his famous article “'Limited Identities' in Canada”. Among historians, at any rate, it's famous. In that work Careless argued that region, ethnicity, and class tended to be more important signifiers of identity than national patterns and attitudes. The flood of scholarship that followed, which focused on limited, not national identities, was by his own admission not as much a response to his commentary as it was to the academic climate of universities in the late 1960s and 1970s, which reflected the cultural upheaval of a country that has had its share of discontented Canadians and has teetered occasionally on the brink of dissolution.
That immense body of work, however, should not be interpreted as evidence of the lack of a national identity. Many historians, including Careless, as well as many if not most Canadians would agree that limited identities are integral to a larger national identity. Limited identities do not negate a national identity as much as they are a particular part of it. I think most of us personally are aware of our own limited identity before we are aware of a larger national one.
However, celebratory moments such as 2017 offer us opportunities to gather around an identity that can be constructed in positive, not negative, terms. I think a perfect example of this is the torch relay that predated the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Vancouver.
Creating a national identity has been an ongoing process since the Dominion of Canada came into existence on July 1, 1867. As the country has expanded geographically and in population, Canadian history attests to the number of disputes the country's inhabitants have had about what it means to be a Canadian. But Canadians have worked through their differences. I think Canadians continue to be prepared to work across differences to find the links that connect each of us to a larger, national narrative. While we may not see ourselves in the entirety of the Canadian story, we can each know where we fit into the evolving story of Canadian history. Getting the story right, then, is critical.
Consider the centennial voyageur canoe pageant, which is viewed as one of the most successful events of the 1967 centennial year. It garnered probably the most media coverage of any of the events that year. Ten teams representing eight provinces and two territories—Prince Edward Island and what was Newfoundland at the time did not participate—took part in the race, which left Rocky Mountain House in Alberta on May 24, 1967, and arrived at the Expo site in Montreal on September 4. Organizers and publicists, representing the race as re-enacting a specific nationalist historiography, portrayed the voyageurs as the founders of Canada and legitimized Canada itself as a culturally and geographically unified nation.
In the notes I'ved handed out, I refer to an excellent article by Misao Dean on this pageant, and I really encourage people to consult that article because it examines this issue in much more detail.
The re-enactment was not authentic. There was no effort to recruit first nations or a Métis team of paddlers, even though they were the majority of the voyageurs. They did participate, I will say, but in a minority on provincial teams. They were in a majority on the territorial teams, but they experienced such horrendous racism throughout the process that it was a horrific experience.
Secondly, very little was interpreted in French, and it should be noted that the Official Languages Act did not become law until 1969. That was part of it. Very little was interpreted in French, even though it was the French who had forged a unique relationship with their first nations allies in North America, a relationship that predated and was, in my opinion, more successful than the relationship established by the English in the Hudson's Bay Company with their allies.
First nations women, who served so importantly as translators and guides to European fur traders, were entirely absent from the pageant. Despite this, the spectacle was presented as the re-enactment of the founding of the nation of Canada. It had the three founding peoples. It incorporated lots of narratives on conquering the wilderness and so on.
This type of error continues. Just this week, I was asked to write an article for a magazine focusing on one of the issues that is related to the coming celebration of the bicentennial of the War of 1812. The request was to contribute a piece on pacifism. I'm going to quote to you from the request, because I think it's important. Specifically, the request was for "...a story on how Canadians developed as a nation of peacekeepers, with direct connections to the War of 1812 and Quaker pacifism during that conflict." I was shocked. This is the area of my own research. Such a connection does not exist. My response to the request was that any such piece would be anachronistic at best, and a fabrication at worst. Reading history backwards or reading into history the things that we wish had existed does nothing, in my opinion, to encourage Canadians to learn about their history or to take any pride in it.
The second thing I would like to comment on are the opportunities to connect to local history and heritage as part of a national story. Again, this seems to connect to Mr. Thorsell's comment. From a practical perspective, I'd encourage the committee to consider the value of local history to the larger national narrative. You have already heard from a number of witnesses representing large cultural groups in Canada. Large-scale productions will play a critical role in the celebration and its legacy. Don't forget the museums, however, in every town in Canada with their shoestring budgets and cadre of loyal volunteers. I sit on a couple of those museum boards. I have been struck by their important role as a place of experiential learning for young people.
In communities across Canada, thousands of school children go through these museums' doors each year and experience the history of their communities' pioneers, connecting them to the larger story of their country. In my current community, the local museums re-enact the resource history of British Columbia's Fraser Valley, weaving together the stories and heritage of the first nations, Euro-Canadians, and Indo-Canadians, all of whom are represented by the students who come through the site. My own children grew up in a community in Alberta that was deeply steeped in its francophone heritage, and they participated in wonderful programs through those local museums. Compared with the types of facilities available in Ottawa or the provincial capitals, local heritage sites and museums can appear as the poor country cousin. Their value, however, should not be overlooked. They too should be invited to the party.
Finally, I'd like to comment briefly on the importance of education programs that reflect accurately on our country's past, and the role that the digitization of archival records might play in this.
As I'm sure all of us are aware, educational programs and access to materials are critically important to encouraging Canadians across the country to be part of the larger national story and to inspire learning about our country's history. In this digital age, it seems to me that so much more can be done to make archival materials from across the country available to all Canadians. Inspiring students to learn their history in documents is possible if the documents are widely available.
As historians, we spend a lot of time in archives. When I can share some of that experience with students in a virtual capacity, history comes alive for them. I recognize that the process has already begun. The National Archives of Canada has some amazing digitization projects that have been ongoing, and some of the provincial archives have wonderful digitization projects. I think that any expansion of this would be welcome. As Mr. Thorsell says, if we want to connect our large land and the people of this land to one another, having resources available to do that would be a welcome.
The Vice-Chair Pierre Nantel
Thank you, Dr. Healey.
Thank you for this vibrant testimony on the value of small museums.
It is now Mr. Paul Calandra's turn.
By the way, I think everyone knows that members of the committee have in turn a period of seven minutes to ask questions. After each period, a member from the opposite side has the floor.
Paul Calandra Oak Ridges—Markham, ON
Thank you all very much. I appreciate each of your coming here.
Ms. Healey, I'll start with you. You said something interesting about the small museums. I represent a community with four small museums--in Markham, Stouffville, King, and Richmond Hill. I get to spend some time there because a lot of events happen there. What strikes me is that the archival information they have is truly amazing. What also is a bit frightening is the fact that a lot of the local history seems to be getting lost as they compete for dollars.
How do we actually do that? Can our local museums somehow be connected in a different way so that they aren't necessarily competing against each other? In my area all four of these museums are located in the York region. They share a lot of common history but they compete against each other for resources and information. How do we tie them together?
You mentioned, again, archival information. We hear a lot about this. We heard it from Stratford the other day and the CBC when they came before us. Do you have additional thoughts on how we go about archiving across Canada? And what types of resources are needed to do that?
The last thing I'll leave you with is this. If I put a hundred historians in a room and tell them to write the history of Canada, how long would it take them to do it and what would it look like?
Associate Professor of History, Department of History, Political and International Studies, Trinity Western University, As an Individual
I'll start with your second question. I don't know if I can answer the third question, because I would say it would take us forever. Certainly, all of us come with our own perspective to history. I do think, however, that there is some agreement on a larger national narrative. I would not suggest that the writing of a national narrative is impossible; I would suggest that the writing of a national narrative gets bigger each year.
As to archival information and how we do this, I believe that the digital age is an opportunity for us to preserve documents in a way that didn't exist before. Of course, that's going to mean that we're going to have to be able to read those documents digitally. In 1990, had documents been digitized and saved on large square floppy disks, we would be in the unfortunate position of having to figure out how to read those documents. One thing that digitization allows for is the collection and preservation of documents in such a way that they can be shared.
Documents take up an awful lot of space. One of the problems that small, local archives face is their inability to deal with all of the materials that come to them. Within the last 50 years, and especially within the last 30 years, we've become much more aware of the importance of materials other than documents for the preservation of Canada's history. This is material history, and those artifacts are space-consuming. How do we preserve those? Regardless, I think it's important to do it.
As to how we tie museums together, I think that museums in small regions, or even in large regions, need to be encouraged to work together instead of at cross purposes. In the community that I live in—and I sit on the board of one museum—there is competition, and usually it's for resources. That's usually the problem. It's not a competition over the narrative; the competition is over who's going to get the funding to be able to do more work. Museums need to be encouraged to become part of the larger story, not just to preserve employment for themselves.
Local museums operate with important groups of volunteers. One of the archivists with whom I work in my own field is a volunteer archivist. She's over 80 years old. She drives from St. Thomas, Ontario, to Newmarket every time I want to meet with her to get into the archives. If those small archives aren't protected, we will definitely lose a critical part of Canada's history. It's not all in the national archives, or even in large provincial archives. In fact, as a historian who works largely in local archives, I think a very important part of our story is found in those places.
Paul Calandra Oak Ridges—Markham, ON
Mr. Levine, you have a very ambitious program for Canada 150. I'm wondering about some of the challenges that you're going to face, and how the government, in its Canada 150 planning, might assist you in overcoming some of those challenges in Canada and internationally.
Executive Director, Glenn Gould Foundation
Of course, there's a good deal of modelling yet to be done, and I've given you the vision in broad strokes. We're in the process of assembling a strategic planning group of people with varied expertise throughout different areas of the arts and media. I communicated just yesterday with a very senior-level, award-winning television producer who has built one of the most successful media companies in this country. He has offered his services as an ongoing adviser to the project.
We can accomplish a great deal through our own networking. Obviously, at a certain stage, dollars and cents are going to enter into the equation, and our plan is to build this in a way that is scalable from a budgetary point of view. Essentially, the increments will be the number of concerts in the tour. The assistance of provincial governments to access key performing venues and historic locations obviously will be crucial. We will be reaching out and asking them to join with us as part of this process.
I would say, based on my own experience, which is entrepreneurial, that one of the most important things a government can do is to help establish some terms of reference and objectives they would like to see met and to give us as much freedom as possible once they're satisfied we can deliver.
The week of events briefly depicted in the video that I showed from our last prize celebration was accomplished by a core staff of three persons at the foundation. These events included a 250-member orchestra that was brought from South America; and work with all of the school boards in Ontario in the creation of a multimedia study guide; an international symposium on music education with guest speakers and performers from all over the world; and visits to schools, and so on. There were literally hundreds and hundreds of moving parts,
We believe in efficiency and keeping the critical path clear of too many unnecessary obstructions, simply because we have a lot of work to do and we want to be able to focus on the things that will deliver the product and results at the end of the day. Obviously, we need to be good collaborators and communicators, if we to be fortunate enough to receive public funding to help us in the realization of this project. So I'm not saying give us the money and then leave us alone. That's not how it works, and we understand that.
But what will be of the greatest assistance to us is keeping the path as clear and non-bureaucratic as you possibly can, and trusting in the skills that our organization and our partner organizations have demonstrated. Be clear to us about what you want us to accomplish. Be clear about the subsidiary goals, that we're doing more than just putting on shows, but that we're helping to build national consciousness and awareness, that we're helping to celebrate the kind of diversity and mixing of cultures that William was talking about.
Make it clear what you expect of us and then, as long as you're satisfied that we know what we're doing, let us do it.
The Vice-Chair Pierre Nantel
Thank you, Mr. Levine.
Mr. Benskin has the floor.
Tyrone Benskin Jeanne-Le Ber, QC
Wow. I have to applaud all of you for your presentations. I had heart palpitations, quite honestly.
I want to get to Mr. Levine, but I'm going to zero in on Ms. Healey and Mr. Thorsell because I see a link between your references to the lost history of Canada and how in 2017 we have an opportunity to remedy some of that by connecting people—almost a back-to-the-future thing—by looking at our history and using it to move forward.
With regard to some of the lost history of Canada, how would you say we could present it in such a way that it doesn't become a “look what you did” history, but “this is what we've missed and this is what you as Canadians should know and be proud of”? I'll put that to both of you.