Evidence of meeting #24 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 museums.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • John McAvity  Executive Director, Canadian Museums Association
  • Kirstin Evenden  Vice-President of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer, Glenbow Museum, Canadian Museums Association
  • Benoît Légaré  Board Member, Director of Museology, Mécénat conseil inc.; Canadian Museums Association
  • Jessie Inman  Chief Executive Officer, Confederation Centre of the Arts
  • Pierre Landry  President, Société des musées québécois

12:50 p.m.

Chief Executive Officer, Confederation Centre of the Arts

Jessie Inman

May I compliment John McAvity on his idea about the train? I was personally on the discovery train of 1979 and 1980 that travelled for those two years to 120 cities and towns across the country.

In Newfoundland we actually had to put the train on a ship and sail it around the island because the gauge is different. It was such a moving experience for all of the people who worked on this train, and also for the people we visited. We landed at the top, at Botwood, Newfoundland. That's at the very top, and 3,000 people who lived there were standing on the dock waiting for us to come in so that they could see the history of Canada on this train.

I believe that a moving mobile exposition museum, our history of theatre and dance, etc., could take place for this celebration in 2017. I think it's a wonderful idea, because I've seen for myself what Canadian rural communities think about this idea.

12:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Rob Moore

Thank you, Mr. Calandra.

12:55 p.m.

Conservative

Paul Calandra Oak Ridges—Markham, ON

Mr. Chair, on a point of order, I know we're going to run out of time, but if possible could we have five minutes at the end to go in camera on committee business? There's something I want to share with the committee.

12:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Rob Moore

Okay.

Finally, we have Madame Boutin-Sweet.

12:55 p.m.

NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet Hochelaga, QC

Thank you.

I would like to bring something to your attention, Mr. Landry.

The Très-Saint-Nom-de-Jésus church is located in my riding, Hochelaga. The church has a Casavant organ. Several months ago, the archdiocese decided to turn off the heat, which is putting the organ at risk. Mr. Calandra talked about preserving heritage. It is not a question of building all kinds of museums or preserving churches, but in this case, this is one part of our heritage that we could protect. I think something needs to be done in that regard.

The question of research was also raised, but I do not think we spent enough time talking about that. The federal government can provide funding for research, but in which domains would it be most useful do so?

12:55 p.m.

President, Société des musées québécois

Pierre Landry

If we are planning to celebrate an event in a few years' time, we could consider exhibitions produced by various museums. We can start to think about programs that will allow these institutions to begin working on these projects well in advance. Indeed, people must understand that conceiving an exhibition does not happen in just three months or six months.

Furthermore, if we want to present products that are really interesting, well documented and thorough, and to allow institutions to work on their collections and artifacts, we need to begin the process rather early. Announcements could be made very soon about a program that will be managed by Canadian Heritage. This could involve allowing institutions to present projects and to begin doing research.

I meant to say in my presentation that we should use this celebration as an opportunity to irrigate, so to speak, the entire network of museums across Canada. We could implement programs to bring the museums together and to help them get out of the slump that they seem to be in right now.

As for churches and the organ that you mentioned, I think we need to focus on communities, and ensure that they become involved in the process and that they themselves determine where the most crucial needs are.

One community might want to carry out a major project on a church, for instance, take it over and restore it, while another community might want to focus on another kind of heritage building. Instead of going from the top down, the best approach for communities might be to work from the bottom up. Basically, what I mean is that we need to use this event as an opportunity to ensure that the money invested is put to good use and that communities get the money they really need.

12:55 p.m.

NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet Hochelaga, QC

Mr. McAvity, you wanted to say something?

12:55 p.m.

Executive Director, Canadian Museums Association

John McAvity

There are a number of federal programs to fund research, but museums are not eligible to apply. For example, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council is a huge funding council, but that money is restricted to higher-education institutions. We assert that museums should be eligible for that kind of funding. If you can investigate that to see if it can happen it would be a huge step forward for our community.

12:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Rob Moore

Thank you, Madame Boutin-Sweet.

Thank you to our panel of witnesses. Thank you for coming with very specific recommendations that I think our committee will find very helpful. Thank you for answering all the questions our members had. We look forward to working with you in the future.

We'll suspend for 30 seconds and go in camera.

[Proceedings continue in camera]