Evidence of meeting #47 for Government Operations and Estimates in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was million.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

4 p.m.

Executive Director, Portfolio Affairs, Department of Canadian Heritage

René Bouchard

The 435 is about the number of positions that may be affected. That doesn't mean the position will be abolished. The position is affected, and then you keep a certain number of positions and people apply for the position.

The number of positions that will be abolished will be 200.

4 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Markham—Unionville, ON

That's close to a 20% cut in staff. I mean, part of the function of this group is to serve researchers to preserve our history. Do you think they'll still be able to do that with cuts of this magnitude?

4 p.m.

Deputy Minister, Department of Canadian Heritage

Daniel Jean

I think it would be better if you were to ask that of Mr. Caron, the lead archivist.

The one thing I can say, from having discussed some of these reductions with him, is that one challenge he had a few years ago was that almost 90% to 95% of his budget was personnel. When you reach that level in an organization, and in modernization it needs to rely on technology, and there are other things—it has to pay for the roof and things like that—it becomes very difficult. Every time you hit a bump, you have to let people go.

That's one of the reasons he's had to look at some internal challenges on top of the deficit reduction action plan. But I think he would be in a better position to answer these questions.

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Markham—Unionville, ON

Can you tell me how much money the government is spending to commemorate the War of 1812?

4:05 p.m.

Deputy Minister, Department of Canadian Heritage

Daniel Jean

Yes. I think it's $27 million. It's over three years.

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Markham—Unionville, ON

Maybe this is a political question that you're not prepared to answer, but I find it a bit strange that we're spending $27 million to commemorate the War of 1812, which has little impact on Canadians—or Canadians have little memory of it, that's for sure—and we're spending nothing on the 30th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Can you say anything about that choice?

4:05 p.m.

Deputy Minister, Department of Canadian Heritage

Daniel Jean

I think that would definitely be a question for the minister.

4:05 p.m.

Voices

Oh, oh!

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Markham—Unionville, ON

That's what I thought.

4:05 p.m.

NDP

The Chair Pat Martin

That's your last question too, I'm afraid, John. Thank you very much.

For the Conservatives, Mr. Jacques Gourde.

You have five minutes, Jacques.

May 28th, 2012 / 4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Thanks to the witnesses for being with us this afternoon.

Earlier you said that our country compared well with the other G8 countries in arts and culture funding. Could you give us some examples of how it compares with the others and tell us to what extent it does so?

4:05 p.m.

Deputy Minister, Department of Canadian Heritage

Daniel Jean

I do not have those figures to hand, Mr. Gourde, but I will be pleased to provide them to you.

It often occurs that counterparts from various countries come and visit us and we meet with them. Based on our demographics—we are talking about 30 million inhabitants—our arts and culture investments are very significant on a per capita basis. As I said earlier, Canada was one of the only industrialized countries that did not cut its arts and culture investments despite the crisis.

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, QC

Were other countries harder hit?

4:05 p.m.

Deputy Minister, Department of Canadian Heritage

Daniel Jean

Funding for the arts was significantly hit in Great Britain and the United States. I believe the minister will address some of those aspects tomorrow in his address to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage.

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, QC

All right.

Is the government maintaining funding for the Canada Council for the Arts?