Obviously, I think you could say, a major reason why this legislative initiative petered out was that at the end of 2003, control and supervision of the Parks Canada Agency was transferred from the Minister of Canadian Heritage to the Minister of the Environment. Clearly this was a priority for the Minister of Canadian Heritage. It was not a priority for successive Ministers of the Environment.
I guess the place to really begin is whether the government and whether the minister thinks that this is a good fit. Christina referred to the mandate letter, which contained five explicit references to national parks, one implicit reference to national parks, three references to marine and coastal area conservation, and not a single reference to any of the cultural heritage programs that the minister is responsible for. I'm not blaming the minister. I'm not even blaming the government. I think it's just an assumption that everybody makes that this sort of heritage probably resides somewhere else. There's nothing malicious; that's just the way it is.
I think if the minister is interested in retaining those responsibilities, there has to be a general legislative provision, as exists in Australia, that clearly states the minister's responsibilities. The minister is responsible for the Department of the Environment. The Department of the Environment has no mandate in cultural heritage. Parks Canada is not part of the Department of the Environment, and it's not part of the Department of the Environment for good reasons, which I won't go into here.
I think there are some options. One, look at making sure that the minister and Parks Canada accord much greater attention to this than has been given to date. Two, if in fact it is perceived that these programs are not a good fit, one could look at the CEO of Parks Canada reporting to another minister in respect to these cultural heritage programs and continuing to report to the Minister of the Environment for the others. Three, given what's happened to historic sites, I'm not sure breaking them out of Parks Canada now would do any further damage than has already been done over the last few years.