Thank you, Madam Chair. I would like to thank you first of all for welcoming me to the committee.
These are extremely relevant topics, especially in Canada's sesquicentennial year. I commend you for making park admission free of charge. It is actually Minister Mélanie Joly's initiative, as I understand it, which is quite confusing since it should have been announced by Minister Catherine McKenna, but was instead announced by Ms. Joly. It is hard to figure out. Heritage buildings are the responsibility of Parks Canada, but it was the minister of Canadian Heritage who made the announcement. Oh, well.
I can tell you that I took advantage of it. I visited Banff Park. I went to Île du Havre aux maisons, I saw the new set-up of the picnic grounds on the beach. It is magnificent. I also visited Cape Breton Island, and Alexander Graham Bell's house, in Baddeck, which in my opinion perfectly illustrate your mandate.
I also visited the Louis S. St. Laurent National Heritage Site, in Compton. It was very interesting, but also very old-fashioned, very antiquated and very outdated, compared to the iPad world that our young people live in now. I could see my little nephew snoring.
I will not talk about the atmosphere there should be at Churchill National Park, because it must be very difficult in Churchill. It was a good initiative. I think young people from Kingston would be happy that the Churchill initiative was located in the old train station. The train station in Churchill was a good choice, I think. It was the most important place to rehabilitate. It is difficult right now, but I think the site is very nice and very representative, but it is of course a bit antiquated.
According to the notes in the documents prepared by Mr. Ménard, a number of witnesses mentioned that you—I mean Parks Canada and Environment Canada—are perhaps not best placed to fulfill the federal responsibility for heritage buildings.
Do you think we should consider a new way division of responsibilities? I am asking because places like Kingston are one thing, but in Montreal, for example, the new CHUM was created.
Moreover, I commend you for what you manage with the NCC and Parliament, and for all the work you do. It is spectacular. It is a huge responsibility. In Montreal, there are truly some flagship buildings, such as the Royal Victoria Hospital, the Montreal Children's Hospital, and the Shriners Hospitals for Children. There are many buildings that are suddenly “abandoned”, or some might say “vacant”, whereas others will enthusiastically refer to them as nice prospective condo developments.
So when organizations such as Heritage Montreal, to which Dinu Bumbaru belongs, say to be careful and wonder what can be done with those facilities, to whom should they turn?