Mr. Chairman, might I be permitted a moment to review everything?
This is for all the members who were not present last time.
We left off on clause 7. Our Liberal amendment, amendment L-2, which you will find on page 8.1 of our documentation, says that Bill C-442, in clause 7, be amended by replacing lines 8 to 10 on page 3 with the following:
7. The Minister shall be responsible for the construction and maintenance of the Monument.
That particular amendment passed.
Then, because some members noted that we hadn't dealt with subclause 7(2) as we were voting for clause 7 as amended, some discussion began to circulate regarding the fundraising campaign to cover the cost of the construction of the monument.
It was our contention then that all that happened, as far as we were concerned, was that when we were preparing our amendment, we had inadvertently eliminated the portion that would have said.... Instead of lines 8 to 10, it should have been lines 8 to 13. Accepting clause 7, i.e. amendment L-2, would have made that subclause redundant.
What we've done to remedy that confusion is introduce our amendment L-3, which states that we delete lines 11 to 13 on page 3. It was, at the time, the suggestion of the Bloc member present that we could handle it in one of two ways: either make clause 8 as it exists part of clause 7 or just go on to clause 8 afterwards and move along.
It is still our contention that what we wanted, and what we thought was the intent of the mover of this bill, is for the Government of Canada to establish a location in the National Capital Commission for a national Holocaust memorial on behalf of all Canadians. I stress the words “all Canadians”; so that all Canadians would have an opportunity to commemorate the tragedy visited upon so many victims of the evil that was perpetrated by one ideological faction in the world. And we wanted to do that.
All of us accepted the idea that it would be Canadians and their government recognizing the importance of a Holocaust memorial, not a special group, not a particular group, and not anywhere else in the country except in the national capital region to indicate the commitment of the Canadian public to this. So we had accepted that principle through all the clauses leading up to clause 7. We feel that the elimination of subclause 7(2) of clause 7 is consistent with everything else the committee has accepted so far.
Moreover, nothing ever precludes a fundraising campaign by interested citizens from taking place--nothing. But it doesn't have to be prescribed in law. So if a council were not to come forward, and if a council were not to be a part of the spearheading of a fundraising campaign, and God forbid, if that fundraising campaign weren't able to bring forward sufficient funds to erect such a monument in the national capital region, what would then happen?
It was our contention that we shouldn't leave that to the vagaries of chance, when we already have at our disposal the mechanisms necessary for erecting such a monument. We have a bill that was unanimously accepted by the House. And we have, as we saw last week in a discussion of the estimates, the funds already available in the national capital region to be able to erect such a monument, to eliminate all of the potential mitigating vagaries of such a fundraising campaign, or in fact, if the government wanted to back away from something, it need not happen.
So significant is the erection of this monument that we need not put it at the chance of a council that may or may not come up with the funds in the prescribed period of time. The minister's answer to my question about whether the government was prepared to provide royal recommendation, i.e., to pay for it, was yes, no doubt.
So cost is no longer an issue. Implication on the finances of the government is no longer an issue. The legislative authority to act is already vested in the National Capital Commission, which is responsible to the minister we interviewed on the estimates a few days ago.
Mr. Chairman, the last time we went through a whole series of scenarios regarding amendments, etc., it took us all by surprise on this side of the House that the government would introduce an amendment to every single clause in the bill that their backbencher presented and that all opposition parties supported. For the government to come forward with amendments that would completely gut the bill, completely change the intention of the bill, and try to tactically buy into some other agenda is just absolutely unacceptable to us.
We regret the fact that for whatever reason we did not clarify subclause 7(2). We thought we did, and this amendment is there to ensure there is no confusion about the way the committee had already accepted all the amendments up to and including subclause 7(1).
I'm hoping that all members around the table will accept the third Liberal amendment, which reinforces the fact that the government must allocate the land and provide the funds for erecting and maintaining this monument. This monument will be a Canadian public testament to the horrors of the Holocaust and to the suffering of those who survived and those who didn't, and also a testament to mankind's need to stay ever vigilant against evils that find their way into government and perpetuate and perpetrate genocidal and other types of atrocities.
Mr. Chairman, I know all members around the table agree with that. That's why I'm sure everybody will support the Liberal amendment to clarify clause 7, subclauses (1) and (2) by eliminating subclause (2) of clause 7. Thank you.