Hon. members opposite seem to be regarding this as bit of a joke. I do not find anything particularly funny about a tour of Canada's cultural industries. Hon. members opposite talk about deficit reduction and they forget that Canada's culture contributes mightily to our economy. They do not pay any attention to the fact that people spend billions of dollars a year attending artistic events, concerts of all kinds.
These are the artists the bill is designed to assist. The bill promotes artistry and culture in Canada, and hon. members opposite are opposed to it. They keep moving amendments to delay its passage. Why are they opposed to it?
Surely the member who represents Drumheller and sits on that side of the House is aware of the museum and its value in his community. It is a big drawing card for Drumheller. I have no doubt the bill will assist the museum in some of its work. Yet hon. members opposite attack the bill.
What about the famous museums in Calgary? The city of Calgary is burdened with Reform representation in the House. These people cannot represent. Unfortunately, with no adequate representation in the House, members from Calgary are failing their very famous museum in Calgary, the Glenbow Museum. I have been to it.
Hon. members opposite laugh and treat it as a cavalier matter when that museum is a major drawing card for the city of Calgary. The museum attracts tourists to Calgary to see the art and the other exhibits. Hon. members opposite should be ashamed of their mocking of Canada's cultural industries.
What are the objectives of this very important piece of legislation? The bill amends the Cultural Property Export and Import Act and related legislation to establish a process to appeal decisions by
the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board on the fair market value of certified cultural property. That is a significant change and it is not all for the benefit of the wealthy.
Deals work both ways. The minister can also appeal if he thinks the valuation is wrong. Hon. members opposite fail to mention that in their amendments and in their speeches. Their only reason for doing so is that they are out to kill Canada's cultural industries.
In the 1990 federal budget responsibility for determining the fair market value of cultural property donated to designated Canadian museums, art galleries and libraries was transferred from Revenue Canada to the review board. No provision for appeal of review board decisions was included in those amendments, despite the fact the right of appeal existed when the responsibility was with Revenue Canada. In other words, we are trying to get some fairness back in the system, fairness not just for the donor but also for the Government of Canada, which has a right of appeal in these cases.
Donors and custodial institutions have expressed serious concern about this lack of appeal process. It led the Department of Canadian Heritage, ably led by the hon. Minister of Canadian Heritage, in co-operation with the review board, to undertake a series of consultations with the community, which has resulted in this bill.
Hon. members opposite think this bill was an idea conceived by the government acting on its own. Nothing can be further from the truth. As usual, the government consulted extensively with Canadians and came up with a process that is fair and reasonable. Accordingly, these amendments were prepared. There is a right of appeal established by this bill to the Tax Court of Canada. The creation of the appeal process is a reinstatement of a right of appeal lost in 1991 and a means of ensuring that there is no denial of natural justice.
I know the words "natural justice" must be something difficult for members opposite to understand. We have been listening to them this morning talk about Bill C-45 and sentencing. Their notion of justice is wildly different from the notion of most other people in this country. The hon. member for Vancouver Quadra may have missed that part of the speech. I expect he was in committee this morning. All they want to do is lock people up and throw away the key. We heard about that.
Unfortunately I missed the hon. member for Wild Rose's speech too. I understand it was a real blockbuster. As usual, it was the kind of speech that involves locking people up and throwing away the key. It is not a useful contribution, in my view, to the administration of justice or to the rehabilitation of offenders that we are all seeking.
I want to return, as return I must, to Bill C-93, which after all is the subject of my remarks this afternoon.
The government is committed to improving the collections of all Canadian cultural institutions through a combination of import controls to retain cultural property in Canada and tax incentives to encourage donations to designated institutions. This approach to cultural property preservation is acknowledged internationally as a model for other countries to follow. Canada is a world leader in that regard.
When I was at the Tyrrell museum in Drumheller-and hon. members opposite ought to be supporting these institutions instead of tearing them down-I discovered there was a rule in Alberta prohibiting the export of fossils from Alberta. They could not be removed from the province. Hon. members opposite should be aware that kind of cultural legislation exists, not just at the federal level but also at the provincial level.
In making it easier for individuals to appeal rulings and valuations to the tax court, the government is demonstrating its commitment to allow Canadians efficient access to the judicial system to challenge the decisions of government boards. This has been the policy of the government for many years. The policy of this party has been to favour fairness in treatment for all.
We have striven for fairness in many ways. That has been evident in most of the legislation that has been introduced in this House, including the legislation that was debated so vigorously this morning, which hon. members dumped on because they wanted to lock people up and throw away the key.
The Bloc Quebecois, on the other hand, has been relatively silent today. I congratulate the hon. member for Longueuil-
The hon. member has indicated he does not want me to refer to what was said by members of his party about this bill. But I must, because they always argue that the province of Quebec does not receive enough funding for culture in this country. They are wrong. The hon. member knows perfectly well that the province of Quebec receives more-