Mr. Speaker, yesterday it was announced that the Halifax Regional Museum in Dartmouth will be closing due to lack of operating funding. Recent announcements from the heritage minister do nothing to address the crisis of a lack of operating money facing the 2,000 regional and local museums in Canada. To keep their doors open our museums are now selling valuable artifacts, auctioning off their art, cutting staff and reducing hours. Too many are closing.
These museums play a critical role in maintaining our heritage. Last year there were over 57 million visits to Canadian museums, more visits than to the movies and professional sports. These visitors see an all Canadian product for no or low cost.
I call on the Minister of Canadian Heritage to allocate emergency operating funding now for local and regional museums so that treasures such as the Halifax Regional Museum may remain open.