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House of Commons Hansard #82 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was money.

Topics

Parthenon MarblesPrivate Members' Business

April 1st, 2003 / 5:50 p.m.

Liberal

John Cannis Liberal Scarborough Centre, ON

moved:

That, in the opinion of this House, the government should call upon the United Kingdom to return the Parthenon Marbles to Greece in order to be restored in their authentic context, as the Marbles represent a unique and integral part of world heritage and should be returned to their country of origin, before the 28th Olympiad in Athens, Greece, in 2004.

Mr. Speaker, I too would like to repeat Motion No. 318, so that not just our colleagues but Canadians who are listening today could hear the motion again because it really is something very unique that we are debating here tonight.The motion says:

That, in the opinion of this House, the government should call upon the United Kingdom to return the Parthenon Marbles to Greece in order to be restored in their authentic context, as the Marbles represent a unique and integral part of world heritage and should be returned to their country of origin, before the 28th Olympiad in Athens, Greece, in 2004.

There is a significance to the 28th Olympiad in 2004 because these are trying and difficult times for all of us on this universe. We are seeing changes, conflicts and struggles. We are asking for the liberation of people. What used to happen during the Olympiad was that everyone laid down their arms no matter what conflict or wars existed. They all went as brothers and sisters to compete during the Olympic period in a truce. This also sends a very important message.

Let me give an historical perspective of the Parthenon or the Elgin Marbles as they are known. After Greece's victory over the Persians in 479 BC, Pericles wanted to rebuild the city and make it an artistic cultural as well as a political centre. The general artistic supervision of the Acropolis building was assigned to Pheidias. It took 15 years to build. The beauty of building this monument was that every citizen had the opportunity to participate.

Let me just fast forward several hundreds and hundreds of years. When Greece was ruled under the Ottoman Empire, the then high commissioner to the Ottoman Empire was Thomas Bruce, the seventh earl of Elgin, also known as Lord Elgin. We know and history has shown that Lord Elgin was an art collector and wanted to decorate his mansion.

We are looking at a piece of art that has been distinguished throughout history. Millions of people from all over the world have visited the Acropolis to see the Parthenon. I first went to Greece as a young boy of 11 years. It did not have the impact on me as it did when I visited it about four years ago when I actually had a tour guide walk me through and describe to me in detail why building A was situated on this angle and why building B was situated on that angle. It brought to life the golden age of Greece.

It was awesome for me to stand there and close my eyes, and try to go back in history to see democracy unfold on that spot. What happened during the Ottoman Empire was that Lord Elgin asked the Pasha, the ruler of that area, if he could get permission to take the marbles or the slabs, and basically take them. There was a document signed, which was under scrupulous circumstances, and translated by an Italian. The marbles were eventually crated and shipped to England.

The argument that was put forth was that they needed to be taken for observation and preservation. For years I think we accepted that argument because there was no facility at that time in Athens to house these treasures. Today there is a modern state of the art facility that is being built beside the Acropolis to house these artifacts.

Lord Elgin shipped them to England and from what I read they did not get there safely. Eventually they were dragged from the sea and Lord Elgin decorated his mansion. He then ran into some financial problems. Even the British government pointed out that the circumstances under which Lord Elgin took these marbles were a bit questionable. The British government gave him a sum of money and in its wisdom donated them to the British museum where they are today.

The other day my colleague from Hamilton and I were talking about the marbles. He actually visited the museum and just listening to the description of what he saw made me shiver. He has lent his continuous support on this matter.

This is not just a request that I am making personally. The other day I presented in the House of Commons one of many petitions. The latest petition contained over 2,000 signatures from right across the country. I visited the campuses of the University of Toronto and York University, and students of all backgrounds said it was the right thing to do. They were happy to sign the petition. I presented petitions from right across our country asking our government to call upon Great Britain to do the right thing because the time has come to indeed return these artifacts to their rightful owners.

People made the argument that it would be setting a precedent. On the contrary, it would not. A couple of years ago Canada returned a painting to Hungary. England returned the coronation stone to Scotland. If a precedent has been set, it has been set by Great Britain, Canada and other countries.

This is not a vase, a statue or a painting, it is a very unique piece of art that we are asking to be returned. These are actual slabs that belong to a structure that is not just Greek. It is a structure that is shared by the international community. It is a part of culture, history and civilization.

The motion requests that the British government go forward into the 21st century, do the right thing, and meet the deadline of the 28th Olympiad in 2004.

We can now confirm through various documents that Lord Elgin took the marbles under questionable circumstances. We are not here to condemn or criticize that. That was a different era and time. Those were different circumstances. We are now in the 21st century.

Over and over again there have been initiatives of this nature. I would be remiss if I did not mention the efforts of the late Melina Mercouri, who was the cultural minister of Greece in the 1980s. I must congratulate all the members of the various committees in Canada, the United States, Australia and Great Britain. I would like to point out that the attorney representing the initiative in Great Britain is Bruce Tattersal, a direct descendant of Lord Elgin.

UNESCO, the international body which we all respect and abide by, has supported this initiative. It was first introduced in 1982 by the late Melina Mercouri to the council of ministers of the cultural segment of UNESCO in Mexico.

In January 1999 the European parliament ruled in favour of returning the marbles to their original owner. The resolution of the 10th UNESCO intergovernmental council to promote bilateral talks between Greece and Great Britain showed the growing interest and importance that this issue has had in the international community at large.

It is not just this House that is bringing the motion forward. The United States congress passed a resolution. Let me bring it closer to home. I want to take this opportunity to congratulate and thank the Quebec National Assembly which unanimously passed a resolution supporting the return of the marbles. We all know that it is only the federal government that speaks on foreign policy, but the fact that the gesture was made, or any gesture of this type that could be made at any level of government, is an expression of will and support. There is no question about that.

I know the Minister of Canadian Heritage has commented favourably over and over again, and I thank her for the continuous support that she has provided to this initiative. When she finds herself in international forums, she always brings this issue to the table and I thank her personally for her initiative.

What happened 200 years or 300 years ago should be forgotten. I stand in the House and ask that our country and Parliament support the motion to send the message asking the British government to return the marbles.

It is senseless for me to go on and provide pages of who said what and when it was said. The bottom line is that we not only must do the right thing, but we must do the honourable thing. Canadians have been noted to be leaders in many initiatives. We pride ourselves as peacekeepers. We pride ourselves in our high tech industry and cultural communities.

Parthenon MarblesPrivate Members' Business

6 p.m.

An hon. member

Agriculture.

Parthenon MarblesPrivate Members' Business

6 p.m.

Liberal

John Cannis Liberal Scarborough Centre, ON

That is right, we lead the way in agriculture as well as in our forests and clear cutting. We find ourselves so competitive in softwood lumber that our neighbours in other countries think we are subsidizing where, in essence, we are not.

I could go on praising what we have achieved as a country. Canada is a relatively young country compared to countries such as Greece or Italy, but in that short period of time we have distinguished ourselves because we have had to make those tough decisions.

I know in these difficult moments this might be a tough decision to make. However, should we find the courage to make this decision and support this motion, we would once again send a signal that Canada can make the tough and right decisions.

I know, Madam Speaker, you have been behind this effort as well. I know how hard you have worked in terms of communicating this right across the country and in your area of Montreal. This issue has been discussed, not only in British Columbia but in other parts of our country.

I am bringing to the House the voices of tens of thousands of Canadians, and let me point out, not Canadians of Hellenic descent. If one looks at the signatures on those petitions, they are a reflection of all Canadians of this diverse and beautiful mosaic that we often describe as Canada.

I believe in my heart that at the end of the day Canada and this Parliament will do the right thing and support the motion.

Parthenon MarblesPrivate Members' Business

6:05 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

We are under the new rules, so there are five minutes for questions and comments. Are there any questions and comments?

The hon. Minister of Canadian Heritage.

Parthenon MarblesPrivate Members' Business

6:05 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Madam Speaker, my question is for the hon. member. How quickly does he think he can get the motion through the House?

Parthenon MarblesPrivate Members' Business

6:05 p.m.

Liberal

John Cannis Liberal Scarborough Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, let me again thank my very good friend, the Minister of Canadian Heritage, for her continuous support, kindness, and understanding of the issue. When we reached out to her, she was there front and centre.

To respond to her question, I would say that yesterday could not be soon enough. Things are moving very fast. The Olympiad is but months away. This Parliament has the means and the ways to come together. Together with our colleagues in the opposition, we would seek consensus to move this forward and get the unanimous support. If we could get unanimous support at any point in time, it would be greatly appreciated. I would like to see it done as soon as possible.

Parthenon MarblesPrivate Members' Business

6:05 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Madam Speaker, I was very pleased to second my colleague's motion.

Canada has led the way in returning artifacts and prized possessions to first nations people. I think we were among the very first of all the nations to do that. Our museums and others came to agreements with first nations people. Where there were skeletal remains, for example, they very reverently removed them from the museums and returned them to be buried on first nations land.

I think there are precedents for this. If this were agreed to, would it physically be a large problem? Is this a big problem with the Elgin marbles, the Parthenon marbles? Are backhoes required to move them? Could my colleague describe the physical problem of moving them?

Parthenon MarblesPrivate Members' Business

6:10 p.m.

Liberal

John Cannis Liberal Scarborough Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, my thanks also to the member for Peterborough who seconded the motion. I know there have been people in his constituency from all walks of life that have supported this. I thank him.

Moving the marbles today is not an obstacle. They are housed at the British Museum. My colleague from Hamilton has visited them and described them to me. I have not seen them personally. Given today's technology, I have been told it would not be a problem to physically take them from the museum in Great Britain and house them in the Parthenon in Athens, Greece.

The Greek government is willing to get into a cooperative and sharing environment. This wealth will not be locked away. The Greek government has proposed various creative ways in which to share these artifacts. These artifacts should be shared by all humankind. It is part of our cultural heritage. What is cultural heritage today? It has no boundaries. When I was in the Orient, I was in awe. When I am in different parts of our country, I am in awe when I see the cultural diversity that we all share. We invite people to come and see them. This will unfold as well.

To answer the member's question directly, no there will not be a problem to physically take them in terms of damaging them. They have been well preserved. I congratulate the British government for having done so. I will congratulate the British government when they are returned as well.

Parthenon MarblesPrivate Members' Business

6:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Abbott Canadian Alliance Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Madam Speaker, this is one of the most fascinating debates in which I have ever had the privilege to take part in the House. In 10 years there have been a number of things I have had to learn very quickly. I have taken the time to try to learn something about this topic.

There is a committee, and I will read from the Supporters in Canada website:

The recently formed Canadian Committee seeks to raise public awareness and provide support to the cause of the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece. The Committee was established as a result of the Canadian concern for the protection of world cultural heritage. Our aim is to assist in the return of the Marbles to Athens in time for the 2004 Olympic Games.

I would make one observation, a small criticism of that statement. It says that the committee was established as a result of the Canadian concern for the protection of world cultural heritage. If that is taken within the context of where these artifacts currently are, then perhaps that is a correct statement.

However, when I first read it, it struck me that when it said that the Canadian committee was established as a result of the Canadian concern for the protection of world cultural heritage, as my colleague from the Liberal side, the proposer of the motion has pointed out, the artifacts are at present in excellent condition thanks to the great work of the British. That one thing which I read from the Supporters in Canada website raised a bit of a question in my mind, the fact that the committee is fully aware that the British have handled these artifacts as they should have been handled.

I find this to be a very challenging debate. I can only guess at the feelings of compassion, pride and ownership, and the feeling that would come from within me had I come from Greek heritage. I cannot imagine how our friends in Greece or our friends originally from Greece who are now in our Canadian culture would feel about that.

I question the role the House of Commons in this issue. I could see having a motion. I could see having a petition by members of Parliament because all 301 of us have been uniquely elected by the people. As such there is a certain value to our opinions simply because we represent the people. I could see members individually and collectively going out and working to get the signatures. I could see as many members as possible signing the petition, even signing individual letters, encouraging Britain to do this.

What I am waiting for in terms of this debate, and this truly will be a debate as far as I am concerned, is the reason the House of Commons, and as the minister has suggested, should proceed to the point of making a Canadian law. That law would be some kind of an official statement on behalf of the House of Commons and the Government of Canada to the people of Great Britain telling them what they have to do or must do, whatever the case may be.

I am sincerely trying to understand what place the House of Commons of Canada has in this issue.

Let me be very clear. I commend the committee and the work of the committee. I am very impressed with the number of people of great repute who are on the committee. I commend the members of the committee because of the volunteer work that has gone into this and for the work they have done to create an awareness of this issue and to turn around public opinion. I commend everybody who is involved in this matter, considering the fact that, to quote from the New York Times :

Greece has most modestly asked to borrow the Parthenon marbles for the 2004 Athens Olympics with almost prostrate guarantees of their safe return. Despite strong popular support in England for giving up the marbles, even this loan has been denied.

That is a regrettable decision on the part of our friends in England. I believe they are being a little short-sighted.

Many of the actions that we as a Canadian society have taken in returning artifacts of any type, be they paintings or artifacts of aboriginal cultures, whatever the case may be, that has been the route to go. Again I ask why should the House of Commons be asked to come forward with some kind of formal motion telling our friends in England what they must do?

I find this debate so fascinating. I will read from the website again:

The Greek government has made major concessions in recent years to try and accommodate the concerns of the British Museum and British government. They have made it clear for over two years now that ownership is not the key issue....However, the relocation of the Marbles to Athens is a key issue for the Greek government and this could be achieved without raising the issue of ownership if the Marbles were sent to Athens on a permanent loan from the British Museum. In return, the Greek government has offered to loan the best of Greek antiquity to the British Museum on a rotating loan basis so that the gallery where the Marbles are currently exhibited can still be dedicated to Greek culture. They have also proposed that the British Museum could operate a branch of the museum in Athens, presumably in the new Acropolis Museum...where the Parthenon Marbles would be exhibited once they were returned to Athens.

It is terribly regrettable that the British government and the British museum do not seem prepared to seriously consider this option. I would be far more aggressive than that if I had an opportunity to speak to our friends in Britain, be they in government or members of the British Museum.

In spite of the fact of having done a small amount of research on this issue and having a small understanding of it, and truly wanting to understand where people of Greek heritage are coming from and trying to understand what is inside a person relative to this issue, I still have a question in my mind. I am prepared to be convinced, and I would be happy to be convinced, that I should recommend to my colleagues that we support this motion so this could come from the House of Commons.

This by far has to be one of the most fascinating debates I have ever been involved in. I will admit that due to my lack of knowledge, I assumed we were talking about a small box of marbles that we would play marbles with. However this is the starting point. I am happy to be convinced so I can convince my colleagues.

Canada, being the wonderful nation it is and being who we are, for many of us is where we came from. Some of us have had the opportunity to go back to our heritage, in my instance to Scotland, and perhaps in Madam Speaker's instance to Greece, and to incorporate it into our lives and bring our families and our children and our grandchildren into an understanding of our heritage. We can offer each other more and are stronger as individuals and stronger as a society.

I highly commend the members of the Canadian Greek community for their involvement in this issue. I certainly encourage them to do anything they can in terms of petitions and more public awareness.

Parthenon MarblesPrivate Members' Business

6:20 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—St. Clair, ON

Madam Speaker, it actually is with some significant degree of pleasure that I rise to speak to the motion. I want to acknowledge the lobbying that I received from one of my constituents who is of Hellenic background and who has been pressing me to see if this issue could be raised in the House. I was very pleased when I saw that the motion would be coming forward.

This particular constituent has encouraged me to educate myself somewhat on the issue. I think it is worthwhile noting the nature of the marbles because we have all heard the jokes and the puns on this particular issue. We probably should not have called them the Parthenon marbles because these in fact are great works of art.

When the Parthenon was originally built there were actually three separate components in the marbles: the sculptures themselves; the frieze, which is probably the greatest number of pieces that are left in the marble collection; and then the pediment statues.

One of the tragedies of the history of the marbles is the fact that they are divided. Part of them are being cared for in a museum in Athens and the other bulk, almost equally, are in the British Museum, as we have heard this evening. Of the frieze, 36 are in Athens and 56 are in the British Museum. Of the sculptures, and the sculptures were the items that it is very clear Lord Elgin took from Athens in 1806, 39 of the statues remain in Athens and 15 in London. The marbles are roughly equally divided. One is in the Louvre. Quite frankly, I have not heard whether any attempt has been made by the individuals in the committee, which is pressing for these to be returned by England, to ask France and the Louvre to return the one it has.

The point is that it is crucial that these items be returned at this period of time, recognizing the significance that the Olympics will once again be held in Athens, Greece to commemorate the fact that they began there thousands of years ago.

The Alliance has asked why the House of Commons, as the legislature of this country, would get involved in this. The principle here that is becoming more adhered to is that items of this nature, which have such historical, architectural and archeological significance to another culture, as these marbles clearly do to Greece, should in fact be returned.

We had a great deal of this. In fact a number of the museums in Britain returned items, for instance, to Egypt, that were taken going back for extended periods of time through the British Empire, brought to England and then on request from the Egyptian government were returned.

It is very perplexing why the principle is not being adhered to by the British Museum with regard to the marbles. It has clearly been assured that the museum in Athens is capable of properly caring for them.

I will conclude my remarks so the parliamentary secretary will have enough time to address the issue.

This is an important period in time for the marbles to be returned. There is no reason that the principle, which is being adhered to more and more right across the globe, should not be applied to the British Museum to return the marbles to their rightful place in Athens.

Parthenon MarblesPrivate Members' Business

6:25 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to be able to speak to this motion, particularly because this past January I spent some wonderful hours at the British Museum listening to a recorded description of these wonderful objects.

I am equally pleased to point out, as the motion sponsor has, that the Quebec National Assembly has also unanimously passed a similar proposal. As for my colleague from the Canadian Alliance, I would like him to know that the British Parliament will need to vote before this masterpiece can be returned to Greece. I read in an article in The Economist that it had carried out a mini-survey and found that 85% of Labour and Liberal Democrat members surveyed were in favour of their return. According to the sampling, this represents two-thirds of all MPs.

These masterpieces of course have pride of place at the British Museum. They are one of the top exhibits as far as visitor statistics go, and rightly so. It is moving to see sculptures of such great beauty. As well, of course, if one has seen the Parthenon, it becomes understandable that the Greeks want to regain these wonderful works of art, why they want them returned. We do know, however, that the frieze cannot be returned to its place in the Parthenon because of the pollution, or so I am told. It can, however, be exhibited in some other natural setting which will, I am sure, have some link with the Parthenon.

It seems to be that the House should give this motion unanimous support. It would be appropriate if I closed with a quote from the end of the speech delivered by Melina Mercouri, the former Minister of Culture and the first to make this request of Great Britain. I will read some excerpts from it. She said:

We are asking only for something unique, something matchless, something specific to our identity. And dear friends, if there were the shadow of a shadow of danger to museums, why would the International Council of Museums recommend the return, as they have done?

This wonderful singer and former Minister of Culture went on to say:

You must understand what the Parthenon Marbles mean to us. They are our pride. They are our sacrifices. They are our noblest symbol of excellence. They are a tribute to the democratic philosophy. They are our aspirations and our name. They are the essence of Greekness.

And she went on to say:

We are ready to say that we rule the entire Elgin enterprise as irrelevant to the present. We say to the British government: “You have kept those sculptures for almost two centuries. You have cared for them as well as you could, for which we thank you. But now in the name of fairness and morality, please give them back”. I sincerely believe that such a gesture from Great Britain would ever honour your name.

And she concluded as follows:

Thank you.

It is important to remember, for those who do not know, that the Parthenon marbles were surreptitiously taken by Lord Elgin in 1801 during his time there as ambassador.

He obtained a decree from the sultan of the Ottoman Empire allowing him to bring them back to England piece by piece. Believe me, there were many enormous pieces. Originally, it was for his own house, his domain, his castle. He brought back these priceless treasures. He had not paid much for them, since he had given gifts to influential people who allowed him to bring back this priceless treasure.

However, Lord Elgin's luck did not hold out. He had financial problems and finally the government purchased the lot from him for 35,000 pounds and gave it in 1816 to the British Museum. The museum has kept them ever since and does not want to lose them.

It is true that the Prime Ministers have always supported the British Museum. As far as I know, this movement, like that we are part of, is supported by a majority of the members of the House of Commons, and Great Britain could make a very significant historical gesture.

We know that numerous works of art could be returned to their original countries, even if it is also essential for all museums to have examples of such admirable works that artists have created over the years. But it is also understandable that these countries want to recover some of them.

For all these reasons, I think, the hon. member of the Canadian Alliance could convince his colleagues so that Parliament could unanimously support this movement and Greece could, we hope before the next Olympics, get back what Ms. Mercouri called its “Greekness”.

Parthenon MarblesPrivate Members' Business

6:30 p.m.

Laval East Québec

Liberal

Carole-Marie Allard LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Madam Speaker, it is an honour for me to rise today to speak in the House on a topic that is of such importance to the member for Scarborough Centre. He moved a motion to return from the United Kingdom, where they are currently located, to Greece, the series of sculptures from the ornamental frieze of the Parthenon, before the Games of the 28th Olympiad, which will be held in Athens in 2004.

I understand very well the emotions that the member feels, because I myself felt very strong emotions when I saw this magnificent temple for the first time during a trip to Athens. So, I can say that I understand why my colleague would want to restore the integrity of this temple.

Given the tremendous historic and symbolic importance of the ideals that the Parthenon marbles represent for the people of Greece and the world over, I would invite my hon. colleagues in the House to support this motion.

The Parthenon was built in the fifth century BC. It is the main temple of the Acropolis in Athens and one of the greatest masterpieces from the Classical Greek period.

Obviously, the subject we are discussing today is of particular interest to Greece and the United Kingdom and their citizens. However, it is also of interest to Canada, which, like many other countries, is concerned about the fundamental role that culture plays in the expression of peoples' identities and in the enrichment of all nations.

Since 1999, Greece and the U.K. have been involved in discussions over the Parthenon marbles and have been pooling their experience in order to better protect and preserve these architectural and historic treasures.

We remain subject to the authorities from international organizations such as the Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin or its Restitution in Case of Illicit Appropriation. This is a committee struck by UNESCO in 1978. UNESCO mandated the committee to research ways and means to promote bilateral negotiations in cases of disputes over returning cultural goods to their country of origin.

Since 1989, Canada has supported the recommendations of the intergovernmental committee on five occasions, recommendations to encourage Greece and the U.K. to resolve their dispute amicably. What better conclusion could there be for Olympic Games in 2004?

By supporting this committee's recommendations, Canada reiterates its trust in the mandate of international organizations such UNESCO, whose actions and efforts favour negotiations as a way to resolve differences.

Between 1983 and 2001, Canada had the opportunity to act as an elected member of the intergovernmental council for several mandates. We also had the honour of chairing this committee from January 1999 to March 2001.

Although the Government of Canada reiterated its trust in the mechanisms put in place by UNESCO to settle disputes of this kind, it supports individuals and groups lobbying to have the Parthenon marbles returned to Greece before the 2004 Olympiad.

In view of the major historical and symbolical importance of the Parthenon marbles, and the democratic ideals they embody, I believe we must in this particular case stray from our traditionally neutral position and support the motion by the member for Scarborough Centre.

Therefore, I ask this House to urge the United Kingdom to return the Parthenon marbles to Greece before the 2004 Olympiad.

All this to say that when the eyes of whole world are focused on Greece, humanity as a whole will be able to fully appreciate these magnificent marbles in the glory their builders had envisioned in the first place.

Parthenon MarblesPrivate Members' Business

6:40 p.m.

Liberal

John Bryden Liberal Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Aldershot, ON

Madam Speaker, in the few minutes left in this debate I would like to take this opportunity to describe the Elgin marbles, because I have seen them in the British Museum. I saw them the first time I went to England when I was only 23 years old and I think perhaps that affected the way I reacted to them.

I was a student in the north of England and went down to London for the first time to visit the famous British Museum. There was a little sign as one entered: “Elgin Marbles”. I went in there. It was a large room very like this chamber, the House of Commons, not quite so high, and very dark. On the walls there was a white panel about four feet high that went the length of the room on one side and the length of the room on the other. The room was quite dark, really, and not very well lit. As one approached this white panel, it suddenly came alive. What one saw was figures on the panel, figures of horses, chariots and young men behind the horses.

As I got closer, I realized what I was seeing was probably the first attempt at cinematography, because as one looked from left to right on the panel, and this panel of sculptures was from the frieze of the Parthenon and the ancient Greeks would have looked up to see it, and I was looking up fairly high as well, what one saw was the start of a procession of horses and charioteers, young men on these chariots. The horses moved from being still on one side and then began to gallop and gallop toward the right. It was just incredibly profound. It was an incredible image to see the way these animals moved. It was just so striking.

Then there were the statues themselves that were taken from other positions in the Parthenon. Many of these statues were broken, but the figures were so perfectly carved. It was not just the bodies themselves of the gods and the goddesses; it was also the tremendous detail. One could walk behind the figures and see the drapery. They actually carved it in a way that even where one could not see, the exquisite carving was there. The marble itself was lustrous. It just sort of smote the eyes.

I think I can say that I was transported 2,500 years back in time. One could see the genius of the Greeks, which led to the creation of much of the thought of our western civilization, and one could see how incredibly marvellous these statues were. I can understand why the people of Greece would like them back, but wherever they are, they are classic gifts to the world.

Parthenon MarblesPrivate Members' Business

6:40 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

Is the House ready for the question?

Parthenon MarblesPrivate Members' Business

6:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Question.

Parthenon MarblesPrivate Members' Business

6:40 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Parthenon MarblesPrivate Members' Business

6:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Parthenon MarblesPrivate Members' Business

6:40 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos

Carried. The motion is carried.

(Motion agreed to)

Parthenon MarblesPrivate Members' Business

6:40 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

Okay, I apologize. I did not hear a nay but I will start. All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Parthenon MarblesPrivate Members' Business

6:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Parthenon MarblesPrivate Members' Business

6:40 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

All those opposed will please say nay.

Parthenon MarblesPrivate Members' Business

6:40 p.m.

An hon. member

Nay.

Parthenon MarblesPrivate Members' Business

6:40 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

Okay, I did hear the nay this time. Pursuant to standing order, I declare the motion negated. The motion does carry. Pursuant to Standing Order 93, the recorded division stands deferred until Wednesday, April 2, 2003 at the beginning of private members' business. It being 6:45 p.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on today's Order Paper.

Parthenon MarblesPrivate Members' Business

6:40 p.m.

An hon. member

Point of order.

Parthenon MarblesPrivate Members' Business

6:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Abbott Canadian Alliance Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I wonder if you could help me with what just happened here. My understanding is that in order to create a vote you have to stand five. I apologize that I was out of the House at the time, but I am unaware that five stood. Did five stand?