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House of Commons Hansard #257 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was heritage.

Topics

Bill C-49—Time Allocation MotionCanadian Museum of History ActGovernment Orders

3:40 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Joe Comartin

The time allotted for questions and comments has expired.

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

Bill C-49—Time Allocation MotionCanadian Museum of History ActGovernment Orders

3:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Bill C-49—Time Allocation MotionCanadian Museum of History ActGovernment Orders

3:40 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Joe Comartin

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Bill C-49—Time Allocation MotionCanadian Museum of History ActGovernment Orders

3:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Bill C-49—Time Allocation MotionCanadian Museum of History ActGovernment Orders

3:40 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Joe Comartin

All those opposed will please say nay.

Bill C-49—Time Allocation MotionCanadian Museum of History ActGovernment Orders

3:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Bill C-49—Time Allocation MotionCanadian Museum of History ActGovernment Orders

3:40 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Joe Comartin

In my opinion, the yeas have it.

And five or more members having risen:

Call in the members.

During the taking of the vote:

Canadian Museum of History ActGovernment Orders

4:15 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Joe Comartin

I need direction from the leader of the official opposition as to whether he intended his vote to be in favour or opposed to the motion.

Canadian Museum of History ActGovernment Orders

4:15 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the official opposition stood immediately after our colleagues in the corner voted, in favour of the motion. I believe that our votes are proceeding in that direction, as is confirmed by the table.

Canadian Museum of History ActGovernment Orders

4:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

But we want to vote no.

They like time allocation.

Canadian Museum of History ActGovernment Orders

4:20 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Joe Comartin

Order, please. The House leader of the official opposition.

Canadian Museum of History ActGovernment Orders

4:20 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the excitement of question period today and the total volume of time allocation motions does tend to wear us, so I take full responsibility for this.

We seek to vote no on this motion. We will proceed according as such to vote no.

Canadian Museum of History ActGovernment Orders

4:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Canadian Museum of History ActGovernment Orders

4:20 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Joe Comartin

Order, please. Are there any others who are in favour of the motion? Seeing none, all those who are opposed to the motion will please rise.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #699

Canadian Museum of History ActGovernment Orders

4:25 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Joe Comartin

I declare the motion carried.

There is a point of order from the member for Bourassa.

Canadian Museum of History ActGovernment Orders

May 28th, 2013 / 4:25 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, with all due respect, this is the first time in 16 years that I have seen a point of order during a vote. If members seem a bit crazy, they will pull themselves together in the end. I think the Chair should wait until after the vote to deal with points of order.

Canadian Museum of History ActGovernment Orders

4:25 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Joe Comartin

It is my duty pursuant to Standing Order 38 to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for London—Fanshawe, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada; the hon. member for Ottawa—Vanier, Canada Post.

The House resumed from May 22 consideration of the motion that Bill C-49, an act to amend the Museums Act in order to establish the Canadian Museum of History and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, be read the second time and referred to a committee and of the amendment.

Second ReadingCanadian Museum of History ActGovernment Orders

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Ray Boughen Conservative Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my colleague from Ajax—Pickering.

The establishment of the Canadian museum of history will provide Canadians with an opportunity to learn about and appreciate the richness of Canadian history. I will quote from an editorial in the Winnipeg Free Press on October 22, 2012:

The new vision reflects the country's growing self-awareness and the realization that a knowledge of history is the basis of an informed citizenry.

I would like to continue by addressing some of the statements that have been made by members of the opposition during this debate. This debate is important and if we are to make good use of our time it is important that we clarify some of these key issues.

First and perhaps most important, there is the issue of the need for independence for the new museum. This has been brought up several times during the debate. Let me be clear. The arm's-length nature of the museum is protected both by its status as a federal crown corporation and because section 27(1) of the Museums Act clearly states that no directive can be given to a national museum with respect to cultural activities and programs for the public and research. Despite these facts, it has been suggested in this House that the government is “wading into academia”, proposing a generic narrative of our history and interfering with the work of experts.

This presumes that the accomplished staff, management and board of trustees at the Canadian Museum of Civilization would let this happen.

I will quote Michael Bliss, a prominent Canadian historian, who stated:

Look at the museum’s record. It has been run professionally and governments have not told it what exhibits to have. I expect that the highly professional management at arm's length from the government will carry on.

The governance structure of the museum will remain intact. The Canadian War Museum will continue to be an affiliate. The corporation will continue to exist, but with a new name and a new, clearly focused mandate. There will be no interruption of the corporation's ability to operate and no impact on the status of the employees, officers and trustees. I am confident that the management and staff that made the CMC a great museum will make the Canadian museum of history an even greater museum.

The museum will continue to host major international exhibits. It is not true, as stated by one of my colleagues, that the museum will no longer have a mandate to share its wealth and knowledge with the rest of the world. The mandate of the new museum is explicit. One of the purposes of the new museum is to “enhance their awareness of world history and cultures”. This specifically authorizes the museum to continue to offer other programming with a more international flavour, such as international exhibits.

It is not true, as stated by a member of the opposition, that the museum's mandate no longer includes the obligation to maintain collections and conduct research. The powers of the new museum are unchanged from those of the Canadian Museum of Civilization, including the power to maintain collections and conduct research.

The museum will increase its activities, working closely with a network of Canadian museums not just to make the national collection available through loans and travelling exhibitions but also to provide a permanent venue, an additional 7,500 square feet at the new museum for other Canadian museums to showcase their collections and contribute to the national narrative.

I must also point out that the changes to the mandate proposed for the Canadian Museum of Civilization are completely consistent with the strategic directions first approved by the museum's board of trustees in 2009, in particular the following direction, which states:

...broaden its national collections and its curatorial research to better reflect and present national narratives, symbols and achievements through the human, social, cultural, military and political history dimensions of Canadian life.

I am excited about the new Canadian museum of history and I encourage all of my colleagues to support the passage of the legislation that will make it a reality.

In closing, I will once again refer to Michael Bliss, who says “it is very exciting that Canada's major museum will now be explicitly focused on Canada's history”.

Second ReadingCanadian Museum of History ActGovernment Orders

4:30 p.m.

NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet NDP Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, if it is true that museum employees will be autonomous, why did the minister make his decision without even consulting Canadians or experts?

Second ReadingCanadian Museum of History ActGovernment Orders

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Ray Boughen Conservative Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, the word “autonomous” means that they can do it on their own, and if the minister granted autonomy for the staff to do that, then what is the question? They asked for autonomy and they have autonomy. I think that is fair enough.

Second ReadingCanadian Museum of History ActGovernment Orders

4:30 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member uses the term “autonomous”. I want to ask him about this, because it seems to be thrown about here. The independence and the autonomy of this particular board and the curators in this institution are at question here. We have to realize that curatorial independence is most sacrosanct in this, no matter what we do to change in name or to change in narrative. I agree that artifacts should be shared with the rest of the country, but it comes down to that central independence that is what they need.

I would like the member precisely, within the legislation, to tell the House exactly where that curatorial independence remains despite these changes. Where is it in the legislation exactly?

Second ReadingCanadian Museum of History ActGovernment Orders

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Ray Boughen Conservative Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, I am not prepared to quote chapter and verse as to where this issue rises, but I will share this with the member. It is now in place. The new museum will indeed have curatorial opportunities like the old museum did. There is no change. It is a lateral kind of move, so to speak.