Mr. Speaker, last June, I asked a question about a request for supply arrangement, also known as an RFSA, that was issued by the Parks Canada Agency on May 5, 2017.
The RFSA is for interpretive exhibit writing. The description states:
The Parks Canada Agency (PCA) requires the services of Contractors capable of providing National Parks, National Historic Sites and National Marine Conservation Areas throughout Canada complete interpretive product planning and interpretive writing services (including development of thematic framework) for all types of non-personal media including a range of visitor experience products, such as panels, brochures, touchscreens, sculptures, artifact displays, multi-media and exterior signs. The interpretive writing must be in keeping with Parks Canada’s emphasis on facilitating memorable visitor experiences.
This next section is key to this evening's discussion:
The writer will work closely with the site and park staff, the product developer and designer, historians, scientists, and other Parks Canada staff.
That sounds like excellent work. I love to see panels and displays in our cherished national parks that inform and educate, and even entertain our visitors. However, there is a problem. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission's report called on the federal government to do things differently. Call to action No. 79 states:
We call upon the federal government, in collaboration with Survivors, Aboriginal organizations, and the arts community, to develop a reconciliation framework for Canadian heritage and commemoration. This would include, but not be limited to:
i. Amending the Historic Sites and Monuments Act to include First Nations, Inuit, and Métis representation on the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada and its Secretariat.
ii. Revising the policies, criteria, and practices of the National Program of Historical Commemoration to integrate Indigenous history, heritage values, and memory practices into Canada’s national heritage and history.
iii. Developing and implementing a national heritage plan and strategy for commemorating residential school sites, the history and legacy of residential schools, and the contributions of Aboriginal peoples to Canada’s history.
I would like to mention that my friend across the floor, the member for Cloverdale—Langley City, has moved private member's Bill C-374 to address part one, and include first nations, Inuit, and Métis on the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada. My party and I support his bill.
The government, including the Parks Canada Agency, has committed to respecting the rest of call to action No. 79. Yet, this RFSA makes no mention of indigenous expertise. It has no requirement to consult with first nations, Métis, or Inuit communities. It talks clearly about the need to work with Parks Canada staff, designers, historians, and scientists, but leaves our indigenous communities out in the cold.
I ask again, as I did last May, will the government honour the history and sites of our indigenous people, recognize their expertise, and work with them by changing this RFSA to properly recognize and include indigenous heritage?