Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise and support my colleague's initiative and commend him on the outstanding work that he has done with respect to raising the profile of the importance of artifacts and the important role of museums, no matter where they may be in the world, in recognizing where those artifacts belong and attempting to work toward repatriation.
In listening to the debate, I heard colleagues across the way asking “what about this?” or “what about that?” That is the nice thing about the standing committee process, as I suspect my friend and colleague will get the support necessary to be able to see this private member's bill passed, just based on the comments I have heard here this afternoon. Therefore, I congratulate the member and those individuals involved in assisting and motivating him to bring forward the legislation that we have before us.
I come from Winnipeg, where we have a natural tourist spot today. Hundreds if not thousands of years ago, it was a major attraction for settlers and for indigenous people, The Forks in Winnipeg where the Red River meets the Assiniboine River. It is the heart of Winnipeg, and there is great interest in the development of that area, where we continue to look at ways in which we can enhance tourism.
Often we underestimate the value of our heritage, in particular indigenous heritage, by not demonstrating appreciation and putting it out and displaying it, but we also underestimate the potential interest both from an educational point of view and from a tourism point of view. More and more, those complement each other. That is what I would like to see in terms of direction. We could identify many of these artifacts and bring them to a place where there is a greater educational component. I do not think that we appreciate the heritage that we have to date, and the first nations are the founders of where we are today. They have enriched who we are and have given us our identity.