Kevin Waugh (Saskatoon—Grasswood)
2018-05-03 17:48 [p.19122]
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise again in support of my colleague from Cloverdale—Langley City’s Bill C-374. I would also like to add that I am very pleased with the overall support this legislation is getting from both sides of the House. It is unusual for a private member’s bill to pass second reading with unanimous support.
I would be remiss if I did not recognize that we are on the traditional territory of the Algonquin people. Since we are discussing inclusion and participation of indigenous peoples on the Historic Sites and Monuments Board, I think it is very important that we recognize regularly the historic site that we are right now standing on.
Bill C-374 seeks to amend the Historic Sites and Monuments Act. The bill addresses call to action No. 79 from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report. There are two further recommendations under the “Commemoration” heading that have not been discussed in this bill.
The mandate of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada is:
…to advise the Government of Canada, through the Minister of the Environment, on the commemoration of nationally significant aspects of Canada’s history.
Following a thorough evaluation process and recommendation by the Board, the Minister declares the site, event or person on national historic significance.
It further states:
The Board is composed of a representative from each province and territory…[with] appointments of up to five years with the possibility of additional terms…[there is also] the Librarian and Archivist of Canada, an officer of the Canadian Museum of History and the Vice-President of Parks Canada’s Heritage Conservation and Commemoration Directorate, who also acts as the Board’s Secretary.
Presently, quorum sits at 10. With the passage of Bill C-374, that number would rise from 10 to 13.
During the second reading debate on Bill C-374, the author and the member for Cloverdale—Langley City said this, which stuck with me:
As it stands today, Canada’s historic designation system is outdated. Many past designations, along with the board’s composition, are rooted in this country’s colonial history. We should celebrate Canada’s entire past. We should tell a broader, more inclusive, and more accurate story.
He is absolutely correct. We cannot hope to achieve reconciliation if we continue to deny portions of our history. The three additional voices representative of our indigenous population on the Historic Sites and Monuments Board will be a significant step in bringing new ideas and a fresh perspective to the board, as well as a comprehensive history going forward.
As I mentioned in my earlier remarks, my home province of Saskatchewan has many national historic sites, some of which are in my community of Saskatoon. I spoke about the Wanuskewin Heritage Park, and I believe it is worth repeating here today that on that 240 hectares there are 19 sites that represent both the active and the historical society of northern plains people. Six thousand years ago, indigenous peoples from across the northern plains gathered there to hunt bison, gather food and herbs, and escape the winter winds. The story of Wanuskewin is just beginning to be uncovered in my home province of Saskatchewan.
Another fine example of a national historic site in my own backyard is the Saskatoon Forestry Farm Park and Zoo. The area called the Sutherland Forest Nursery Station played a vital role in the settlement and development of the Prairies from the years 1913 to 1966. Shipping 147 million trees over that span of 50 years, the nursery supplied the northern part of the prairie provinces with an abundance of ash, along with maple, elm, and willow.
When the nursery was closed, a portion of the site was reopened as the Forestry Farm and Park by the City of Saskatoon in 1966. Designated a national historic site, the forestry farm continues to strengthen the roots of our community, while providing an awe-inspiring landscape for the park and zoo. The zoo is home to 300 animals, including two mobs of meerkats.
Another national historic site right in our province would be the legislative building in Regina. I spoke about that earlier in my remarks. I also mentioned its resemblance to where we are right now. Both buildings were built by the same Montreal company, Peter Lyall and Sons Construction Co. Ltd., and the fine craftsmen he employed back then, not only for the city of Regina’s legislative building but the House of Commons in Ottawa. Both buildings are truly beautiful.
I know we are going to have at least a 10-year shutdown of the House of Commons to refurbish it, but I encourage anyone visiting Ottawa or Regina to tour them quickly and get to know two of our most beautiful sites in the country.
I have served on the Canadian heritage committee, and I currently sit on the indigenous and northern affairs committee. My experience on both committees, along with the opportunity recently to tour communities in Nunavut with Senator Dennis Patterson for a week this spring, have given me a pretty good perspective on what we can do to bring a much more inclusive attitude to our non-indigenous population.