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House of Commons Emblem

Standing Committee on Official Languages


NUMBER 059 
l
1st SESSION 
l
41st PARLIAMENT 

EVIDENCE

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]

  (1145)  

[Translation]

    Welcome to the 59th meeting of the Standing Committee on Official Languages. Today is Tuesday, November 6, 2012. We are here today pursuant to Standing Order 108(3)(f) to study linguistic duality during the 150th anniversary celebrations of Canadian Confederation in 2017.

[English]

    In front of us today we have Madame Inman from the Confederation Centre of the Arts in Prince Edward Island. We also have Mr. McAvity, Madame Vermette, and Madame Bachmann from the Canadian Museums Association.

[Translation]

    We also have Mr. Caron, from Library and Archives Canada.

[English]

    We'll begin with an opening statement from the Confederation Centre of the Arts.

[Translation]

    I am delighted to have the opportunity to speak to you today. I wish to thank this important committee for inviting me to speak to you about the 150th anniversary of our great country.

[English]

    As a living memorial to the Fathers of Confederation located in the birthplace of our great nation, Confederation Centre of the Arts pays a lively tribute to Canada's founding and ongoing development as a nation. Our centre reflects the achievements that began with the historic Charlottetown conference in 1864 and that encompass the evolution of every Canadian province and territory. The dream of an architecturally stunning building, a national memorial arts centre located in Canada's birthplace, was realized in 1964.
     Located in Prince Edward Island, Confederation Centre is a multi-functional professional arts facility. Recognized internationally for its contributions to Canada's performing arts, the centre offers four theatres, with a seating capacity of 2,500. It is home to a national art gallery with a permanent collection of more than 16,000 works of art. It offers a full range of bilingual arts education programs for hundreds of youth and includes a new accredited school for the performing arts in cooperation with P.E.I.'s Holland College. Volunteers, local members, and corporate sponsors generously support the operation. Each year 250,000 people participate in our programming.
     As everyone knows, the centre is home to the Charlottetown Festival and Canada's longest-running musical, Anne of Green Gables—The Musical, which has drawn millions of visitors to P.E.I. over the last 48 years. Equally important, though, we have produced over 70 original theatre productions employing hundreds of actors, dancers, musicians, and artistic creators from across the country.
     Today the centre is committed to engage and empower the imagination of our youth and their unique ability to learn, to strengthen our national identity, and to increase the cultural and economic wealth of all Canadians.
    We are committed to recognizing Canada's linguistic duality through programming and services. Most of our services to the public are bilingual, including our website, front-line box office and telephone services, art gallery materials and publications, and the Confederation Players, who interpret the history of Confederation via vignettes and guided tours in both official languages. Our arts discovery days program is offered in both languages. These services are a priority as our institution has a national mandate. The continued expansion of our bilingual services will be a priority for the centre as we prepare for the 2017 anniversary.

  (1150)  

[Translation]

    For our 2013 season, we are currently looking into staging a new, original Canadian musical. We are thinking about staging the musicalEvangeline, written by Ted Dykstra, the creator of 2 Pianos, 4 Hands. This great love story, based on the poem by Longfellow, tells the story of the famous Evangeline, who became separated from her beloved, Gabriel.

[English]

    This musical honours the survival of French people and their culture, the indomitable human spirit, and the love between two people, all framed by the energizing music and dance of the Acadian, Maritime, and Cajun people. The musical will be presented mainly in English but will include French songs to ensure that we capture the beauty of the French language. We anticipate a cross-Canada tour, culminating in a return to Charlottetown in 2017.
    If we are able to raise the extra funds, $500,000, required for this important project by our due date of Friday of this week, the exciting creation of Evangeline: the Musical will begin immediately.
    The centre has been a leader in numerous cultural celebrations that have taken place over the last 48 years. The first, of course, was the opening of the centre itself, on October 4, 1964, by Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. With the financial support of all provinces and the federal government, the centre opened under the auspices of Prime Minister Diefenbaker with the premiers of all provinces present. At the time, Prime Minister Pearson stated eloquently, "[The Fathers of Confederation Memorial Building] is a tribute to those famous men who founded our Confederation. But it is also dedicated to the fostering of those things that enrich the mind and delight the heart, those intangible but precious things that give meaning to a society and help create from it a civilization and a culture."
    In 2004 we initiated an exciting new heritage program, the Symons medal and lecture, which features prominent Canadians who focus on national issues such as politics, development, arts and culture, and heritage. This annual lecture is always offered with simultaneous translation services.
    In 2007 our Confederation Centre Youth Chorus performed for thousands of war veterans, dignitaries, and international media at the dedication of the restored Canada National Vimy Memorial in France. The chorus hopes to participate in the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge in 2017.
    In 2010 the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games proudly showcased Canadian achievements, and the centre was the proud secretariat for the Atlantic pavilion site, or what the media coined the “gold medal cultural pavilion”.
    As part of the Cultural Capitals of Canada partnership with Canadian Heritage, the Confederation Centre's Young Company was thrilled to present The Talking Stick, a production starring the first-ever entirely first nations cast. We want to repeat this in 2017.
    Our vision for 2017 is the proud cultural movement that inspires all Canadians by honouring our past, celebrating the present, and planning a bold future for Canada's artistic and cultural society. Most importantly, we are developing many ways to ensure that Canadians understand this incredible asset we have in our country, linguistic duality.
    In 2014 the centre will be celebrating its own 50th anniversary and the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown conference. In cooperation with PEI 2014, plans are under way to mark these momentous occasions and to reach all Canadians. Such plans are precursors to Canada's 150th birthday in 2017, and they will include the creation, production, and tour of the next great Canadian musical, Rivir; a national commemorative sculpture erected on the centre's plaza; an enhanced presentation of Canada Rocks! The Hits Musical Revue; a modernized presentation of the bilingual Young Company production Les Feux Follets, representing Canada's multiculturalism; the continued staging of Evangeline: The Musical; an expansion of the national Symons medal and lecture series; a bilingual commemorative book highlighting the centre's outstanding activities over 50 years; and bilingual vignettes, tours, and performances by the Confederation Players, who interpret the events that led to the conception of Canada at the Charlottetown conference.
    At Confederation Centre we express ourselves through the visual and performing arts. We are considering a number of theatre projects for 2014 and 2017 that will appeal to both Canadians and visitors to Canada. Among the projects is 1864: The Musical, an inventive take on the founding of Canada, populated by characters such as Sir John A. Macdonald and Sir George-Étienne Cartier.
    The centre has undertaken a legacy project that will not only celebrate the 150th anniversary of Canada but will also distinguish Canada as a world leader in art, music, and technology. For now called The Next Great Canadian Musical, Rivir, this new show will be a breathtaking, gravity-defying spectacle that will acknowledge Canada's rich heritage and great prospects. We seek to create an original theatrical experience that will rival musical classics such as The Lion King and Cats. This new musical will tour Canada and return to Charlottetown for the 2017 celebrations.
    We are also in the early stages of developing a major bilingual visual arts exhibition concerning architectural projects that were part of Canada's centennial celebrations during the 1960s. They constitute an important record of the national identity, values, and aspirations of the day. We see the potential for a major travelling exhibition. Since the centre was the first centennial project to be completed, it would help celebrate the centre's 50th anniversary in 2014, tour nationally between 2014-2017, and culminate in an exhibition at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, which was the final federal centennial project, completed in 1969.
    The Confederation Centre is a national historic site ideally suited to plan and host activities for the 150th anniversary. Situated within historic Charlottetown, the official birthplace of Confederation, the centre is not only Canada's national memorial to the Fathers of Confederation and the founding of this great nation; it is also a well-oiled machine teeming with bilingual talent and ability. We are ready to be a major contributor to 2017's celebration.
    As host to millions of visitors over our 48-year history, we know how to celebrate, whether it be in P.E.I. or anywhere else in Canada.

  (1155)  

[Translation]

    I wish to sincerely thank you for giving me the opportunity to join you for this dialogue on how we can together celebrate Canada's 150th anniversary.
    All Canadians, from coast to coast, will have the chance to come together to commemorate our important role on the world stage and our unique heritage. We are proud to be able to begin our next 150 years with the possibility of building a future that is innovative, transformative and, most of all, Canadian, in a country with two official languages.
    Thank you very much.
    Thank you very much, Ms. Inman.
    I will now turn things over to the Canadian Museums Association.

[English]

    I would actually like to welcome all of you to this place, because you are in what was a museum. Perhaps someday it will be returned again, when we have better days, to the Museum of Contemporary Photography.

[Translation]

    My name is John McAvity, and I am the executive director of the Canadian Museums Association. I am joined by a member of the board of directors, Karen Bachmann, who is also the director of the Timmins Museum, and Audrey Vermette, who is the director of programs and public affairs at the CMA.

[English]

    The Canadian Museums Association has approximately 2,000 members all across Canada. Our members come from large metropolitan galleries to small volunteer-run museums. I'm pretty sure in each one of your ridings you can count a number of museums, because they are all across Canada. The museums are extremely popular; we receive about 60 million visitors per year to Canadian museums. They are major economic attractions, but they are also very important as educational institutions in our communities across Canada. They are places that teach our history, our art, and our environment. They promote tolerance and understanding among people. Approximately 48% of the Canadian population regularly go to museums, and a lot of schoolchildren go as well.
    The Government of Canada has clearly underlined the value and importance of museums to society. We saw that in the federal budget. We have seen that in the recent announcement of the Canadian Museum of History, which we totally support. We have also seen that in the recent report of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage on 2017, and we are very pleased with all three of those reports.
    If I might take a minute with respect to the federal budget, the good news there was that our sector, in a period of major restraint and cutbacks, was not cut. We were very pleased about that. We were very pleased that the government doubled the so-called insurance program for travelling exhibitions, the indemnification program. That was doubled.
    We are also very pleased to see, initially, a major increase in youth unemployment funding of $50 million over two years, since we run such a program for museums, but unfortunately it has come to our attention that the program is not open to not-for-profit organizations, so there is still room for improvement of federal support of museums.
    That is one of the reasons we have made the recommendation for what we call the “Canadians Supporting Their Museums Fund”, a program that we're proposing to encourage philanthropy, to encourage museums to become more self-reliant, and to help engage Canadians more in the heritage and arts field.
    It should be noted that museums and galleries in Canada strive to provide services to various audiences. Most of the major museums—certainly the national and many of the provincial museums—offer services in each official language.
    In addition, many of the smaller museums also offer second language service, such as Le Village Historique Acadien in Caraquet. It's an institution I know very well, which promotes the Acadian tradition. As well, the Revelstoke museum in Revelstoke offers information guides in English, French, German, and Dutch.
    These are just two examples of the attempts of museums to be more accessible.
    I would now like to turn to my colleague, Karen Bachmann, for part two.

  (1200)  

[Translation]

    Good afternoon.
    In anticipation of this consultation on the events surrounding the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017, the CMA and its board of directors organized a series of consultations with members and museum directors across Canada. The ongoing consultation process has generated some excellent ideas and suggestions, which we would like to present to you today.
    From all the ideas shared by our members, there are three major recommendations that I would like to share with you, after which, my colleague Audrey Vermette will present more detailed program suggestions.

[English]

    First, in 1967 Canada celebrated its centennial year in a very opulent manner, from Expo 67 in Montreal to small community projects. Virtually every community participated in a way, and we saw the emergence of hundreds of new museums. Major new museum buildings were opened across Canada, such as Nova Scotia Museum, the Ontario Science Centre, The Manitoba Museum, and many others across this land. Small community museums were also built as legacy gifts.
    For 2017 we do not recommend large-scale capital projects of this magnitude. Given the economic climate, we believe it is just not appropriate to create new museums; however, many of the existing museum buildings do require upgrades or expansions. Some are housed in inappropriate facilities and do not properly house our national collections, nor do they welcome our visitors very well. These should be considered priorities for any capital funds available.
    Second, we recommend the establishment of a formal, multi-year grants program to begin the development and implementation of these celebratory projects as soon as possible. This grants program could be coordinated by a federal commission similar to the Centennial Commission, established in 1963 for the 1967 celebrations, which administered centennial projects for the federal government and joint projects with the provinces and territories.
    Additional funding from the private sector should and will be sought. Some projects can be fully funded from private sources, while others will require federal investments. A multi-year grant program will ensure that the tight timelines are met and will take into consideration the ancillary anniversaries leading up to the 150th anniversary of Canada.
    Third, we wish to ensure that these celebrations are inclusive for all Canadians, with special recognition of our Canadian diversity and our aboriginal roots. Museums should celebrate with the presentation of artifacts and our intangible cultural heritage—the people, stories, songs, and traditions that continue to shape this country. The celebrations should not only be about looking back, but should also be about moving forward, innovating, and building Canada's cultural and heritage sector. A legacy project like the matching donations program will make that possible.
    We would like to applaud you for your early start on this planning process so as to ensure that the results will be significant and meaningful for all Canadians.
    Thank you.

  (1205)  

    We have received a great number of programming concepts around the 150th anniversary from members and directors, some of which we would like to share with you today.
    These ideas can be grouped in two overarching approaches: projects of national scope, which are implemented on a collective basis, and projects that each museum and gallery would undertake on their own or in collaboration with others in their areas.

[Translation]

    Partnership and collaboration are key factors in the success of any major event. In the case of the 150th anniversary, collaboration would take place not just between museums but also encompass partnerships with Crown corporations, private companies, organizations, and important events, such as Canada Day here in Ottawa and in London, England.
    In terms of national projects, we would like to highlight five initiatives.
    The first involves offering free admission to museums for a given period of time, as a "gift" to all Canadians. Museums already offer (or plan to offer) free entry on July 1st. In 2017, we propose extending this offer to cover the period from National Aboriginal Day on June 21st to July 1st, thereby including Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day. It should be noted that funding would be required to compensate museums for significant losses in revenue during a busy time of year.
    The second involves creating a bilingual Canadian heritage passport that would encourage citizens to visit museums, galleries, and historic sites across the country. The passport would be stamped by each institution they visit. The passport program would be supported by a national promotional campaign and prizes for participating.
    The third involves a bilingual national marketing campaign aimed at promoting various museum activities at the national level and raising public awareness of the importance and value of our history and culture.
    The fourth involves creating major exhibitions. Our colleague mentioned an idea along these lines. This initiative could take the form of large-scale exhibitions at leading Canadian museums, travelling exhibitions crossing the country by train, for example, like the 1967 centennial train. We are also talking about virtual exhibitions devoted to presenting key images, archival materials, and artifacts from each museum as part of the 150th anniversary, or an audio-visual exhibition in partnership with CBC/Radio-Canada and other national media that would broadcast programming that focuses on the 150 artifacts and works that define our nation's history. These national exhibitions, whether physical or virtual, would also be bilingual.
    With respect to the idea of a national recognition program, the first part would include creating a medal awarded in recognition of museum-related volunteer work, which would be presented to 150 volunteers across the country, in partnership with our colleagues from provincial and territorial associations.
    The second part is aimed at creating a national award for museum of the year, art gallery of the year, community museum of the year, and so on, for which voting and promotion would be performed by the general public, as in the 2011 VoteFundy campaign to include the Bay of Fundy as one of the world's seven new wonders.
    At the local and provincial level, some of the initiatives that have been mentioned by our members include: encouraging and helping museums to develop and present special exhibitions celebrating the history of their community with 150 objects, as well as opening their doors for "behind the scenes" visits, which the public always finds interesting; off-site activities, in which exhibitions or programs would be presented in locations such as hospitals, care facilities, schools, shopping malls, airports, tourist offices, and so on.

  (1210)  

[English]

     Finally, at a professional level, the 150th anniversary represents a good opportunity for the heritage sector to invest in its future. Investing in research and development, establishing special fellowships and professional exchanges, exploring innovations in cross-sector partnerships and national forums—all these efforts will help to build a museum of tomorrow and ensure the long-term sustainability of our cultural institutions.
    There are many good ideas coming forward to showcase a rich heritage and culture in 2017 and throughout the many events leading up to it.
    We thank you for your time and would enjoy discussing this further with you.

[Translation]

    Thank you.
    Mr. Caron, you have the floor.

[English]

    Good day, Mr. Chairman, and honourable members of the committee.
    Let me begin by saying thank you for giving me the opportunity to be here this morning in my capacity as deputy head and Librarian and Archivist of Library and Archives Canada.
     Today my observations will echo the remarks I made last December before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, which discussed our preparations for the 2017 celebrations. Your interest in Canada's 150th anniversary will allow me to expand on my previous insights.
    Library and Archives Canada considers linguistic duality to be a fundamental dimension of our heritage. I would also like to elaborate on how we, as one of the pillars of our collective memory, will present a rich and vibrant reflection of this linguistic duality to Canadians through the activities planned for the 150th anniversary.
     I know that this anniversary will be a monumental "memory event" in the history of our country, and an extraordinary opportunity to share and showcase our treasures. This is a clear expectation and certainly the most visible aspect of our contribution.
    However, immediately underneath the raw material expression of LAC's role is perhaps the institution's most important contribution: indeed, not only will we make sure that Canadians have access to documents and artifacts all across the country, but we will also ensure that this material will accurately reflect what Canada is made of—its social fabric, if you will.
    To paraphrase General Murray's exchange in 1764 with the Lords of Trade vis-à-vis the necessity of having a court system made of judges that would have the capacity to function in the colony, we will have to make sure that the documents, portraits, books, and maps are a relevant reflection of our culture in all of its multiple dimensions and contributions. This goes much beyond presenting translated versions. This will be about getting a proper assemblage of authentic artifacts reflecting our linguistic duality.
     Before giving you some details on how we will contribute and how we are currently preparing ourselves for Canada 150, let me just say that one fundamental attribute of this contribution will be to always question ourselves on the "what". What are we going to include for Canadians through those various activities to ensure a fair reflection of this linguistic duality that is a key element of our social fabric? Yes, there will be activities in both French and English, but each will include that special dimension.
     In terms of the focus of our participation, I believe that LAC's fundamental contribution to 2017 should revolve around greater access for all Canadians to the body of their documentary heritage, no matter where they live or which official language they speak. Providing the greatest possible access to Canada's documentary heritage will be our contribution to the national celebration.

[Translation]

    The implications of this are twofold. First, and as I already mentioned, it means making our treasures accessible to Canadians. Second, and of paramount importance to me, is to continue to build an institution that will be able to collect, with its partners, the most relevant representation of our documentary heritage. And of course, an important part of this representativeness is that our linguistic duality be reflected.
    Given the remarkable shift of communications into digital formats over the last 10 years, we are working diligently to ensure that we take advantage of the opportunities that advances in digital technology present. Indeed, optimal access is one of the driving forces behind our modernization process. And as you may know, some of these new technologies have often been a boon for institutions such as LAC that serve very diverse clienteles, including those that speak different languages.
    For LAC, this means exciting opportunities that will allow us to build a collection that even more faithfully represents the Canada of 2012, 2013, 2017 and beyond.
    With the Web, we will be able to capture a greater part, a better representation of what Canadians are saying on different topics. And regardless of the format of our bilingual documentary heritage, whether analog or digital, published or unpublished, we are striving to make sure that LAC is up to the challenge of collecting our citizens' contributions to the various Canadian discourses of national significance.
    More concretely, LAC is currently working on several fronts that will lead the organization to 2017—an important year for both our country and our institution.

  (1215)  

    One critical component for LAC is the creation of multiple partnerships with organizations throughout the country.
    Today, just a few blocks away from here, we are hosting our third pan-Canadian documentary heritage forum, bringing together representatives from Canadian universities, archives, libraries and museums, as well as provincial and territorial associations in order to explore opportunities for collaborative initiatives that will help us to better serve Canadians.
    For example, LAC is exploring partnerships with members of heritage communities in order to allow us to participate meaningfully in the celebration. Among other things, this will help contribute to promoting the vitality and sustainability of official language minority communities throughout the country.
    Looking ahead to 2017, LAC will be approaching its federal government partners about the possibility of taking the country's most important foundational documents out of LAC's vaults and giving Canadians a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see them in person.
    Along these same lines, LAC is also looking forward to being a partner of the Canadian History Museum and intends to contribute valuable heritage content to this new national institution that will officially open in 2017. This will provide yet another venue to showcase treasures from our vaults to Canadians. And, as we ramp up for 2017, another example of our collaborative work can be seen in our series of travelling exhibitions that bring Canada's documentary heritage directly to Canadians.
    As we have done with our three current travelling exhibitions that will visit numerous locales across the country over the next few years, our intent is to work collaboratively with even more communities from coast to coast so that we can develop an impressive mosaic of projects that will bring LAC's treasures closer to Canadians where they live.
    Capitalizing on our dynamic network of like-minded institutions, the goal is to launch several travelling exhibitions annually over the next four or five years, so that by 2017, the country is criss-crossed by a myriad of showcases that will portray Canada's heritage, linguistic duality and diversity.
    Another angle of our preparations that I already alluded to earlier is the optimal utilization of digital technology. For example, targeting specific audiences, LAC is producing 24 immigration heritage online kits that enable users to find more information concerning ethno-cultural groups of interest. As well, LAC is launching an online toolkit that gives access to the stories of numerous aboriginal individuals and communities across Canada.
    This path permits us to not only digitize and make accessible each day more documentary heritage via the Web, but also to treat digitally-born documentary production in real time.

[English]

     Thinking back to Canada's 100th anniversary in 1967 and the famous centennial train, for 2017 LAC will be directing Canadians to what could be called a digital superhighway of documentary heritage that they can explore in the comfort of their homes.
    To that end, as a first phase, we've already created a portrait portal that also reflects Canadian linguistic duality through its content. This gives all Canadians digital access to LAC's portrait collection, in particular to a representative sample of our miniature portraits and some of our more avant-garde photographs.
    As we continue to digitize portions of our collections, we will attempt to bring tens of millions of images online to commemorate the country's 150th anniversary.
    Our gift to Canadians will be to give them both greater access to their documentary heritage regardless of where they live or what language they speak, and an institution that can meet the challenges of the digital era. In doing so, LAC will ensure we are able to continue to capture the documentary heritage of this nation in all its subtleties.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair, and I will now be happy to answer any questions at your convenience.

  (1220)  

[Translation]

    Thank you, Mr. Caron.
    We have 40 minutes for questions and comments.
    Mr. Godin, you have the floor.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    I would like to welcome our witnesses.
    As you know, we lost almost an hour because of votes. It's unfortunate because we could have a great discussion about this. Mr. Caron, I would like to ask some questions, and I will go right ahead.
    What you have just told us is wonderful, but the federal government has made significant cuts in the 2012 budget. Would you agree with me that there have been significant cutbacks?
    Yes, budget-wise, our contribution was 10% economically.
    If I'm not mistaken, 215 positions will be cut.
    I think that's correct.
    There are 215 positions that will be cut at Library and Archives Canada. Of those 215 positions, there are 21 out of 61 positions assigned to the archives and to archive assistance that deal with non-government documents.
    I could give you the exact numbers. It's quite possible, but I should check.
    Could you check and send this information to the committee?
    Yes, I will give you the exact numbers.
    The number of employees assigned to digitization and circulation will also be cut by 50%.
    As for that, no cuts being made to the people doing the digitizing. There are cuts to the people taking care of circulation.
    You are talking about people involved in circulation.
    The digitization is done by our employees and people outside the organization. We don't do all the digitization.
    The national archive development program was abolished in the 2012 budget. It was a $1.1 million program, isn't that right?
    Yes, that's correct.
    It enabled provincial, municipal and local archival offices to acquire, preserve and circulate archives. Is that right?
    Yes, that was their mandate.
    That was their mandate.
    Now we are getting ready for 2017.
    Mr. Caron, you are speaking as if everything is fine. You have often spoken about respect for both official languages. Yesterday, my office received a complaint from someone who had given money to Library and Archives Canada. He was sent a letter that was only in English. He was told that if he wanted to receive the letter in French, he had to call a 1-800 number. When he spoke with Library and Archives Canada employees, he asked that his name be put on the French list, and he was told that the system was not set up that way.
    You're telling us about a major digital system where Canadians will be served in both official languages. You are asking for money and you aren't even able to correspond in French, one of the official languages.
    I'm a little surprised by your comment because we aren't asking for money. I don't know if it really was Library and Archives Canada, but our communications are generally done in both languages. I'm not saying that there aren't exceptions.

  (1225)  

    Would you like us to do a follow-up?
    Yes, because I would like to know what it is all about.
    Don't worry, Mr. Caron. There will be a follow-up.
    Let's talk about the plans and priorities report that the minister submitted to the House. You prepare the report. Do you agree with me?
    Yes.
    There is no mention of official languages. At a previous meeting, Claude Gravelle raised this issue and asked why they were not included in the government's plans and priorities report. I was not at that committee meeting.
    Now, we are looking at the 2012-2013 report and official languages are not even mentioned. The reason for my reaction is that, in your presentation, you kept saying that your organization, Library and Archives Canada, respects both official languages. We have invited a lot of department officials and we have told them that official languages were not mentioned in the plans and priorities report. You still chose not to talk about it. Why is that?
    We are definitely going to include that aspect. I can tell you that official languages are part and parcel of our institution's culture from all points of view; all the work we do and all our work practices reflect that. We gather documents that reflect Canadian society. It is a given for us. We can mention it in our plans and priorities.
    Let's move on to another topic.
    I am afraid that, in 2067, there will not be much left in regional and community libraries. We are doing away with such valuable things. People are dreading it and they do not support the cuts that were imposed on Library and Archives Canada. How are you dealing with that? You are eliminating so many jobs. Based on what we have heard and as you said, 50% of the digitization and circulation staff is being cut. With significant cuts like that, what will you do in 2017 to ensure that a legacy is left for people?
    First of all, I think that we are capitalizing on technologies. To answer your question, I will just give you one example. In my view, it is important for people to understand the context.
    In the past, we used to have to manually describe all the materials that were coming in. Under the legal deposit system, for instance, we were responsible for describing all the books. Today, this operation can be directly done digitally. Since the entries are already created by the publishers, we do not need to redo the work. That used to be a lot of work. I cannot tell you exactly how many people were doing that job, but I can certainly tell you that there is no longer a need to do that work. Much of this type of work is becoming increasingly unnecessary. That includes the description of archival materials. Since we now get the materials in digital form, we can automatically search inside those materials.
    We will continue to do what we used to do with the analog system, but we are getting ready. Like all the institutions around the world, we are even lagging a bit behind because materials are now largely digitized. Materials will perhaps never be printed.

[English]

     Thank you.
    Monsieur Gourde is next.

[Translation]

    My thanks to the witnesses for joining us today. It is very interesting.
    Could you tell us about your thought process behind the 2017 150th anniversary celebrations? In listening to your presentations, my understanding is that it had already started. As you know, we are very sensitive when it comes to linguistic duality. We would like your organizations to integrate it and promote it during the celebrations.
    Could you explain where your organizations are at in the thought process?
    In terms of the Canadian Museums Association, the museums obviously play a very important role in the celebrations. We must also not forget the role museums play in preserving our heritage. We started thinking about this last year.
    As to the process, we are directly consulting with our museum professionals in regions across the country and in all the provinces and territories to find out what they think about the role of the museums in the celebrations and to see what their programming ideas are. The goal is to have a fair national representation. Of course, it isn't as easy for some of the more remote communities.That is why we wanted to hear not only from the major national museums, but also from the small community and regional museums.
    The process is ongoing. We often organize discussion groups with our museum professionals. We want to keep the dialogue open and to come up with more ideas on the vital role of museums. So the programming ideas that we have shared with you today are not just our ideas. They are also the ideas of the 2,000 members of the association, across Canada.
    Ms. Inman, would you like to add something to that?

[English]

    May I comment?
    The Confederation Centre of the Arts is a national organization with a national mandate. We have relationships and networks in every province and territory in the country. Most of the provinces and territories contribute financially to the organization, along with financial support from the Province of Prince Edward Island and Canadian Heritage, so on that level, we have a large network.
    We also use social media extensively to ensure that we're reaching Canadians across the country and that they're aware of our programs. We're also part of many arts organization networks that exist in Canada. We're members of various groups and we get our message out through all of these media, but truly, we use social media a lot these days because it is just so much cheaper than other kinds of advertising.
    As we all know, TV advertisements are very expensive now, but for 2017 we're hoping that there will be additional funding that will allow us to advertise at the maximum level across the country.
    Thank you.

  (1230)  

[Translation]

    As I said earlier, we have two objectives. The first objective is an internal objective. We are hoping to develop an institution that will be able to continue to do its job, so that we can celebrate 2017, and subsequent years, with documentation. We are facing considerable challenges in terms of acquisitions, preservation and access. We are working on all those fronts to ensure that the institution is going to meet its obligations with policies and tools that can work both with the analog and the digital system. It is a huge challenge and we are working on it.
    As for our presence across Canada and our role to make our content known, we are working on two fronts. First, we are being selective about the materials we digitize, because not all the documentation deserves to be digitized. We continue to follow our digitization plan to make as many materials as possible available on the Internet for the whole country and abroad.
    Second, we are doing a lot of work with partners. In fact, we have worked with the Confederation Centre of the Arts and other museums in the country to develop joint exhibitions. We are slowly but surely building momentum for travelling exhibitions that will go from one place to another and that are multiplying every year. In 2017, we will really have quite a strong presence across the country with these various travelling exhibitions that will continue until 2017. So we are already starting to get these exhibitions on the road.
    With your archive digitization project, perhaps Canadians will no longer need to come to Ottawa to visit the Library and Archives Canada. As a matter of fact, we will be able to access much of the library directly from our homes with our laptops.
    How long do you think it will take to have about 50% of the archives on the Internet?
    It is very difficult to give you an answer because we are constantly producing materials and finding new ones. I feel that I would be lying to you if I gave you a date.
    I think that you are quite right. We are using our various devices to access that information. We are seeing that within our organization. Fewer and fewer people are coming in person. I think that there are about 70 visitors a day, whereas there are half a million visitors a month on the Internet. That is increasingly how people visit us.
    We would like everything that is created digitally to be available right away. That is our ultimate objective. So we are trying to shorten the time between when materials are acquired and when Canadians can access those materials. We are working a great deal on that. There will be no wait time. It will be a direct link.
    Furthermore, we have looked at our collections to see what needs to be digitized. Many things are very interesting and need to be digitized. But there are also a lot of things that are perhaps less interesting or that are going to appeal to small segments of the population. So those materials can wait. They will not be necessarily digitized, they might never be digitized.
    It is a gradual process, but I think that, by 2017, our objective is to have a substantial proportion of the most important and most frequently used documents available to Canadians on the Internet.
    That would definitely be a great legacy for all Canadians.
    That is exactly right.

[English]

     Thank you.
    Go ahead, Monsieur Godin.

[Translation]

    Mr. Chair, I have a point of order, or rather I have a correction to make.
    You are right, Mr. Caron. You did not ask for money. It was the Canadian Museum of Civilization. But you are not off the hook so easily. In fact, the invoice came from you and it was in English, although our request was in French and it came from a third party.
    That is not a point of order; that is a point of discussion, a piece of information.
    Go ahead, Mr. Dion.
    Thank you all for joining us in this museum and thank you for the work that you do. The heart of a country beats to the rhythm of its museums, its history, and its archives. Your work is very important.
    My first question

  (1235)  

[English]

is to Madame Inman. In 2017, what are we celebrating again?
    In 2017?
    In 2017, what are we celebrating again? It's the anniversary of what?
    We're celebrating Canada, as a nation.
    Are you sure?
    And our heritage, our history, our people, our culture—
    Excuse me, are you saying that Canada was born in 1867? Is that what you are teaching in your arts centre?
    No. We're the national memorial to the founding of the nation in terms of the first meeting that was ever held to discuss Canada as a nation, and that happened in 1864. Our building was opened in 1964 to commemorate that.
    We are not discussing Canada as a nation. We are discussing Confederation. Canada was a nation before that. I hope you know that.
    Absolutely, I know that.
    Then why are you calling it the anniversary of Canada? I think we need to respect our history.
    Ms. Jessie Inman: And that's why I—
    Hon. Stéphane Dion: In some parts of the county it will play very badly if we call 1867 the birth of Canada.
    Do you know who François-Xavier Garneau was?
    Yes.
    He was a great historian.
    Yes.
    In 1845, he wrote Histoire du Canada depuis sa découverte jusqu'à nos jours.
    Who was the first prime minister of Canada?
    Sir John A. Macdonald.
    Excuse me?
    I'm sorry.
    Have you never heard about Louis-Hippolyte La Fontaine?
    Yes. That's why I want to do this show, Evangeline, because it was the mid-1700s—
    I'm very concerned about the way you teach history in your arts centre, but you're not alone.

[Translation]

    You are all making the same mistake and it is a very serious mistake. You cannot demolish a country's history just like that. You are going to have a major problem with a good portion of the population, including francophones, if you are forgetting why we have two official languages in this country and how the Europeans populated this part of the continent.

[English]

    May I respond? I agree with you completely, Monsieur Dion. This is why I want to show the story of Evangeline next year on our stage. The mid-1700s, when the expulsion of Canadians happened in the Maritime provinces, is a very big part of our history—
    But it's not the pre-history of Canada; it is the history of Canada.
    It is the history of Canada. I agree completely—
    Okay. Thank you. I hope you will correct that, because it's a big mistake if you are pretending that Canada started in 1867.
    Absolutely. No, before that we had Upper Canada, we had Lower Canada, and we had Canada. I agree.
    We had Canada. We had Canada before Lower Canada and Upper Canada. We had Canada before 1760, Kanata.
    No countries are diminishing their history this way.
    No. I think that 1867 is simply the culmination of Confederation—
    It's Confederation, Madame. It's the name of your arts centre; Confederation is not the beginning of Canada.
    I agree.

[Translation]

    Thank you.
    You understand that you are here before the Standing Committee on Official Languages. You are not before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage version two. We do not want to redo its work. I really liked your presentations, but I did not think that they were very focused on our problem.
    Let me ask you something again. Could you tell us what you need to ensure that the official languages will be fully respected in 2017? That is the issue our committee is dealing with. We do not want to have any mistakes like the ones we saw in the Olympic Games, for example.
    To make a long story short, you need to assure us that you are well equipped to fully honour both official languages and that there will not be any unfortunate incidents because of the work that you are doing. That is the issue we are addressing at this meeting. I am not sure whether that has been clearly explained to you, but that is really what this is about.
    We do not want to redo the work of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage and see in what direction it will go. That is not our committee's job. Our committee wants to make sure that, in 2017, everyone will be able to say that we celebrated Confederation, meaning that we celebrated Canada on the anniversary of its Confederation and that both official languages were fully honoured.
    Could you please redo your presentations to reflect that?
    Restart our presentations? Absolutely.
    As I said in my presentation, we see two aspects. Obviously, there is the whole issue of bilingualism, as Mr. Godin mentioned. So we need to be able to work in both languages and our presentations need to be...
    I want you to say that it really is important to you.
    We are actually very well equipped because we have...
    You are well equipped, so you don't need anything?
    We have the heritage, we have everything we need.
    Okay. I will move on to something else.
    Do you need anything to make sure that, in 2017, both official languages will be fully honoured in the work that you will have to do, Ms. Inman?

[English]

    May I respond?

[Translation]

    Mr. Caron is happy with what he has. He does not need anything.

[English]

    I do need things, absolutely. I need more bilingualism classes offered in our institution. I need more of my staff to be bilingual. Obviously, I'm trying very hard to become bilingual myself. I was getting there in 1994, before I left Canada. Unfortunately, right now my second language is Indonesian, but I'm trying to get my French back to set an example for the institution. I would love to have more French classes for the people who work there.
    We're actually very lucky, for a small province; 10% of our population speaks French, which is not too bad. We're very close to New Brunswick, where there's a huge French population, and we'll draw on all of these bilingual people for our 2017 celebrations, but if we could have more resources internally to train our people in French, I would be so grateful.

  (1240)  

    So it is training you need the most.
    Yes. Simply for the bilingual services, yes.
    Okay. Thank you.
    Mr. Dion, I think one of the principal recommendations we've made is over the structure of how the celebrations would be undertaken in 2017. We think it's really important that there be an arm's-length commission established with representatives from every province, from the people, from aboriginal people, and so on.
    For example, the 1812 celebrations, which are perhaps the closest parallel, I think have been done very well in bringing out this war that most Canadians have not thought about. Those celebrations were done within the department; it had to be done quickly, so they did it this way.
    We've got the time in our hands to do this right. If the structure is put in place and the imperatives are there over bilingualism, linguistic duality, aboriginal issues, and so on, I think it can be done well.
    You were speaking about what you want to celebrate. I want to know if you will be able to deliver this service in both official languages. If not, what more do you need to be well equipped?
    As we said in our presentation, certainly the national institutions deliver in both official languages, and many of the provincial institutions do as well. However, at the local level there is a need. This is why we've asked for a funding program to be put in place that would, among other things, help create the celebrations, the artistic performances, the exhibitions, and the radio programs, as well as service in both languages.
    Thank you.
    I'm sure the witnesses have realized that they waded into a debate we had here at the committee when we first proposed the motion to study the 150th anniversary of Canada.

[Translation]

    Mr. Dion proposed to change the name of the study from the 150th anniversary of Canada to the 150th anniversary of Confederation.

[English]

    It's understandable that you worded it that way.
    I'd also add, Mr. Dion—

[Translation]

    that July 1 is Canada Day, not Confederation Day.

[English]

    Originally it was Dominion Day, and that was supposed to be the new moniker for the newly created federal state. In the 1980s it was changed to Canada Day, so obviously many people think—
    That is not the anniversary of Canada. They are wrong, and we should—
     It's understandable that many people would think 1867—
    We should teach this, especially in the museum.
    Yes.

[Translation]

    I agree with you, Mr. Dion.

[English]

    I also understand why people would think that 1867 was the birth of Canada because that's the name of the first of July.
    Thank you for your remarks.
    We'll go to Mr. Trottier.

[Translation]

    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    My thanks to the witnesses for joining us today.
    Mr. Caron, I really enjoyed your presentation, especially the part about founding documents. There is something magical, especially for young people, when you see documents like the Constitution or versions with signatures.
    In terms of the founding documents of our country, for example with respect to Confederation—which Canadians see as the birth of Canada—I was wondering whether they were written in both official languages at the time, in 1867.
    Not necessarily. For instance, the British North America Act is not a Canadian document. It belongs to the British Parliament, which has the original. So the document we have is a copy.

  (1245)  

    I feel that there is a degree of convergence between your initiatives—the documents that could be made available to Canadians, for example—and the work of the museums from coast to coast. But I wonder how possible it could be to present those documents in both official languages. Of course, they are not all original documents, but it should be possible to communicate their magic to Canadians. How could that be done? What challenges and issues are involved?
    It is certainly possible to translate the major documents. An example might be the commission given to Jacques Cartier in 1534. You may not agree, but, for some people, that is the first constitution of Canada.
    Voices: Oh, oh!
    Mr. Daniel J. Caron: At least, that is what some constitutional experts say because it is the first document that gave…whatever, it would be possible to translate those documents, but they would be copies in that case, of course.
    Can you go a step further and make a translation that looks like…
    Yes, it is quite possible to make a facsimile. It is very easy these days.
    There are other documents as well. Really, 1867 is only the beginning of Canada as a legal entity in the world. Other documents came later. The 1926 Balfour Declaration, for example, is a British document. Could documents like that be made available to Canadians?
    Certainly. Anything that is not bilingual can be reproduced in the other language in a similar form.
    Are there plans along those lines? Has the work already been done?
    The question has not yet been asked. Things will evolve as and when we develop projects. For example, we have one with the Confederation Centre of the Arts. We can do those kinds of things and we will be considering them.
    Let me turn to the representatives from the Canadian Museums Association. What is your vision? Have there been any thoughts about this, about how to provide those documents to Canadians? You mentioned a train. Are there perhaps other ways to make these very important studies available? It is one way to grasp the idea of Confederation, of Canada.

[English]

    Mostly museums deal with objects, and not so much with documents. We deal with the stories behind the objects or, in the case of song and dance, with bringing them to life. There are some wonderful examples in the museum world of aboriginal tales, myths, and stories being brought to life through holography or different lighting. I've worked in this business a long time, and I've seen some wonderful exhibitions, particularly in New Zealand, which is a truly bicultural nation. It's a very interesting approach.
    I think there are good examples. What we need are the tools to be able to implement them, because they cost money. We're prepared for a matching program. Our museums are prepared to do fundraising, but the creativity is going to come from the individual museum or art gallery. It's not top-down; we need it to be bottom-up.
    Could you share with us some of the objects attached to 1867? They don't come to mind immediately. I think about our neighbours to the south, in the United States. I think of the Liberty Bell, for example. Is there something like that, an object attached to 1867 that embodies the spirit of coming together as a country?
    That's a really good question.
    Offhand, a number of iconic images come to my mind about Canada, in the very early periods. In fact, just a week or two ago I was at the Museum of Civilization for the official announcement of its name change and they brought out a number of things from their collection—Champlain's astrolabe, the van that followed Terry Fox, the Maurice Richard hockey sweater. Those items are there. We think they can be found, and we'd like them to be broadcast across Canada.
    The BBC did a program that was extraordinarily popular. It was called A History of the World in 100 Objects. This was on the radio. You can't see them. It's not television; it's radio. Through the magic of storytelling, they brought them alive. It was a top award-winning radio show recently.
    We think a lot of innovative ideas along those lines could be done.

  (1250)  

    I would love to respond to that.
    I live and work in an architecturally stunning building that was built specifically to represent the first meeting of the Fathers of Confederation in the conception of Canada as a nation. It takes up a full city block. It had the same architect as the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, if you would like visualize it, except that it's several times larger. We have hundreds of thousands of square feet of space that we use for our gallery, for our theatres, etc.
    That building was built as a national memorial to the founding of the nation, and it's recognized as Canada's birthplace. I'm very close to it as an object. I live and work in it every day, and I would like all Canadians to know about it.
    I guess it would be rather difficult to take that object on the road and bring it to Canadians, though, wouldn't it?
    I can do lots of other things to make sure they're aware of it, though.
    Please be brief.
    Some of my colleagues have made the point that we're not trying to redo the work of Heritage Canada, but in terms of our unique bilingualism and linguistic duality challenges, can you think of some of the things that we need to think of now? It's early, still four years away, but what are some of the things we need to get in motion right now?
    Maybe I'll open it up to the museums for an answer, because I think the local and provincial museums might have some challenges.

[Translation]

    That is a very good question. That is why we mentioned a multi-year program in our presentation.
    Mr. Dion is right in that 2017 is just one year. But, for museums, a lot of events leading up to 2017 are all just as important because they define our nation. While 2017 is the anniversary of Confederation, it is also the centennial of Vimy and the 375th anniversary of Montreal. Those are events that define us as Canadians and we owe it to ourselves to celebrate them.
    Museums are quite innovating in terms of artifacts and history. Mr. Caron is right about that. Some documents are unilingual by their very historical nature, but museums are quite innovating.
    I have been working in the museum area for a number of years. I can tell you that I know a museum that brought the Act of Confederation alive, even though it was written in English only.
    The example shows, first, that the document must be displayed as it is because it is an authentic artifact and, second, that innovation allows us to bring the actual document alive through an audio presentation in several languages, making it accessible to all. So it becomes not just about reading a document but about being part of it and getting right into it. That is an example of objects becoming accessible.
    Thank you, Ms. Vermette.
    Mr. Chisu, you have the floor.

[English]

     Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

[Translation]

    I thank the witnesses very much for their presentations.

[English]

    Canadian linguistic duality and multiculturalism complement each other. What measures should be taken to ensure that these two Canadian values are celebrated in a fair and equitable way and also reflect our duality of the two languages? How are we showing in the two languages the contributions of other Canadians to Canada?
    I can try to speak to it because I'm such a proponent of multiculturalism in Canada, as much as I am that we're a bilingual country made up of predominantly French and English people.
    Immigration is something of great importance to Canada. We have new immigrants from around the world moving to this country every day, and we ask them to learn French and English. Many of them do. Many of them are better at it than people, perhaps like me, who were born here and raised in English and had to learn French.
    One of the things I want to do as a project in 2017 is to have a swearing-in ceremony, perhaps on the steps of our plaza, or here in Ottawa—it doesn't matter where it is in Canada—where we would have a very special inauguration process for the many new immigrants who come into the country. We've really emphasized the linguistic duality of the country, so I've started to think about a project like that, and I would love to work with other institutions to do that.
    That is just one thought.
    I have another question. As MPs, how will we be able to help organize the 150th anniversary celebration in our communities? How do you think we should contribute? Do you think we should play a leadership role, particularly regarding the official languages?
    I'm working very hard in my community, at least in the Durham region, to implement a little bit of French, which is lacking promotion. It is important for us to understand that we are a bilingual country and that learning two languages is not a hindrance but an advantage.

  (1255)  

    Thank you, Mr. Chisu.
    Madame Michaud, go ahead.

[Translation]

    Mr. Caron, I have two questions for you. I am going to ask you to answer quickly because I would like to be able to share my time with my colleague so that he can ask other witnesses some questions.
    My first question is about digitization, on which you are putting so much emphasis. You are very proud of the work you have done. I can understand that it can indeed facilitate access to some documents.
    But I am thinking of small, often isolated, rural communities. I am thinking of northern Ontario and of the riding of Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel that my colleague represents. You find small communities there that have difficulty accessing the Internet. I wonder how those communities will be included in the process; how will they get access to the documents?
    Will the travelling exhibitions that you mention go there so that they have access to the content, or will they simply be left aside because they have no resources and no industry to provide them with Internet access?
    I will answer your question quickly.
    We are aware of what we are doing and that is why we are collaborating with the Canadian Museums Association and the Canadian Association of Public Libraries, where a lot of our exhibitions are shown. It is not just in museums. We work with libraries a lot, because there are a lot more of them. There are 2,400 libraries in the country.
    We also do exhibitions in modules. That means that an exhibition is not shown in its entirety everywhere. So one part may go to one small community while another part may go to another.
    I feel that, in terms of access, there is still work to be done. I do not think that working through museums or libraries, which small communities do not always have, will solve the problem I raised.
    I have another question. One of the things you told us about was the establishment of a toolkit about meaningful stories. What do you mean by that? How are official language communities involved in the process? Are they consulted so that their voices can be heard? Can you briefly explain that to me?
    I have no more details, but I can get some to you about this project in particular.
    I would appreciate that because it is not very clear. I think that it is important that all official language communities be consulted and involved in the process if it involves questions of Canadian identity in the context of the 150th anniversary of Confederation.
    I will now make way for my colleague.
    Good afternoon to you all. Thank you for being here.
    I have two quick questions.
    I would like to go back to the museums presentation. The subject was consolidating museum upgrading and the need to invest in infrastructure. As I read the recommendations in Canadian Heritage's 150th anniversary report, I see nothing to that effect. Have you been forgotten? Did you point out the need to invest in infrastructure again when you went?
    We did, Mr. Labelle.
    We also made the recommendation to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage. We were not concerned about establishing a new museum, because some of our museums are in difficulty at the moment. If there is money for infrastructure, we recommended that it be put into existing museums. As Ms. Michaud mentioned, for example, there are regional and community museums. Some large museums have serious infrastructure problems as well. So we did make that recommendation.
    I hope it has been heard.
    Your budget was not cut this year. From the money you have, how much will be used to promote linguistic duality in the activities you are planning?
    Thank you, Mr. Dionne Labelle.
    You can answer, Ms. Vermette.
    In terms of money, the projects to be undertaken still have to be decided. We have large national projects to propose for the years leading up to the anniversary in 2017. So, as we have said, it is important to secure partnerships with a lot of agencies and organizations across Canada, because the museums need the help and the financial support.

  (1300)  

[English]

    Thank you very much to the witnesses for their testimony. It has been a vigorous debate, which is very helpful.
    Le Canada included parts of Ohio—Detroit, the Ohio valley—away back when. Maybe that should be part of our celebrations as well. It would be very interesting, because Ohio was very important.

[Translation]

    A point of order, Mr. Chair.
    I would like us to continue until 1:30 p.m.

[English]

    It's not possible for me. I have meetings to go to.
    Without further ado, thank you very much for your input. It has been helpful.
    This meeting is adjourned.
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