Thank you very much, Chair. I am absolutely thrilled to be here.
Good morning, committee members.
With me today of course are two individuals who will be helpful, being that I am the new Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages.
I'm pleased to be here to speak about 2013 supplementary estimates. Before I do, I'd like to take a few moments to give this committee some insight into my first several months as the new Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages.
It was a tremendous honour to be asked to serve in this role by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and since July I have been focused on reaching out to a wide range of stakeholders and arts organizations across the country. For example, during a tour of parts of Atlantic Canada, I met with the Atlantic Provinces Art Gallery Association and members of the PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation. In Toronto I met with Stephen Waddell from the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists, and with many great artists and creators at the Toronto International Film Festival.
In Alberta I held a round table related to arts and culture, and had the pleasure of meeting with folks at the North Mount Pleasant Arts Centre, as well as several other groups. I toured cSPACE, where artists affected by the flooding were able to salvage, clean, and repair their visual works of art. It was a touching collaboration of the arts community in Calgary.
In Quebec, I met with a number of people from the art world, including Simon Brault, CEO of the National Theatre School of Canada and Vice-Chair of the Canada Council for the Arts.
I attended the 35th Gala de l'ADISQ, where I sat with Angèle Dubeau and her husband, Mario Labbé. Having an opportunity to talk to two renowned Quebec figures was truly a wonderful surprise and an honour.
I attended the 28th Gemini Awards. I was sitting close to the team of Unité 9, a television show I love.
I also had an opportunity to visit the facilities and meet the representatives of a number of organizations that are part of the Canadian Heritage portfolio. Here, I am thinking of Library and Archives Canada, CBC, the National Film Board and the National Arts Centre, to name only a few.
I participated in the FPT Ministerial Conference on the Canadian Francophonie, which was held back home, in Winnipeg.
I also attended the federal, provincial, and territorial meeting of ministers responsible for culture in Iqaluit. We discussed our mutual investments in Canada's creative industries and shared ideas about increasing overall appreciation of our culture.
Last month I had the pleasure of hosting my first movie night with Telefilm Canada, showing The Grand Seduction. For those of you who couldn't make it, I highly recommend this charming Quebec-Newfoundland co-production filled with top-notch Canadian talent like Gordon Pinsent and of course Mary Walsh.
Today, I am appearing before you for the first time as a minister, and I want to highlight the important work you do on behalf of Canada's arts and culture. I hope to meet with you regularly.
Thank you for your commitment and your consistent contribution to promoting, preserving and celebrating our country's arts, culture and heritage.
So far as minister I have witnessed many parts of the dynamic cultural sector that generates close to $50 billion to Canada's GDP every year, and 630,000 jobs. I've seen how the Government of Canada's support is helping sustain this sector with initiatives right across the country.
I bring a strong interest in arts and culture to my new job, and each day I learn and appreciate more about the amazing Canadians who work to keep our arts and culture alive. All Canadians should be very proud of the talent we produce right here at home.
I was also happy that the government mentioned certain cultural priorities in last October's Speech from the Throne, such as our intention to unbundle television channels in Canada.
We clearly put forward our intention to unbundle television channels in Canada. We believe Canadian families should be able to choose the combination of television channels they want. That's why we issued a request to the CRTC under section 15 of the Broadcasting Act to report to the government on television channel choice. We are requiring the CRTC to undertake a full examination of unbundling of television services, and to report back no later than April 30, 2014.
The throne speech also mentioned the Canadian Museum of History. As you know, the relevant bill was passed by the House of Commons and is currently before the Senate.
The Speech from the Throne also noted two important sporting events that will take place in Canada in 2015. I'm delighted that Canada will be hosting the FIFA Women's World Cup.
I am also looking forward to welcoming the thousands of athletes and spectators who will come to Canada for the Pan American and Parapan American Games in 2015.
Long after the excitement of the games is over, they will leave a legacy of world-class sports facilities to be used by current and future athletes.
Of course, another passionate sporting event is just around the corner. I am talking about the 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi. Millions of Canadians will encourage our athletes, and I am really looking forward to doing the same. The throne speech also stressed the importance of encouraging young Canadians to be more active. I personally consider this to be vital to the health of Canadians.
I was happy to be in Winnipeg to participate in the signing of a bilateral agreement on sports between the Government of Canada and the Government of Manitoba. That agreement will help encourage young people, disabled individuals and aboriginals to participate in sports. Our government is signing similar agreements with all the provinces and territories. Those agreements will have a positive effect on communities across the country for many years.
The throne speech also noted a milestone we're all eagerly awaiting. That is, of course, the 150th anniversary of Canada's Confederation in 2017. Since 1867, we have grown as a country and Canadians have made their mark in all fields.
I am thinking of Louis Riel, leader of the Metis people in the Prairies and founder of my province. I am thinking of Frederick Banting, Canadian Nobel Prize winner.
Of course, who could forget Alice Munro, who made us all very proud this year when she received the Nobel Prize in Literature.
I also think of Mary Two-Axe Earley, who worked hard on behalf of aboriginal women who had lost their Indian status under the law.
Each and every one of us could come up with a list of our own examples. It's quite possible none of our lists would be the same. Our country has a diverse and remarkable heritage that is well worth celebrating.
Canada's 150th anniversary belongs to all Canadians. We will hold consultations to see how Canadians would like to mark that anniversary.
Through face-to-face meetings and social media tools like Facebook and Twitter, we'll reach out to Canadians from all walks of life to see how they would like to celebrate and commemorate our shared experiences, values, and pride. We want to work with Canadians to ensure that 2017 is a great success and a source of pride.
Now on to the estimates. Mr. Chair, the committee has asked me here to speak about supplementary estimates (B). Let me run through the most significant items.
We are reprofiling $1 million from 2012-13 to 2013-14 through the Canada cultural spaces program. That's for the completion of the Heritage Discovery Centre at Ermatinger-Clergue National Historic Site in Sault Ste. Marie.
As you'll see in the estimates documents, changes also involve several transfers to and from the departments. For example, $730,000 will go to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council for research related to sport participation. At the same time, the department will receive $310,000 from Indian Affairs and Northern Development to promote National Aboriginal Day.
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development will provide $300,000 to help build the National Holocaust Monument here in the National Capital Region. On October 24, Minister Baird and I announced the six finalists in the national design competition for the future monument.
All totalled, estimates (B) this year will result in a net increase of $0.5 million to the Department of Canadian Heritage spending authority.
In closing, I'd like to thank the committee for inviting me here today and for your ongoing work on behalf of this sector. I look forward to working with this committee and with all stakeholders to strengthen the arts, culture, and heritage of our country.
With that said, I'm happy to take any questions you might have.