Canadian Museum of History Act (Bill C-49)

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, it certainly is important to discuss Canadian history. I am convinced that the Minister of Canadian Heritage is offering a genuine opportunity to energize our discussion of history, to do more to get collections out of storage. Although I share misgivings with some members of the opposition, I am prepared to support this bill, but I want to make sure that we put on the record through this debate that future governments and future members of Parliament can look at these debates and understand that someone like myself from the opposition benches supports this initiative but wants to make it very clear that the independence of the curators is enshrined in the legislation. We need to make it very clear that the role of women through our history and first nations through our history is not in any way politicized.

I am prepared to take that leap of faith based on what I see before me in the legislation, separate from all the other things, which the member for Davenport quite rightly points out. Some egregious things have been done in other departments by other ministers, but we are talking today about Bill C-49.

I ask the hon. parliamentary secretary if he is prepared to join members of the opposition in understanding, given the record in other areas of loss of information, loss of Library and Archives, that we are now going to be prepared to take the leap of faith and support this bill?

Paul Calandra: Mr. Speaker, let me thank the leader of the Green Party for her support on the bill. As the minister said, the Museums Act guarantees curatorial independence of the museum.

One of the things I want to reference is the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage discussion of Canadian history. Part of that study was to make the debates of this place easier for Canadians to access. It is also an important part of history. Let us make the debates of our prime ministers and significant moments of debates in this place easy for Canadians to access so they do not have to search around for hours to find the debates.

I would submit that the debate tonight, although sometimes difficult back and forth, is an important debate because future generations of Canadians, if this comes up again, will want to reference what we talked about tonight. They do not want to have to go searching for hours through Hansard to figure it out. We can do that. That is one of the reasons why we brought this study to the Canadian heritage committee. But again, I thank the member for that. That is why history is so exciting. We can disagree a lot of the time on all kinds of different issues, but as long as we tell the story, we are better off for it.