OTTAWA, Thursday, April 4, 2019

The Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration met this day at 8:30 a.m., in public and in camera, pursuant to rule 12-7(1), for the consideration of financial and administrative matters.

Senator Sabi Marwah (Chair) in the chair.


The Chair: Good morning and welcome to the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration. My name is Sabi Marwah, and I have the privilege of serving as chair of this committee. For the benefit of those watching the webcast or on television, I would ask senators to introduce themselves.


Senator Forest: Éric Forest from the Gulf region in Quebec.

Senator Verner: Josée Verner from Quebec.


Senator Joyal: Serge Joyal. I am from the district of Kennebec, which is at the centre of Quebec.

Senator Bovey: I’m Patricia Bovey from Manitoba.

Senator Wetston: Howard Wetston, Ontario.

Senator Tannas: Scott Tannas from Alberta.

Senator Housakos: Leo Housakos, Quebec.

Senator Tkachuk: David Tkachuk, Saskatchewan.

Senator Marshall: Elizabeth Marshall, Newfoundland and Labrador.


Senator Dalphond: Pierre Dalphond from Quebec.


Senator Batters: Denise Batters, deputy chair, the great province of Saskatchewan.

The Chair: A copy of the public minutes from March 21, 2019, is in your package. Are there any questions or changes? Can I have a motion to adopt the minutes? It is moved by Senator Wetston to adopt the minutes. Agreed?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Carried.

Honourable senators, pursuant to the order of this committee, the Artwork Advisory Working Group was appointed with a delegated authority to act on behalf of this committee on matters relating to the Senate Policy on Heritage Assets and Works of Art. It is my honour to table the third report of the working group. This report is placed before you for information.

Senators Joyal and Bovey will make a presentation, and this will be followed by time for questions. Senators, the floor is yours.

Hon. Patricia Bovey, Senator, Senate of Canada: Thank you all. It is always a pleasure to come and let you know what we have been up to in the Art Advisory Committee. It has been a busy time, and I’d like to commend the staff for the move of the works of art. It’s difficult to do at any time, particularly when it’s minus 30 degrees outside.

As you know, we’ve been working for some time with the planning of the works in this new Senate building. I don’t need to repeat what you have got in the report or what we have reported before. I do want to say that much of the heritage furniture has been moved into this building and is in use. Other pieces are in storage. Likewise with the artwork, some of it has been installed here, the rest moved to storage.

There is further work to do. We meet next week, and we will take further steps. We will be thinking longer term.

The one other thing I’ll say before I pass it over to my colleague is about the questions we’re getting about the war paintings in the chamber in Centre Block. Those will be moved back to the War Museum, which owns them. They will be could be conserved, but they’re not going to be moved until June. This is not the weather to move works of art that are that fragile and that old. I know there are some steps that we’ll be discussing at our meeting next week, after which I’m happy to inform you.

Hon. Serge Joyal, P.C., Senator, Senate of Canada: Thank you, Senator Bovey. I want to remind senators that at our meeting next week. We will review the locations that are still available in this building for Aboriginal artwork and the royal portraits. As you have seen, we only have the portrait of Her Majesty in the entrance, while in the original building, we have had a succession of portraits of the French monarchy during the French regime. We had the portraits during the British regime, and we had the later ones after Confederation.

We think those are part of the signature of the Senate, because the Senate is the chamber when the three parts of the constitution meet: the Queen, the Senate and the House of Commons. We are of the conviction that, in the former building, the entrance of the Senate had a kind of majesty which was, of course, linked to the royal portraits and the history of Canada that is attached to those portraits.

As you know, the Senate has published a pamphlet whereby for each sovereign, there was a list of decisions taken by the monarch to enhance Canadian sovereignty. So it is not a history of British monarchs; it is a history of Canadian monarchs. It’s important for visitors to be apprised of that, because it explains our system of government, which is a constitutional monarchy. One the key characteristics of a constitutional monarchy is that the monarch never dies: “The king is dead; long live the queen.” It’s that principle. This principle is rooted in the fact that the sovereignty is in the hands of the monarch and sovereignty never dies; it immediately passes to the successor.

So this principle is very important, and it is illustrated by the succession of each monarch. It’s very important in this building. It’s part of the history of the Senate and it is important that we find that in this building.

So we will review the public spaces, and we will come back with a report to you, honourable senators, on how those could be displayed and enhance the building.

Senator Wetston: Recognizing the constitutional history and how the art represents that, Senator Joyal, do we have holdings that also represent the multiculturalism and diversity we have in this country as it progresses to 2019 and 2020? Is that an appropriate question regarding your efforts to obviously find the appropriate places and represent the constitutional history of the country?

Senator Bovey: I would like to answer this one, if I may. I think it’s critically important that the work that’s represented in the Senate building represents Canadians from coast to coast to coast. You will see, in some matters, we’ve been able to do that. Thus far in the collection — I know next week, there are some acquisitions coming forward to the Art Committee to take a look at.

I will be presenting an idea to the committee next week. Nothing like putting it out in advance. But I would like to find a way that collections across this country — institutional, public collections in the public trust like this place can be reflected in the spaces in this place. That’s very top of mind.

As Senator Joyal said, wait until our next report.

Senator Joyal: The principle, senator, that you have proposed, which is the diversity and demography of Canada, was at the core of the selection of the Aboriginal artwork originally in the Aboriginal Peoples Committee room.

When I proposed the idea of having works of art in the Aboriginal Peoples Committee room — because I have to remind honourable senators, because I think most of you are new and were not there at the time, with all due respect —

Senator Wetston: I don’t feel that way any more.

Senator Joyal: I want to remind you that the Aboriginal Peoples Committee room was totally empty; there was nothing on the walls at all. When I proposed to Internal Economy the idea of having artwork to illustrate the Aboriginal peoples of Canada, one principle adopted by this committee was to make sure that Aboriginal peoples would be represented from the diverse regions of Canada, not only from the North — because we all know the Inuit are very popular. We have some of it here, and the carvings are well known; they’re a signature of Canada internationally. But there are Aboriginal peoples across Canada. We know the fantastic artwork of the West Coast.

But this committee was adamant that it wanted to have artwork from the diversity of Aboriginal peoples.

You will remember that in the pamphlet that was published, there was a map of Canada with the artwork located in each of the regions so you could see there was very good representation, even of Newfoundland, even though there were questions about where were the Aboriginal people in Newfoundland. We were very successful in doing this.

What you say is exactly the illustration of the same principle. We have to show the diversity of the Canadian population. Why? Because it is in the Senate Chamber that the minorities find their spokespeople. The minorities are the diversity. There is no majority any more in Canada, as you may know. We are all part of a group that composes the mosaic of the Canadian population. That should find its way into this building, because it is linked to the very nature of the institution.

The Chair: Any other questions for Senators Joyal and Bovey? If not, thank you very much. We look forward to your next report.

Senator Joyal: Thank you.

Senator Bovey: Thank you.

The Chair: Moving on to item number 3, are there any other items of public business? Very well, we shall proceed in camera.

(The committee continued in camera.)

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