Wednesday 21 October 1992

Subcommittee report

Guidelines for plaques and statues at Queen's Park

Office of Assembly Services

Barbara Speakman, executive director

Karyn Leonard, director, interparliamentary and public relations branch


Chair / Président: Duignan, Noel (Halton North/-Nord ND)

*Vice-Chair / Vice-Président: Farnan, Mike (Cambridge ND)

*Cooper, Mike (Kitchener-Wilmot ND)

*Johnson, Paul R. (Prince Edward-Lennox-South Hastings/Prince Edward-Lennox-Hastings-Sud ND)

*Marland, Margaret (Mississauga South/-Sud PC)

Mathyssen, Irene (Middlesex ND)

McClelland, Carman (Brampton North/-Nord L)

Mills, Gordon (Durham East/-Est ND)

*Morin, Gilles E. (Carleton East/-Est L)

Owens, Stephen (Scarborough Centre ND)

*Sullivan, Barbara (Halton Centre L)

Villeneuve, Noble (S-D-G & East Grenville/S-D-G & Grenville-Est PC)

Substitutions / Membres remplaçants:

*MacKinnon, Ellen (Lambton ND) for Mrs Mathyssen

*In attendance / présents

Also taking part / Autres participants et participantes:

Mahoney, Steven W. (Mississauga West/-Ouest L)

Clerk / Greffiére: Mellor, Lynn

Staff / Personnel: Yeager, Lewis, research officer, Legislative Research Service

The committee met at 1549 in room 151.

The Vice-Chair (Mr Mike Farnan): I call the committee to order. First of all, I have to inform the committee that our revered chair, Mr Duignan, is travelling in the far west representing the government and giving advice. I believe it's the Northwest Territories.

Mrs Margaret Marland (Mississauga South): What's he giving advice on?

The Vice-Chair: I believe it's some Legislative Assembly work in that jurisdiction, and he was invited to go and participate.

Mrs Marland: You'll be invited next time, won't you?

The Vice-Chair: We all grow in our roles, Margaret.


The Vice-Chair: Anyway, first of all, we should thank the subcommittee for the work it has done in preparing for today's meeting. You do have a report of the subcommittee and an agenda for this particular meeting. I first ask if we can approve the subcommittee report of Wednesday 14 October. Agreed? That's unanimous.

We will move on now to the agenda for today's meeting. We'll start now by welcoming, from the office of assembly services, Barbara Speakman, who is the executive director; and from the interparliamentary and public relations branch, Karyn Leonard, the director.

Mrs Marland: I just have one question. Having just scanned down the report of the subcommittee, there are four weeks where the subject is to be determined, and then when we get to December 9, it's the report by the Clerk on changes in the administration of the House and the provision of services to members and a report by the Sergeant at Arms on security. Is that left until December 9 because it's an annual review and an annual report? Is that why it's put off till then? Probably.

Clerk of the Committee (Ms Lynn Mellor): There are time lines with the Sergeant at Arms on security. It's a transfer plan, and it was leaving an opportunity for this to be completed so that when he's reporting, hopefully things will have been completed at that time.

Mrs Marland: That's what the changes in administration of the House and -- all that is interwoven, and the reason it's being set aside until then is that it's a matter of timing.

Clerk of the Committee: That's right. At this point, yes.

Mr Paul R. Johnson (Prince Edward-Lennox-South Hastings): Could I just make a comment on the report of the subcommittee, part 3. "That the following business be scheduled during the winter adjournment": it says "Review of committee system." I was present at the subcommittee meeting, and I believe we agreed we would review any existing reviews of the committee system before we did a review of the committee system. That's not exactly how it's stated here.

The Vice-Chair: On page 2 of the subcommittee report, if it's agreeable, maybe we can make that technical change. I think the subcommittee is suggesting to us as a committee that we look at the reviews that have already taken place rather than initiate, at this stage, an official review. In fact, that makes good sense, and it would lead into the area of Wednesday 28 October, which talks about commencing the review of the committee system.

I think what we would really be doing there is changing that item, which is the second item on page 1. I think we would be inviting the Speaker at that time. Is that correct? They would look at the reviews.

Mr Johnson: I'm not sure. I thought the clerk -- not necessarily the clerk, but maybe legal counsel -- is there legal counsel?

Mr Mike Cooper (Kitchener-Wilmot): Legislative research.

Mr Johnson: I stand corrected. I thought legislative research would bring us forth that information with regard to any recent reviews that had been done of the committee system, and I understand there may be some.

The Vice-Chair: I appreciate the clarification, Paul, because I think you were present at the subcommittee. Margaret, did you want to add to that?

Mrs Marland: I agree with Mr Johnson. It makes eminent good sense not to start another review when there's existing information available that's been done historically. I'd be very happy to agree to make that the review to which we're referring.

May I just ask another question? On page 2, item 2 is: "Review of wearing of buttons/members' dress code/ members' conduct (see Speaker's ruling of Tuesday 6 October)." I don't want to get into the subject because I realize it's not on the agenda today, but just so I understand the report, to which Speaker's ruling on October 6 is this reference made? Does anyone know?

Mr Gilles E. Morin (Carleton East): I seem to recall vaguely that somebody came in wearing a button; I can't recall who. Anyway, Bob Runciman, I believe, stood on a point of order and wanted a ruling from the Speaker. The Speaker said at that time, "As you know, it is not the Speaker's responsibility to establish procedures or regulations as far as dress is concerned, and I would ask the committee of the Legislature to come out with some recommendation."

I think this decision finally has come out, because we certainly have to look at the dress code. Ontario is the only province I know where people walk in in shirts and all kinds of sweaters and so on, and it's never conducive, in my opinion, to a proper forum to debate. I think it's an issue we have to look at very closely, if you look in the European countries, if you look all across Canada at the way members are dressed. This is something where we have a real responsibility.

I know for a fact that many members won't accept a regimented type of regulation, but let me tell you, it's very necessary when I hear the comments across the province about how poorly people are dressed in the House, or their conduct or lack of respect vis à vis the Legislature itself. I think we have an extremely important role to play in this.

The Vice-Chair: If I might direct you to page 2 of the subcommittee minutes, item 2 clearly indicates that this is business that should be considered by this committee during this fall session. But in order to get the committee moving -- we have today's schedule organized -- I believe we want to make the amendment to the minutes of the subcommittee. It would come under the area "Wednesday 28 October." I believe what we would insert there would be, "Commence review of previous reports," ie, the standing committee on the Legislative Assembly and the standing committee on procedural affairs, with regard to the committee system. These reports are already in place, and as Paul and Margaret have pointed out, it makes good sense that we look at these reports before coming to a determination of whether we should be beginning a new review. Can I have agreement on that for Wednesday, October 28? That might allow us to move on.

Mrs Marland: I just have two questions. First, who has asked for the review of the committee system?

The Vice-Chair: I believe the invitation was put to the committee by the Speaker in two pieces of correspondence to the Chair, one in February 1991 and the other in April 1991.

Mrs Marland: And he just said to review the committee system?

The Vice-Chair: There are perhaps a lot of new members on this committee at this stage, from the time this correspondence was issued. What we should do is make this correspondence available to all the members of the committee in anticipation of the Wednesday meeting on the 28th.


Mrs Marland: I'm agreeable to do that on the 28th. I do have one concern. I'm quite happy to state publicly that I'm very concerned about the decorum in our House. I wouldn't want to see the subject addressed in the subcommittee report, on page 2 under item 2, members' conduct, including the dress code and the wearing of buttons -- I agree with Mr Morin that the dress code is important, but I'm even more concerned about the members' conduct, that is, all three parties. I think we make the job of the Speaker unbearably difficult at times, and unnecessarily so. I think every one of us, in all three caucuses, must be embarrassed by the behaviour of members in the House, recognizing that the House is televised and we have guests in the public galleries, especially young people who come to visit the Legislature, and they look down and think: "Are these our elected members? Is this how they behave?"

Without spending too much time on it, I would just like to say that I recognize it will take more than one meeting to review the committee system, and I wonder if it is not more urgent that we first deal with members' conduct and those other items listed under item 2. We could deal with that in one meeting. I think the review of the committee system would take more than one meeting, and I think once we start it we probably would want to stay with it.

I'm simply suggesting that if we take the subcommittee report in the order listed on page 2, we would in fact be dealing with members' conduct in the House ahead of the review. Maybe that would be better, because here we are on the 21st of October, today, and we've got another six or seven weeks of the House sitting, and those weeks become very difficult during a long session. I think we should try to facilitate what we're all responsible for in the House, which is representing our electoral districts to the best of our abilities. Quite frankly, some days in the House it's very difficult to hear, and I'm personally not either comfortable or very proud of what goes on in the House. Regardless of who is in the chair, we make the Speaker's role and responsibility very difficult, and it's demeaning for all of us.

I would like to suggest that maybe next week we deal with item 2 as in the subcommittee's report, and then the following week deal with item 3, the review of the committee system.

The Vice-Chair: Are there any other members of the committee who wished to make comment?

Mrs Barbara Sullivan (Halton Centre): Mr Chair, I want to clarify your comment that there were reports available with respect to the committee system item from the Legislative Assembly committee and government agencies.

The Vice-Chair: Procedural affairs.

Mrs Sullivan: As you know, I'm a member of this committee but I haven't been able to participate recently because of involvement in the justice committee. Are those reports now available to members of this committee, and have they been circulated?

The Vice-Chair: I'll refer that to the clerk.

Clerk of the Committee: They have not been circulated. They're old reports. Some of them date back to about 1982, 1983.

Mrs Sullivan: Okay. I know which ones they are then.

Clerk of the Committee: We'd be putting them together and circulating those to members.

Mrs Sullivan: Then that leads I guess to the next section of the question that I was going to ask. Were the recommendations in those reports limited to the work of standing committees or did it also look at the work of select committees, which have a very different surround in terms of legislative activity, and then thirdly, did it look at the question of independence of voting among members, apart from a whip or a caucus system?

I think if we're looking at the committee system we may not only want to look at the administration and the support for members but we may want to look at some ancillary questions which would be useful in terms of making the House in fact work better and perhaps in a slightly different way.

I think that I'm in concurrence with Mrs Marland, that a one-day review of the committee system isn't adequate, but I wouldn't want to start that review until we've in fact done some homework.

The Vice-Chair: I appreciate your comments and I think perhaps by distributing these reports in advance of the Wednesday 28 meeting it will answer questions you've raised for all of the committee members and we can see what gaps are available and where we want to take that particular initiative.

Mrs Sullivan: If I could as well, Mr Chairman, just move to the agenda item from the subcommittee on Wednesday, December 9.

The Vice-Chair: I don't want to dismiss Mrs Marland's suggestion.

Mrs Sullivan: No, and I'm supporting her on that, but I'm also concerned that one day for all of the administrative matters -- members' services and security report from the Sergeant at Arms -- would be adequate. I've been through other committees in the past where it has taken three or four occasions to deal with those issues.

The Vice-Chair: Let me try to clarify. I was not a member of the subcommittee and I don't know if any members of the official opposition or the Conservative Party who are present today were at that meeting. I take it you were not.

Mrs Marland: No, Mr Chairman, I wasn't.

The Vice-Chair: Maybe we can try to focus this. At that particular meeting what we had was an agreement by all three parties that on Wednesday, October 28 we would have a review of the previous committee reports. You'll notice that the other dates right through November and December are left undetermined. I've heard from both Margaret and Barbara right now that we don't want to take just a one-meeting approach to the area of conduct of members and so there is some room in that particular area.

Mrs Marland: No, excuse me. No, what you heard was that we need more than one meeting to review the committee system.

The Vice-Chair: That's right.

Mrs Marland: It won't take more than one meeting to discuss how we'd like the proceedings in the House to proceed.

The Vice-Chair: Okay.

Mrs Marland: So I think the conduct etc could easily be done in one meeting. But I would like to suggest that we are only dealing with a committee report and the committee itself can adjust a subcommittee's report, and you're absolutely right: The person who sat for us is not able to be here today because he's actually in the chair.

The Vice-Chair: Let me put it to the floor again. We'll amend the report of the subcommittee and we will deal with item number 2 of the subcommittee's report on Wednesday, October 28. We will then move to Wednesday, November 4, the item commencing the review of previous reports regarding the committee system. If that then moves on into the following weeks, so be it.


Mrs Marland: That's excellent because it gives us, as Mrs Sullivan has identified, more time to review those reports before November 4.

The Vice-Chair: I think, Margaret, we're demonstrating that we are models of cooperation.

Mrs Marland: We're superb.

The Vice-Chair: I think we've got it now, folks. I should thank the people who are here to brief us today for their patience. Yes, Ellen?

Mrs Ellen MacKinnon (Lambton): With all due respect to everybody, I was sitting on this committee last year about this same time, and I very well remember us being asked to review the committee system at that time. Now, I also know that the wearing of the buttons and members' dress code etc is very important, but I also know that this happened this year; it says October 6.

I suggest that the review of the committee system, as I have followed it through this committee, is of prime importance. I feel the sooner we get started, the better it will be. I have a bit of frustration trying to say that what was found here on October 6 is going to take priority over something that we started a year ago. The committee system has been a subject of great debate and discussion on this committee ever since I came here.

The Vice-Chair: I thank you for your comments. You have put matters in a historical context. We're not underestimating the importance of the review. We're simply saying that it will be put off one week in order to deal with an item that can perhaps -- and I think the members from all parties would agree with you. We're simply putting it back one week because there is an item that we feel can be dealt with rather succinctly. So we take your direction. Because of its importance it will receive a greater time allocation; I think that's what the committee is saying.

Mrs MacKinnon: Mr Chair, I suggest to you that this one for review of the wearing of the buttons, the members' dress code, the members' conduct, will take much more than one meeting.

The Vice-Chair: I think the committee members have agreed that we will look at that for one meeting and then we will move on to the review of the committee. Is that correct?

Mr Morin: But as we've just mentioned a minute ago, how flexible and how good we are to have come to a decision. If we feel that one afternoon is not sufficient, you know, we just go on with another afternoon to make sure that we come out with a solution which is acceptable and agreeable to everyone.

The Vice-Chair: I'd really appreciate now at this stage the cooperation of all members of the committee on moving ahead with the agenda. I think we have reached a reasonable compromise for now. If we have to come back to this issue as to allocation of time, let's come back to it. But we have before us right now people who have been very patiently waiting to address the committee.

I think it would be opportune to ask Barbara Speakman and Karyn Leonard to make their presentation, and we can review these other matters later. Can I have committee consensus on that, please?

Mrs Marland: Yes.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you.


The Vice-Chair: We welcome you to the committee and we look forward to your presentation.

Mrs Barbara Speakman: I'm very pleased to be here once again. I'm not exactly sure what the committee is looking for, but perhaps I can talk a little bit about the statues that are already here on the grounds, how they arrived there and the kind of guidelines that seem to have been in place for many, many years. Then we'll look at the various commemorative plaques that you see around the building, which are a little more difficult to talk about since they cover a wide variety of groups, commemoration of events or people and are much more difficult to get a handle on in terms of policy.

I'll start with the statues. We conducted a review fairly recently, actually, for the Board of Internal Economy on the statues. The existing statues at Queen's Park always represent individuals who had a significant role in the parliamentary history of the province. Only in one case is there an event commemorated, and that was the statue commemorating the North-West Rebellion. Everything else has been an individual who played a significant role in the parliamentary history of the province.

There is, of course, Sir John A. Macdonald right at the foot of the circle there, John Graves Simcoe, John Sandfield Macdonald, Sir Oliver Mowat and so on. Also, of course, we have a monarch, Queen Victoria; Queen's Park was named after her also.

Traditionally, the statues were erected always after someone was deceased. They were never erected for a living individual and tended to be lieutenant governors, prime ministers, premiers, monarchs and those kind of individuals.

As you know, we have developed a master plan for the renovation and restoration of the building and the grounds over the long-term future. Although we're starting with repairs, I guess eventually we will begin to work on some of the other things it contains.

There was quite a bit of research done by the heritage adviser on the statuary on the grounds from the point of view of the future: how the grounds should look in the future and how they looked originally when the building was erected. He has indicated that it is very much the parliamentary tradition of the province that was reflected in those statues, as opposed to particular government figures or others who were involved perhaps in industry or something like that.

We also looked at other jurisdictions, and none of them has really looked at a policy per se on statues or their placement. Alberta is apparently beginning to develop one, because I think they're running into some difficulties with requests for statues, as we have here.

In Ottawa, of course, they have a different situation because the National Capital Commission looks at statues on the grounds of Parliament Hill. Public works looks after the erection and the maintenance of them and so on. They have that dual role there.

In terms of art, sculpture and those kinds of things in the government buildings, they have a policy and, as you know, Fern Bayer, the curator of the joint art collection of the Parliament and the government, is responsible for the government buildings and any sculpture and so on that's erected there.

That's the way things are at the moment with statues. We haven't had a new one erected, I believe, since the 1940s or 1950s. There's very little space left on the grounds for new statues, so anything that was suggested would have to be very carefully selected, possibly highlighting either some very significant event or person in the parliamentary history of the province. That's really all I have to say on that. Plaques: Do you have anything that we can --

Mrs Karyn Leonard: Plaques are an interesting subject as well, I guess. We have recently completed an inventory of all plaques in and around the building and also completed a new walking tour of the grounds in preparation for the celebration of the centennial of this building in 1993. Most of the outside plaques and most of the statues have been included in that.

The subjects of plaques, of course, vary just a little bit. Plaques tend to be presented as opposed to a choice made by a group responsible for erecting a statue on the grounds of a Legislature such as this one. We have had many plaques presented to the assembly and to the building itself by various groups, some cultural communities. There's really much more of a variance in the plaques themselves. There, too, we're running out of space for putting these plaques up.

The last one that was put up, in the lobby, had to replace the one that had been there for some time. It was a former one really related to the same group, a cultural community within Ontario. So the agreement in order to make room for that one was to remove the former one. As you can see, we have run into some space problems, and mounting anything that's readable with the type of wall furnishings we have is also very difficult.

I think really, Barbara, that's the scope of the plaque issue as well.


The Vice-Chair: Thank you very much. I'll now ask if any of the members would like to make comments or ask questions.

Mr Morin: Were there any committees before? Were there any regulations? Were there any persons, for instance, who were involved with Ontario heritage to make sure that the building maintains its historical cachet? How did one proceed?

Mrs Speakman: I think in previous times the members of the day would decide that a new statue was to be erected, and there were the guidelines with respect to parliamentary tradition: The person was a deceased person -- they were not living -- and so on. But since we haven't had one for such a long time and there is no specific committee, the board asked us to look at that. They accepted these guidelines as they were. They didn't change them. They didn't issue them as a policy, however. It's not a formal policy. They just asked for a report, the same as you are right now, on how things were done in the past.

That's something you might want to look at. Perhaps a committee or this committee might want to look at statues and policy and the guidelines we already have. We can certainly circulate those. There's only been one request since I've been here for a new statue and it was not accepted by the board since it was not in keeping with any of these guidelines.

There are other alternatives, of course, for statues. The government may wish to erect one on government property as opposed to on the grounds of the Legislature, which would fulfil other needs.

Mr Morin: Barbara, you've been involved quite seriously for the past two or three years in the refurbishing of this building and the maintenance. Surely you must have looked at this type of group that should be formed.

Mrs Speakman: Yes.

Mr Morin: Could we hear your ideas on that? I don't want to put you on the spot.

Mrs Speakman: I believe that in this Legislature it should be a committee of members of all parties, obviously. It would be in keeping with what the Speaker and the members have been trying to do since 1987-88 when the building was taken over from the Ministry of Government Services and it would be in keeping with everything we do here. My suggestion obviously is to keep those kinds of decisions as all-party decisions of the members, recommended to the Speaker, who is responsible for the grounds.

Mr Morin: Just one more question on that.

Mrs Speakman: And then the Speaker would accept your recommendations.

Mr Morin: Who else would you see on that committee?

Mrs Speakman: We have a heritage adviser who is retained for the duration of the renovation work and he has, as you know, developed for us the heritage master plan, which includes the grounds. There are segments of that report which relate to statues. That is certainly an individual who I think would be an excellent choice. There are other members of the Toronto Historical Board and the Ontario Heritage Foundation who sit on our technical advisory committee for the building and they could extend to this committee.

I think there are all sorts of individuals who are presently helping us with those things who could make themselves available to any committee of members that might wish to look at statues and plaques.

Mrs Marland: I would be quite happy to have an all-party committee formed, but I think we're sort of getting into a make-work program here. I think if we had the committee in existence and there's a specific request from some representative of the public, in the community etc, then at least that would be a non-partisan, all-party vehicle that the request could be referred to.

But I also want to state very strongly that I support the precedent for parliamentary history being an established policy for what we have around this beautiful building; I think it's a very good one. I think it's very important. We don't have a lot of space around this building. We do have a few beautifully executed statues. Speaking very practically, these magnificent bronze statues that we have are probably not affordable today, anyway, if we were to commission an artist and have the calibre of work that the existing ones represent. Obviously, we're not going to have something of that quality. They're pieces of art. What exists today is a piece of art, and of course it becomes a historical treasure, as it is here, over a period of time.

The last thing I would like to see happen to the available open space that we have left is that it ends up looking like a cemetery dotted with statues all over the place. Also, it's wonderful that we have some green space on which the public can assemble for various occasions, not only to exercise their right and wish sometimes to demonstrate, but to do happy, positive things as well on the existing open space that we have.

I would have a concern about adding very many more to what we have, and I certainly would have a very grave concern if they were not affordable and we compromised on the quality of the work, because in today's dollars and in today's recessionary years, I think the public would rightfully look very dimly on us spending money on statues and plaques when we have people within 500 yards of this building who are homeless and without food.

The Vice-Chair: I believe Mrs Speakman would like to respond. Barbara?

Mrs Speakman: By way of amplifying what I said previously, some standards were discussed and they are the kinds of standards that would reflect the heritage aspects. For example, the statues and monuments should provide a balance with existing statues and monuments and should not conflict with other existing features, significant views of the building and so on. So there are some standards in place. There should be a permanence to the structure. It should allow maintenance and repairs to be performed easily. It should be of a quality appropriate to the site. So there are a lot of standards that we've already developed in the event that another request comes in. Of course, funding is extremely important and would have to go to the board, in any event, if there were any funding implications.

Mrs Marland: If I can just finish on the comment of funding, which was in response to the point I made about the cost of monuments, statues and plaques, there is a tremendous irony here, and I'll tell you what it is. In the last number of years, this committee has discussed at length what we could afford to do to restore this building, and it would be an incredible irony if we were cutting back on what we can afford to do to not only restore this building but in fact to maintain it.

The reason we had to spend the money on the roof was because it leaked and the building inside was being damaged. The greatest monument that we have to the history of this province, in terms of a parliamentary system and a democracy, is the building itself. When you think of how we have spent hours debating whether or not we could afford to restore -- I'm not talking about unnecessary renovations; I'm talking about the practicality of maintaining this building so that it doesn't collapse around us, which indeed was what was starting to happen.


When we talk about funding, I'd like to emphasis the fact that there is that irony. We have had people saying: "We can't afford to do this and this and this with this building. We should go up to some industrial land north of the city where it's inexpensive and build a brand-new legislative building, because we can't afford the $60 million that is required to restore this building to maintain it as it should be maintained." I've always thought what a lot of nonsense that was, because we couldn't build a new building for $60 million; we probably couldn't build a new building like this for $500 million. We've hesitated. We've been shrewd custodians of the public purse, by hesitating to make the decision and making the decision carefully about how much money is spent in maintaining this building.

The Vice-Chair: I have to interrupt at this stage, Mrs Marland. I want to move on in the rotation. I'll ask Mr Cooper to make a comment.

Mr Cooper: Barbara, one thing you said was that there was one request for a statue. Do we know what it was?

Mrs Speakman: Yes. It came through one of the members, from Mr Perruzza. It went to the board and was discussed and was not agreed to at that time.

Mr Cooper: As we're looking at one request, I'm wondering why we would want to set up a committee that would review this. Maybe what you could do is send these guidelines to this committee to look at and see whether they're appropriate. I really don't see the purpose of setting up a committee and spending the money on something like that.

Mrs Speakman: Yes, it's very infrequent.

Mr Cooper: It would be very infrequent. If we could maybe have these regulations referred to this committee, I think that would be a far better approach than setting up another committee.

As for the question about the plaques, how many plaques are presented within a year, would you say?

Mrs Leonard: Sometimes one, sometimes not even one.

Mrs Marland: I think you're thinking of scrolls, aren't you?

Mr Cooper: No, I'm talking about plaques that are presented, rather than people requesting to have them.

Mrs Speakman: The only activity, I think, in that area since I've been here was one that was a replacement for one that we had, and the other was a request to display one that had been up before but was actually up in the attic and had not been displayed. Someone came to the building and noticed that it wasn't there. We found it and we put it back up. That's the only plaque activity we've had in four and a half years.

Mr Cooper: So this isn't a really big issue, either.

Mrs Speakman: Not really, no.

Mr Cooper: But the one thing that has to be taken into consideration is that I know when you do a tour there is a fair bit of stuff on the walls and for the tour guides it must be enormous to remember what's on there.

Mrs Speakman: Yes. We inventoried them.

Mr Cooper: What we don't want to do is make this place look like a second-hand shop, if we get too much on the walls. This would be another thing we'd have to look at, whether or not something should go into storage. Maybe there should be a walking tour by the committee to see if there are things on the walls that maybe could be taken down to free up some space.

Mrs Leonard: We have that information available for anyone who is interested. Certainly the inventory itself can be circulated, if you're interested in seeing that at this point. Certainly, the information and education officers who are responsible for taking the groups through the building are familiar with the plaques. Very often they're asked for information pertaining to those particular ones, but more and more frequently there are people coming in, members of the public, who have attached particular significance to a plaque they understand is here and are looking for that. In order to accommodate those wishes, we did go and do an inventory as to where they're located. It's more of an information base than anything else.

As I mentioned, we have the new walking tour that will incorporate a lot of the information and help us out in providing another venue for a place to entertain people when they're waiting to go into the House, and educate them at the same time.

Mr Cooper: When we first got on this committee, we were sent on a tour. We toured a fair bit of the building. I know there are some real precious gems that are stored away, from the Lieutenant Governor's residence. Let's keep this historical thing here so that we have the history for the people who come in and tour, but as something new comes in, rather than keep piling up on the walls, maybe there should be a review every once in a while to see what could be taken down, to keep it and put into storage. We obviously don't want to get rid of anything, because if we ever do build this new $500-million building we may have more wall space to fill, but I think this is something that should be continuously reviewed.

The Vice-Chair: In rotation, I believe we're moving to Mrs Sullivan.

Mrs Sullivan: My impression is that in the past the guidelines have worked fairly well. I sat on the board when there were a couple of other requests for statuary that had been commissioned elsewhere to be placed at the Legislative Assembly in commemoration of an immigrant group or war heroes or whatever. We said no. Frankly, it didn't go very far; I mean, the letter came in and it was a very quick no. The response was that any new statuary to be added would have to fit into the traditions of Parliament which had been upheld so far.

If I have one regret about the current policy, it's that it's not all-inclusive. It limits statuary here and plaques here but does not take into account specific parliamentary artwork which is here. Yet the government collection is over there and the government collection is scattered around various ministerial offices, but that collection doesn't appear in the appropriate rooms of the Parliament buildings, nor do the guidelines reflect the heritage conservation requirements with respect to the furnishings of the place. To a certain extent, there are really quite remarkable furnishings that have been a part of the building over the years; they exhibit extraordinary craftsmanship and reflect the period of the time in which they were created. It seems to me that if there's going to be a policy with respect to the accoutrements of the building, it would be useful to extend that policy to those other areas.

Another area that would be useful, and one of the things I think is a shame -- of course, in a recessionary period, it's one thing to talk about setting a policy or a guideline. We know there is not going to be any new statuary added out of the public purse for a while, or other major artwork other than the traditional Speaker and Premier paintings, but I think it is useful to look at the area surrounding the initiation of a project.

There are people -- they may be from a particular community, they may be from a particular walk of life -- who celebrate the record of particularly outstanding parliamentarians and who ultimately may want to commission and donate a sculpture or painting or whatever. I don't think the guidelines as they exist now go far enough in that area in terms of determining how one would assess the validity, the artistic nature of the work and so on, and indeed whether that kind of offer should be accepted by parliamentarians themselves.

There's another question, that is, that parliamentarians have been really remiss, it seems to me, in marking the parliamentary traditions for an awfully long time. We are not thinking about the visual arts as part of the nature of the building now. We're not talking about commissioning a new sculpture of a progressive leader who had a significant impact on the nature of our province. I think the last statue that went up on the grounds was put up 45 or 50 or maybe 40 years ago.

I think we're remiss in not continuing to celebrate the history. It's a little out of fashion to build a statue to somebody who does something well these days, but maybe it's something that in better times should be considered, along with the commissioning. Then if parliamentarians did decide that perhaps a sculpture to Mitch Hepburn or to someone else would be a useful addition, what is the focus and the nature of a public subscription campaign? That should be part of a policy as well.


The last thing that I think is really important relates to the scale and the medium of any of the accoutrements of the building, and I think that is pretty well covered in the current guidelines. But I think also we have to understand that the nature of art changes. If we are talking about bronze or wood or stone as being the limits of new additions, then we're probably forgetting about what some of our finest creative artists are producing today and the media they are using. I don't think a guideline or a policy can be static in these areas, but I don't think what we have now isn't working.

The Vice-Chair: Barbara, I think Mrs Speakman would want to reply. I'm not too sure if she can remember all of the questions you raised, but certainly some of them.

Mrs Speakman: I'll read Hansard and pick up any that I haven't covered.

The Speaker in fact is very concerned that we do begin to look at acquiring, in some way, new additions to the collection that is partly owned by the Legislature and partly the government collection. He's asked us to work with Fern Bayer in developing some kind of acquisition policy for the future, and we're certainly open to some suggestions from the members on what kinds of things might be appropriate to acquire.

The Vice-Chair: Mrs Speakman, if I may, just for a moment, you prefaced your remarks by saying you'd look at Hansard and the hundred and two questions Mrs Sullivan put to you. That's probably a good way of going about this. Certainly in the light of a quorum call, it's okay at this stage. I'm sorry for interrupting you.

Mrs Speakman: Okay. There was just one more point that I think was important, on standards. It talked about some of the standards that would be used to judge perhaps an application for a statue or a sculpture or something like that. In fact, we have done a sort of research paper on that with some suggestions as to what those standards could be. It's never been formalized, but the work is there and we could certainly share that with you; it might be a good start to some of the deliberations you might have later.

The Vice-Chair: I think probably what we're looking at is trying to tie in all of the remarks that have been made to this point. I certainly would appreciate suggestions from the members in terms of directions that would perhaps draw closure on the discussions we've been having, if it's appropriate at this time.

Mrs Marland: I think the status quo has been working very well, and I would be quite happy to leave it that way. If there is a difficult decision that has to be made, then I would ask that it be referred to this committee, which is an all-party and, for the most part, non-partisan committee. I also want to state for the record that I'm in favour of preserving this building with whatever dollars are affordable, and not building a $500-million new building, in case Hansard is misinterpreted in my previous comments.

The Vice-Chair: I think you've explained your position adequately. But I do appreciate the direction you've suggested to the committee, and I think it makes eminent good sense. From the reaction I see around the table, there seems to be universal support for that.

I would like to thank the presenters today: Mrs Speakman, the executive director of the office of Legislative Assembly services, and Karyn Leonard, the director of the interparliamentary and public relations branch. Earlier, I should have mentioned that we were being assisted here today by Lynn Mellor, the clerk of the committee, and Lewis Yeager, the legislative research officer; also, the Hansard staff who are assisting in the recording of this committee. So thank you very much for appearing before us, and we appreciate your input.

At this stage I believe we're probably in a position to look at where we're going from here. As a result of our discussions earlier, I believe the clerk of the committee is going to make available to all the members of the committee letters from the Speaker to the committee with regard to committee review. She's also going to make available previous reports. She has suggested to me that she could have this ready for us by October 28, which would be the next meeting of the committee, and it would give us time to review it. Is that agreeable to the committee members?

Mr Cooper: Agreed.

The Vice-Chair: If at this stage there is no further business, I'd be happy to entertain a motion of adjournment.

Mr Johnson: So moved.

The Vice-Chair: I want to thank you for your participation.

The committee adjourned at 1646.