moved that Bill S-202, An Act to amend the Parliament of Canada Act (Parliamentary Visual Artist Laureate), be read the second time and referred to a committee.
Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour to rise today in the House to speak to Bill S-202, an act to amend the Parliament of Canada Act to create a parliamentary visual artist laureate. This bill was first introduced and passed through the Senate by my good friend Senator Patricia Bovey. I would like to thank my friend and colleague, the MP for Bow River, for allowing me to take the lead at second reading of this bill.
To provide some historical context, Bill S-202 was first introduced during the 42nd Parliament as Bill S-234 by Senator Wilfred Moore in 2016. It was adopted at all stages in the Senate before dying on the House of Commons Order Paper. It was subsequently reintroduced by Senator Bovey in the 43rd Parliament as Bill S-210 and then again after prorogation as Bill S-205.
When this previous rendition was introduced, former MP Lenore Zann acknowledged artist Peter Gough of Nova Scotia, who was the originator of this wonderful idea. Sadly, Peter passed away before he could see his idea become reality. I should mention that the House heard several wonderful speeches here when MPs debated Bill S-205. It was clear that the House supported the bill, and it was very interesting to hear the importance of the arts from MPs of different parties.
This bill has reached the House of Commons three times previously and at various points has received unanimous support. The most recent time this bill was before the House was in the 43rd Parliament. On the day this bill was to be voted on for the third time, Parliament was dissolved, and now I am able to bring this bill back again, hopefully for its final time, to see it through to its successful conclusion.
Bill S-202 seeks to create the position of a parliamentary visual artist laureate. The artist laureate would be an officer of the Library of Parliament, similar to that of the parliamentary poet laureate position. The position of parliamentary poet laureate was created in 2001 through Bill S-10, which included similar amendments to the Parliament of Canada Act. Bill S-10 gathered broad support from senators, and in the House of Commons, Bill S-10 was supported by a majority of MPs.
The selection process would consist of the Speaker of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Commons acting together to select a parliamentary visual artist laureate from a list of three names reflective of Canada's diversity, including indigenous representation. These names would then be submitted by a committee chaired by the Parliamentary Librarian and composed of the director of the National Gallery of Canada, the Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada, the chairperson of the Canada Council for the Arts and the president of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, or their designates. As for the tenure of office, the parliamentary visual artist laureate would hold office “for a term not exceeding two years, at the pleasure of the Speaker of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Commons acting together.”
The mandate for this laureate position is to “promote the arts in Canada, through Parliament, including by fostering knowledge, enjoyment, awareness and development of the arts.” In carrying out their mandate, the laureate may “produce or cause to be produced artistic creations, at the request of either Speaker, especially for use in Parliament on occasions of state.” They may also sponsor artistic events such as art competitions or exhibitions. The laureate could also “give advice to the Parliamentary Librarian regarding the collection of the Library and acquisitions to enrich the Library’s cultural holdings”.
In this bill, arts are defined as “drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, design, crafts, photography, videography and filmmaking.”