Support of Edmonton’s Bid to Host World Fair—Royal Alberta MuseumPublished on 3 November 2011 Hansard and Statements by Senator Tommy Banks (retired)
Hon. Tommy Banks:
Honourable senators, my question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. I know that she knows that Albertans are resilient people. I guess Edmontonians are the most resilient of all, but there is a limit.
The government put out for tender the construction and operation of the National Portrait Gallery and issued a very specific set of criteria. Several cities applied. Only two applications met all of the criteria, both from the City of Edmonton. The government then decided it would not do that after all, despite Edmonton having spent many hundreds of thousands of dollars in making those applications.
Then the government encouraged the application of Edmonton and made Edmonton the Canadian bid for the world’s fair and, having encouraged that application, decided at the last minute not to support it. That put an end to it. Now we have the federal government saying that they have withdrawn their support for the construction of the Royal Alberta Museum. That is three hard slaps in a row.
There are arguments and questions about the nature of that commitment, but Mr. Laurie Hawn, the MP for Edmonton-Centre, the jurisdiction in which that museum was going to be built, two years ago in his newsletter to his constituents, in a list called ‘Stand Up for Edmonton,’ said that he stands up for having got ‘$85 million for the construction of the Royal Alberta Museum.’
A normal person reading that from the Honourable Mr. Hawn would assume that that indicated a commitment, and hundreds of other people thought there were commitments coming from lots of other places too. Now the federal government has said, well, no, they did not actually make that commitment.
Honourable senators, I am sorry I did not give notice for this, but will the Leader of the Government in the Senate undertake to do a little due diligence on this question? It is a muddy piece of water. Would she come back and tell us here, so that we can report to our constituents, what the nature was of the commitment or discussions or non-commitment of the Government of Canada to the construction of the Royal Alberta Museum?