Question Period: Parliamentary Precinct

By: The Hon. Andrew Cardozo

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Lebreton Flats and Canadian geese, Ottawa

Hon. Andrew Cardozo: My question is for the Government Representative in the Senate. As we come to the end of this session, I want to come back to an issue that I’ve raised with him a few times, and that’s an issue regarding the national capital.

First, it’s with regard to the future of Wellington Street. There have been discussions between the Government of Canada and the City of Ottawa that have gone on for the past couple of years. On the one hand, I think that we can enhance and augment the national capital, and on the other, I think it’s a matter of advancing security on Parliament Hill, both for parliamentarians and visitors.

I wonder if you could update the chamber on the federal-municipal discussions in this regard.

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for your question and your ongoing interest in our neighbourhood and the Parliamentary Precinct.

Colleagues, Public Services and Procurement Canada is committed to the acquisition of Wellington Street from the City of Ottawa as an essential first step in addressing the long-standing security challenges for the Parliamentary Precinct.

The Government of Canada is committed to creating a plan for Wellington Street that preserves the Parliamentary Precinct as a safe, open and accessible place in a way that works for local residents, supports dynamic business activity and creates an enhanced visitor experience for all those who come to visit our capital.

I have been informed that the Prime Minister and the mayor recently met to discuss their shared interest in maintaining a vibrant capital city and the revitalization of the downtown core while addressing the city’s unique needs as Canada’s national capital.

Again, all future plans for Wellington Street would ensure that it’s an accessible and attractive space, and planning will be done in consultation with the city residents and businesses as well as Indigenous partners.

Senator Cardozo: Thank you for that. I think that’s an advancement on the issue, and I’m pleased to hear that, as I’m sure many others will be.

I want to float a couple of other ideas with regard to other locations. One is that consideration should be given to the building which currently houses the Ottawa Public Library. When it moves to its new quarters in LeBreton Flats, I think it would be a great location for the Portrait Gallery of Canada. And perhaps this building, in 10 years, when the Senate of Canada leaves this building, perhaps it can be used as a downtown location for the Canada Science and Technology Museum.

Senator Gold: Thank you for those suggestions. I would encourage you to pass them on to the relevant stakeholders. I’ll certainly pass them on from my end.

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