Mike Bossio, the Member of Parliament for Hastings—Lennox and Addington, joined his colleagues on the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, to call on the federal government to enhance protection of Canada’s historic places.
“Preserving historic sites is a key economic development tool for rural sustainability and rebuilding main street in small rural towns across Canada, but small communities often lack the resources to do it themselves,” said Bossio. “The government must review the National Cost-Sharing Program for Heritage Places to ensure rural Canada is receiving its fair share of funding.”
The riding of Hastings—Lennox and Addington contains several National Historic Sites, including the Napanee Town Hall, the Old Hay Bay Church, the Mazinaw Pictographs in Bon Eco Provincial Park, and Christ Church, Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal of the Mohawk (which is also one of only three royal chapels in the whole of Canada).
The report the committee released, entitled Preserving Canada’s Heritage: the Foundation for Tomorrow, contains 17 recommendations to ensure better protection of these places. Stakeholders from Canada’s heritage sector, experts and government representatives appeared before the Committee to convey their thoughts on the steps to be taken to better protect Canada’s historic places.
“The federal government should set an example by legislating better protection for federal heritage buildings and national historic sites under its stewardship,” said Bossio.
The Committee believes that Crown corporations should be subject to the same building conservation requirements as federal departments. Moreover, archaeological resources on federal lands and in federal waters should be better protected.
“The federal government should also improve the funding available to Canadians who own heritage buildings,” added Bossio.
The Committee has recommended that annual funding for the National Cost-Sharing Program for Heritage Places be a minimum of $10 million per year. The establishment of a tax credit for the restoration and preservation of buildings is another option to be considered.
The Committee’s study was an opportunity to learn more about the unique relationship that Indigenous peoples have with their tangible and intangible heritage. The Committee endorses the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action 72 to 75, 79 and 81.