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An Act to amend the Parliament of Canada Act

Honourable senators, I rise today to speak to Bill S-202, An Act to amend the Parliament of Canada Act (Parliamentary Visual Artist Laureate). I stand here in support of this bill and ask that this chamber unanimously pass this bill once again.

Let me begin by thanking the sponsor of the bill, Senator Bovey, for her outstanding commitment and determination. This is the fourth iteration of this bill, and Senator Bovey has very eloquently articulated the importance of incorporating the universal language of the arts into our parliamentary sphere.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank former Senator Moore who first introduced this bill in 2016. Even after he retired in 2017, Senator Moore continued to fight for the bill at the committee stage.

I would also like to recognize the efforts of Senator Eggleton, Senator Cormier, Senator McIntyre and Senator Harder who have also spoken in previous sessions of Parliament to support this bill.

For colleagues who are not familiar with the Parliamentary Visual Artist Laureate Bill, it simply establishes a position for an office of the library whose job is to promote the arts in Canada through Parliament. The visual artist laureate will foster knowledge, enjoyment, awareness and development of the arts. This new position will bring contemporary artwork into this institution and provide us with new perspectives while preserving Parliament’s history through the visual arts.

The challenging but exciting work of a parliamentary visual artist laureate is to use their unique talent to challenge, question and present social issues. Thus, a visual artist laureate will assist in presenting policy and legislation to Canadians from a different perspective. At the same time, we will gain a greater understanding of various societal aspects, as artists can express their concerns virtually and can communicate messages through different mediums, reaching far more people than we ever could alone.

Artists often have the capacity to break down complex issues and present them in an accessible manner, which transcends linguistic barriers.

The position would also be a way to highlight the Canadian cultural sector’s contribution to society. Let us not forget that nearly 800,000 Canadians were employed in cultural occupations in 2017, which represents 4% of all employment in Canada. Furthermore, cultural establishments represented over 3.8% of all establishments in the Canadian economy in 2017.

By passing this bill, we publicly acknowledge the importance of artists and are better able to promote their talents. Therefore, honourable senators, I humbly ask that you support this bill. Thank you.