The CHA and IHAF write to the new Canadian Heritage Minister
Ottawa and Montreal: January 26, 2016
The Honorable Mélanie Joly
Minister of Canadian Heritage
15 Eddy Street
Dear Minister Joly,
As presidents of the Canadian Historical Association/Société historique du Canada (CHA/SHC) and the Institut d’histoire de l’Amérique française (IHAF), we are writing to offer our congratulations on your election and appointment as Minister of Canadian Heritage and to begin a discussion of our common interests. Founded in 1922, the CHA/SHC fosters the scholarly study and communication of history in Canada. It brings together professional historians as well as others interested in Canada’s past and is the largest group of its kind in the country. The IHAF was founded in 1946 and is the principal association of professional historians of Quebec and the French Americas.
The work your ministry does is particularly important for CHA/SHC and IHAF members. We have long had interests in increasing funding for Canadian cultural institutions like Telefilm Canada and the National Film Board as well as programmes like Young Canada Works and those that look to promote, preserve and enhance Indigenous languages and cultures. Although we represent historians who research and write histories beyond the borders of Canada, we have also supported international programs like Understanding Canada (unfortunately cut by the previous government), and Quebec Studies. The CHA/SHC has also been vocal on issues relating to research such as the long-form census and the need to provide stronger financial support to all archives and museums preserving our heritage.
We are also aware that the window for planning Canada 150 events is becoming increasing smaller. A key part of your mandate is a review of current plans for Canada 150 and government-wide efforts to promote this celebration. We would urge you to consult with stakeholders like our associations in this regard as heritage and history are at the core of our mandates too. Events like the sesquicentennialhave the potential to enhance public engagement with history through the provision of lasting, accessible and innovative projects that go beyond stationary monuments and one-time events. We have an opportunity to create debate, disseminate knowledge, and offer lasting heritage of historical quality if we plan well.
We are truly excited by the new tone established by your government, particularly its emphasis on transparency and consultation. We would welcome a meeting with you to discuss both broader issues and the upcoming Canada 150 planning. We look forward to working with you on the dossiers discussed above and others and meeting with you at your earliest convenience.
Joan Sangster Martin Pâquet
Canadian Historical Association Institut d’histoire de l’Amérique française