Photo: Saffron Blaze via Wikimedia Commons

Thursday, September 26, 2019


Dear Friend of Canada’s Heritage,

Thank you for posing these questions to federal candidates, at all candidates’ meetings or when candidates come knocking at your door. You might not have time to ask all these questions, so pick the ones that matter most to you.

Thank you!

Background: Canada is the only G-7 country with no legislative protection for its national historic sites. The Government of Canada does not even commit to protecting the heritage properties that it owns itself.

National Historic Sites are places of national significance that have been designated by the minister responsible for Parks Canada. There are nearly 1,000 national historic sites. Of those, 750 fall outside federal jurisdiction (this includes the Château Laurier) and their protection depends on an uneven set of provincial and territorial laws. The recent Château Laurier controversy highlights the need for the federal government to step up to protect Canada’s national historic sites.

If elected:

  • What are three concrete actions your party would take to protect Canada’s national historic sites?
  • What three concrete actions would your party take to keep heritage buildings out of landfill? (After all, adapting existing buildings to new uses is ‘sustainable development').
  • What concrete action would your party take to protect the Château Laurier National Historic Site of Canada?
  • What would you require the National Capital Commission (NCC) to do to protect the heritage assets of the Nation’s Capital?

And remember: saving heritage buildings helps us reach our climate change commitments. The greenest building is the one that already exists!

CLICK HERE for the questions to candidates in PDF format.


Federal Party Platforms

Excerpts from three national party platforms that reference heritage preservation:

Liberal Party of Canada Platform (p.50):

Preserving Canada’s heritage is essential to understanding the history of our communities, and to fostering a sense of connection between people, yet current legislation offers little direction on how Canada’s heritage places are designated and protected, putting the preservation and care of these important places at risk.

To provide clearer direction on how national heritage places should be designated and preserved, we will move forward with new comprehensive heritage legislation on federally owned heritage places.

Green Party of Canada Platform (p.44):

Implement a federal income tax credit for restoration expenditures to encourage private involvement in preserving Canada’s built heritage.

Establish charitable tax credits for the private donation of easements on heritage properties to charitable organizations or local governments.

New Democratic Party of Canada (p. 85):

New Democrats will protect our heritage.

Complete platforms for each of these three parties are available on their websites.

To date, no "platforms" have been released by either the Conservative Party of Canada or the Peoples Party of Canada.