Thursday, June 29, 2006

save the portrait gallery of canada

To people who haven't heard, the Portrait Gallery of Canada has been in the works for close to a decade. It has already collected over 1,000,000 drawings, paintings and photographs. Initiated by public choice, and under the wing of the National Archives of Canada, the Portrait Gallery plans to open in the building formerly occupied by the American Embassy. The location is brilliant! It is situated on Wellington Street, directly across the street from the Parliament Buildings. Built in 1932 in Neo-Beaux-Arts style, the scale of the rooms is ideally suited to portraiture. The building has been gutted, and architect's plans have been drawn and approved. A large addition has been planned. It has been given the spot it deserves, where everyone can see it and find it. It is a statement about how we value our culture. It is one of the most exciting and intelligent things to happen in Canada in many years. It establishes and re-affirms our history. It captures our imagination. It reminds us of our past. There is nothing like portraits to do exactly that.
Now, as part of an effort to trim $2 billion dollars off its overall expenditures, the Conservative government has placed the Portrait Gallery under review. Construction has been halted, and there is an agenda in place that wishes to have the project abandoned, or at the very best moved to some less visible location in order ostensibly to "save money". We can't let this happen! We must write or email the Prime Minister, outlining our views and our indignation. Now is the time to act! THIS IS AN URGENT SITUATION! Collectively we can stop this preposterous plan. The Conservative government is pushing culture aside. Imagine what a loss this will be to us, our neighbours from abroad, and to future generations.
Rise up Canadians! Voice your opinion! Let Stephen Harper and Bev Oda, the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women know how you feel. Let your MP know too. S/He's important!
Here is Stephen Harper's email address: Here is his postal address:
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa K1A 0A2
Here is his fax number: 613 941 6900
Here is Bev Oda's email address;
Here is her postal address:
121 East Block
House of Commons
Ottawa K1A 0A6
Here is her fax number: 613 992 2794
Thank you for helping to save this most valuable Canadian asset! It will add significantly to the process of creating a strong identity for all citizens of Canada and for visitors from abroad.
This announcement is supported by Vera Frenkel, Peggy Gale, Spring Hurlbut, Arnaud Maggs, Michael Mitchell, Michael Snow, Gabor Szilasi, and Joanne Tod

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