National art treasures ours, not Harper’s

I recently read an article that left me quite sad and so disappointed in the short-sightedness of this federal government, and one that I believe touches all Canadians, especially here in Yukon.

I recently read an article that left me quite sad and so disappointed in the short-sightedness of this federal government, and one that I believe touches all Canadians, especially here in Yukon, where we enjoy a vibrant artistic community.

The Harper government’s Foreign Affairs Department had been considering the selling off its artworks – sculptures and paintings from some of our most famous Canadian artists such as Borduas, Kurelek and Riopelle.

Perhaps Minister John Baird was influenced by popular TV shows, like Pawns Stars, Canadian Pickers or those hotel trade shows looking to give you cash for your unused treasures.

Luckily for us the minister has now retracted this idea, which would have been an unprecedented move, a move that would have liquidated our heritage, our history, our culture for quick cash. It would have been a horribly misguided short-term measure that would have affected us and future generations profoundly.

This brings to mind a government that is out of touch with the majority of Canadians, a government that does not believe in Canada – past, present or future – a government void of long-term strategic financial planning.

I am certain Canadians could easily suggest other cost-cutting measures to this government. In fact there are many of their programs that come to mind.

We must remind this government that these artworks do not belong to them. They belong to the people of this country and to our future generations.

The only rights Canadians have conferred to Mr. Harper and his government, in regards to these priceless works, are as custodians.

If they no longer wish to have them in their offices, they should be placed in museums across Canada for Canadians to enjoy, not hidden away in the hands of the rich elite. We must remember that once sold to private hands, they will be lost to us forever.

I urge you to get the message out. Tell your friends, write to every level of government, as it affects all of us, all of them. Should they ever consider such folly – whether as city councillors, mayors, MLAs, MPs, the minister of Foreign Affairs or the prime minister –

tell them to keep their hands off.

The art of the people, our Canadian culture, our heritage, our history, our national identity is not for sale. Not now, not ever.

Louis R. Gagnon

Whitehorse

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks at a press conference in Whitehorse on March 30. Hanley announced three more COVID-19 cases in a release on Nov. 21. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three more COVID-19 cases, new exposure notice announced

The Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Brendan Hanley, announced three… Continue reading

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: COVID-19 strikes another blow at high-school students

They don’t show up very often in COVID-19 case statistics, but they… Continue reading

The Cornerstone housing project under construction at the end of Main Street in Whitehorse on Nov. 19. Community Services Minister John Streicker said he will consult with the Yukon Contractors Association after concerns were raised in the legislature about COVID-19 isolation procedures for Outside workers at the site. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Concerns raised about alternate self-isolation plans for construction

Minister Streicker said going forward, official safety plans should be shared across a worksite

The Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley, pictured at a press conference in October, announced three new cases of COVID-19 on Nov. 20 as well as a new public exposure notice. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New COVID-19 cases, public exposure notice announced

The new cases have all been linked to previous cases

Beatrice Lorne was always remembered by gold rush veterans as the ‘Klondike Nightingale’. (Yukon Archives/Maggies Museum Collection)
History Hunter: Beatrice Lorne — The ‘Klondike Nightingale’

In June of 1929, 11 years after the end of the First… Continue reading

Samson Hartland is the executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines. The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during its annual general meeting held virtually on Nov. 17. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Yukon Chamber of Mines elects new board

The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during… Continue reading

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and — unsurprisingly — hospital visitations were down. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Annual report says COVID-19 had a large impact visitation numbers at Whitehorse General

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

City council was closed to public on March 23 due to gathering rules brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The council is now hoping there will be ways to improve access for residents to directly address council, even if it’s a virtual connection. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Solution sought to allow for more public presentations with council

Teleconference or video may provide opportunities, Roddick says

Megan Waterman, director of the Lastraw Ranch, is using remediated placer mine land in the Dawson area to raise local meat in a new initiative undertaken with the Yukon government’s agriculture branch. (Submitted)
Dawson-area farm using placer miner partnership to raise pigs on leased land

“Who in their right mind is going to do agriculture at a mining claim? But this made sense.”

Riverdale residents can learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s plan to FireSmart a total of 24 hectares in the area of Chadburn Lake Road and south of the Hidden Lakes trail at a meeting on Nov. 26. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Meeting will focus on FireSmart plans

Riverdale residents will learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s FireSmarting… Continue reading

The City of Whitehorse is planning to borrow $10 million to help pay for the construction of the operations building (pictured), a move that has one concillor questioning why they don’t just use reserve funds. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Councillor questions borrowing plan

City of Whitehorse would borrow $10 million for operations building