Outaouais heritage infrastructure neglected by Quebec, say experts
Aylmer historian Roger Blanchette argued that successive Quebec governments have neglected funding Outaouais heritage, museum institutions and archives. He held a press conference on August 27 to draw attention to this problem.
Mandated by Équité Outaouais’s citizen group, Blanchette pointed out figures gathered by the Quebec Institute of Statistics to support his remarks. “By comparing regions with similar populations, Outaouais receives $2.52 per capita, Estrie receives $12.97 per capita and Mauricie, $19.20.”
According to the historian’s research, Outaouais is at the bottom of the provincial heritage grant rankings, $10.45 per capita behind the penultimate region. Blanchette noted that “it would take huge catch-up measures to place us in the provincial average of $33.18 per capita.”
Mr Blanchette pointed out that these cultural organizations are supported and encouraged by the City of Gatineau and the regional MRCs, but not by the Government of Quebec, an opinion shared by Équité Outaouais who proclaimed that it is time for Quebec to “treat the Outaouais in a fair and respectful manner when it comes to culture.”
Équité Outaouais is scheduled to meet the three area MPs on September 6, but has made three public recommendations, namely:
That the huge gap between the financing of culture in the Outaouais and that of other regions be levelled, particularly in the heritage and museology sector.
That all Quebec MNAs of the Outaouais formally and concretely support the proposed regional museum planned by the Heritage Network of Gatineau and Outaouais (RPGO) and supported by many regional bodies, including the City of Gatineau.
That the members of the Outaouais lobby for the accreditation process for museum institutions to be revised to take into account regional realities.
Earlier this month, due to lack of space and regional partners to protect its artifacts and archival documents, the Gatineau Sports Museum transferred its collection to Montreal. The collection will be exhibited in the future Quebec Sports Museum which is to be built by 2026 in the Olympic Stadium Tower at an estimated cost of about 20 million dollars.