Will Ottawa finally get a portrait gallery?

Government called on to fund project with money from last week’s budget

Supporters of the campaign to establish a national portrait gallery in downtown Ottawa are calling on the federal government to invest in the project through the infrastructure program unveiled as part of last week’s budget. Celebrated British architect Edward Jones, a member of the 2003 gallery planning committee, told the Ottawa Citizen that despite setbacks—including the Conservative government cancelling the Liberal-initiated initiative not once but twice—the project is ready to go. “Money has been spent, drawings done, approvals obtained and tenders were being received,” he said. “It could happen in two months.” The Senate is also debating a motion authored by a Liberal senator to resurrect former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien’s plan to transform the former American Embassy into a permanent showcase for the hundreds of portraits currently gathering dust in storage. Conservatives in the Senate, however, have objected, citing the fact that the motion would compel the government to spend money, which can only be done through the House of Commons.

Ottawa Citizen