By Dave Carr
Ten years and an estimated one billion dollars -- that's the timeline and cost to repair the iconic Centre Block of Canada's Parliament buildings. The Centre Block work should begin this summer. Lots of Canadians will complain about spending that kind of money in the face of homelessness, veterans' issues, climate change, and so on. Me, I say, there's not another building like it anywhere, and there should be no hesitation in getting the work done. Why? Well, I think the Centre Block is one of the few easily recognizable capitol buildings in the world. You know what the U.S. Capitol looks like; Britain's Houses of Parliament, The Kremlin, and all of Parliament Hill with the remarkable Peace Tower. But after that? What does Australia's capitol look like? France's? Brazil's? India's? Without looking them up, I have no idea, and I think none of us could pick those out of a lineup, or any of the other one hundred eighty-plus seats of government. There are just few buildings so easily identifiable on the face of this planet. And...Canada is by all measures, a country most everyone else looks to in some regard or other. We are among the most stable, happiest, successful, innovative nations in the world. People want to live here. People feel safe travelling on Canadian Passports, legitimate or not. Simply put, like the Rockies, like the Mounties, like the Maple Leaf itself, that building is just....Canada. This will not be an easy decade for Parliamentarians I think -- this will be the largest heritage restoration in Canada's history. But someone called the place an "icon of democracy". And frankly, I can think of no better reason than that to restore and renew our Parliament building.