Presentation to the Manitoba Legislature

Memory lane post – this is from the hansard to the Manitoba legislature back when I presented on the hope for a new provincial emblem represented by Bill 200 (which I am happy to report passed) to establish the Mosasaur Tylosaurus pembinensis as the official fossil emblem of the province of Manitoba.

Bill 200–The Coat of Arms, Emblems and the Manitoba Tartan Amendment Act

Mr. Chairperson: Now we would like to move to Bill 200 because of the out-of-town presenters, Peter Cantelon.

      Yes, Mr. Cantelon, do you have any written materials for presentation?

Mr. Peter Cantelon (Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre): Yes, I do.

Mr. Chairperson: Please distribute and go ahead with your presentation.

Mr. Cantelon: Thank you for the opportunity to speak in support of Bill 200. As the executive director of the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre in Morden, Manitoba, this bill has a great deal of meaning to us and we believe a great deal of meaning and import to the province and to the nation as well. We are very happy to have seen it come forth.

      And as a representative of the Fossil Discovery Centre, I should point out to you in what you’re being–what you’re receiving is just some background information about the life that existed at one point in   Manitoba for a very, very, very long time, representing, I guess, some exceptionally distant previous residents, including the mosasaur that is being proposed in this bill to be a fossil emblem for the province.

      I don’t think I need to remind or educate anyone here on who Bruce is at the museum. Our premier exhibit at 43 feet long, the largest mosasaur on display anywhere in the world, which is a source of  pride for us, and also again a great source of educational content for the thousands upon thousands of students from the province and outside of the province, as well as from the United States, who come up to Manitoba for school tours and get an  opportunity to be introduced to something as fearsome and majestic.

      I would suggest that the timing of this bill is very incredible. Obviously, this bill has been in the works for quite a while now, but with the release of the recent Jurassic World and its reception globally suggests the interest in dinosaurs and their con­temporaries, mosasaurs, is staggering. And for those of you who aren’t aware–I’m sure many of you have already heard it–that film in its opening weekend grossed over half a billion dollars and–or more than the GDP of seven nations.

      There’s a high level of interest, whether a source of entertainment deserves that, the point is, there’s a great deal of opportunity to educate through the passage of this bill and the elevation of the mosasaur and prehistoric life, dinosaur and marine reptile life  in Manitoba, to elevate that and to make sure the   world understand that we are a world-class, world‑renowned location on a globe when it comes to the science and education that revolves around mosasaurs, et cetera.

      I would also just like to point out to you that by elevating the mosasaur to the status of an emblem of the province, you bring a greater level of educational opportunity, again, not only to students of the province, but, again, abroad, as well as the tourism benefit of doing that.

      Again, the timing is perfect, and timing in many instances is everything. And so I would encourage the committee to move forward with this bill. I think it can only benefit the province in all kinds of ways.

      I would suggest if you have the opportunity to consider it, that you would consider a minor revision that would see the mosasaur designated as the province’s official fossil emblem, as opposed to the province’s official marine reptile fossil emblem. It’s in keeping with the tradition of other provinces that have designated an emblem–rather than designating a very specific niche within the broader fossil environment–as well as other states and nations around the world. It’s a just a more–it flows better and it’s just more representative of what has been done.

Mr. Chairperson: Thank you Mr. Cantelon, for your presentation.

      Any questions from the members?

Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Thank you for coming to present and for being involved in putting this forward. I’ve been to your museum many times and certainly enjoyed my visits and want to congratulate you on the work that you do.

Mr. Andrew Swan (Minto): Mr. Cantelon, I want to thank you on behalf of the government caucus for coming down and presenting tonight. Although I represent the west end of Winnipeg, I do have family in Morden, and my brother-in-law actually has served on the board of your centre. I want to thank you and your staff, and of course, your board members and all the volunteers for making the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre a good but growing attraction here in Manitoba. And I think all  MLAs will do what we can to promote more Manitobans coming down and having a chance to visit Bruce and everything else that you have in your centre. So thank you.

Mr. Cameron Friesen (Morden-Winkler): Thank you, Mr. Cantelon, for coming this evening to committee and presenting to us. And I know you have been a tremendous promoter of the CFDC, as have your board members, and you’ve done a ton of work to shepherd this and other initiatives of the museum forward.

      And I appreciate you mentioning as well the fact that this is well timed to coincide exactly with the release of Jurassic World. As a matter of fact, I had a chance today to take a link and go to that website, and I saw there’s a whole page of that major motion picture that is dedicated to mosasaurs and telling all about the significance of these creatures and where they would have lived and when they would have lived and what their diet would have been and what they would have looked like. And I was really interested to see that the models there on that website are exactly like the models that I’m seeing rendered by the scientific community, especially with the recent addition of Suzy the mosasaur to join Bruce in the Mosasaur Hall in Morden.

* (18:50)

      I thank you for your–also for your comments this evening pertaining to a suggestion to tweak the bill itself. What I wanted to ask you about that–and I appreciate the comment to streamline the language to just fossil emblem and dropping off the marine reptile. What I wanted to ask you about that–and I appreciate the input–do you feel like that change would also have the wider support of the scientific community within Manitoba, or would some feel that we had perhaps left other possible specimens off the list for future consideration? Does that have the support of the community?

Mr. Cantelon: I believe it does. We were–we–a committee was commissioned by Minister Lemieux to look into this designation, and that committee was made up of representatives of the geological, paleontological and biological studies community throughout Manitoba. Various doctors in–leaders in their field and all of them recommended, at the end of the day, as a committee, that the mosasaur was the  best option in terms of representing Manitoba as   a fossil emblem. And so, with that in mind and   knowing that they each represented other components and other options that were considered, I think then that–and, in fact, I’ve spoken with the chair of that committee, and they support this as simply the fossil emblem.

Mr. Friesen: Just one question, Mr. Cantelon.

      As the CFDC, you’re coming off of so many successes in the–in recent history. Right now I’m thinking of the Guinness book recognizing Bruce as the largest specimen in the world. I think about some of the relationships that you have brokered with the University of Manitoba, with a memorandum of understanding. You recently, I think only just last week, you opened a new hall or a new theatre at the museum, and I’m sure there’s much more in store, because there always seems to be over there.

      What I wanted to ask you about was, with respect to this bill that would see the mosasaur established as a new emblem, what would that mean for the museum? You mentioned education and you mentioned tourism. What would it mean beyond the southern Manitoba region? What would it mean for the province in terms of identity and talking about our uniqueness?

Mr. Cantelon: I think it’s important to recognize that by doing this–designating a fossil emblem is something of national importance, and it would receive national and international recognition–there’s no doubt. I mean, we have seen international recognition at the CFDC for what I would consider smaller news. This is of critical importance, I think, both from an educational perspective. But, from a tourism perspective and profile perspective, it tells the world that Manitoba is one of the most significant places on the planet when it comes to fossils, and it brings the world in. It’s just something that’s at the top of the list in terms of interest right now and has always been interesting to people from a tourism perspective, which is paleontology and geology.

Mr. Chairperson: Thank you. Thank you very much.

      Now that concludes the list out-of-town presenters that I have before me.

The bill can be read here:,as%20Tylosauruspembinensis%20was%20discovered%20near%20Morden%20in%201974%3B?msclkid=6c9bb276d06311ec8039e1908b885d71

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