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Manitoba Minister Steve Ashton works to reunite the Parthenon Marbles

The Canadian Committee for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles, is campaigning within Canada for the return of the Parthenon Marbles that are currently in the British Museum to Athens, Greece. Senator Shirley Maheu plans to table a motion in the Senate, calling on the federal government to urge the British government to return the marbles before the 2004 Olympic Games.

Winnipeg Sun [1]

Sunday, December 22, 2002
Ashton fights for marbles

Manitoba Conservation Minister Steve Ashton is trying to repatriate the Parthenon marbles — but jokes his friends have asked whether he’s lost his marbles.

The MLA from Thompson says he’s one step closer to realizing his dream of having the ancient sculptures returned to Athens from London’s British Museum.

Ground is set to be broken next year on a museum at the foot of the Acropolis that could house the artifacts — perhaps even prior to the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Ashton said.

Construction of the museum has been delayed for more than a decade.

“Things are starting to develop. I wouldn’t say it’s a probability that the marbles will be returned, but a possibility,” Ashton told The Sun.


A self-described history buff, Ashton has long campaigned for the return of the 2,500-year-old marbles — and has held news conferences asking for their return in both Britain and Greece.

The 17 ancient figures were taken to Britain from the Parthenon temple on the Acropolis about 200 years ago by Lord Elgin, a British ambassador to the Ottoman empire. They are housed in the British Museum.

Ashton — who was born in England and married a Greek woman — is secretary of The Canadian Committee for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles. The group is chaired by Senator Shirley Maheu. “You do it in your spare time,” Ashton said. “In politics, you need a life.”

Edmonton Sun [2]

Saturday, December 21, 2002
Marbles lost over Greek dispute?
Grit senator wants antiquities returned

OTTAWA — A senator wants the government to intervene in a 173-year-old fight by Greece to get precious sculptures back from a British museum.

Lord Elgin removed the so-called Parthenon Marbles from the Acropolis in 1801, and Greece has been lobbying in vain for their return since 1829.

“The Parthenon Marbles belong in Greece and should be returned to the world’s cultural patrimony to stand again as designed centuries ago by their ancient Greek creators,” Liberal Senator Shirley Maheu said in a prepared statement.

“My personal goal … is to secure their return before the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, (Greece).”

Maheu plans to table a motion in the Senate, calling on the federal government to urge the British government to return the marbles before the Games.

Of the original 115 Parthenon Marbles, only 94 remain.

Of these – some intact, others broken – the majority are in Athens (36) and Britain (56).

Some critics argue that Britain saved the Parthenon Marbles from destruction and has, over the years, restored and protected them from disintegration.

Canadian Alliance heritage critic Jim Abbott questioned why Canada would get involved in such a case.

“I’m tempted to say I think she’s lost her marbles,” Abbott quipped.

“Surely to goodness there are some things that might come to the interest of Canadian senators that would be of significantly more importance than these marbles.”

One of the key policies of the Canadian Alliance is bringing in an elected Senate and Abbott says Maheu’s pet project is an example of why that’s needed.

“Both Greece and England are friends and allies of ours and are very intelligent, competent, capable people,” Abbott stressed. “And I’m sure they can resolve their differences.

“If she, along with the other senators, were directly accountable to Canadians through an election process, her constituents would reasonably be able to ask why she’s wasting her time on this issue.”