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CPAWS welcomes launch of biggest public consultation on the future of Canada’s national parks


CPAWS welcomes launch of biggest public consultation on the future of Canada’s national parks in a generation

Ottawa, January 9, 2017 -- CPAWS welcomes the launch of the biggest nationwide public consultation on the future of our national parks and national marine conservation areas in a generation. From January 9th to 27th, Canadians are invited to provide feedback and written recommendations to federal Minister Catherine McKenna on how Parks Canada is delivering on its mandate, and to help shape the future of our national parks, national marine conservation areas and other sites managed by Parks Canada.

Under the Parks Canada Agency Act, the federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change is required to convene a Round Table every two years, so that interested Canadians can provide their feedback and recommendations on how Parks Canada is delivering on its mandate. This year, for the first time, the Minister is opening this process to the Canadian public. 

“CPAWS is excited about this great opportunity for Canadians to provide their thoughts directly to the Minister on how our national parks are being managed, and to encourage her to make sure they are well protected for the future,” said Éric Hébert-Daly, CPAWS National Executive Director. “CPAWS will be urging the Minister to re-focus Parks Canada on its nature conservation mandate first and foremost. I encourage all Canadians to join us!”

Last July, CPAWS released a report documenting a troubling shift in how Parks Canada is managing our national parks, away from nature conservation and towards marketing, tourism and infrastructure development. The report documented significant cuts to Parks Canada’s conservation capacity, shifting program objectives, and a major decline in public participation opportunities as being particularly problematic. This contradicts the Agency’s legal requirement to focus on maintaining and restoring healthy ecosystems as the first priority in all aspects of park management.

“We have a responsibility to pass these special places on unimpaired to future generations of Canadians. Unless there is a shift in focus within Parks Canada, this legacy is at risk,” said Hébert-Daly.

The federal government has committed to limit development in national parks, re-invest in science-based management of our parks, and restore more open, transparent decision-making.  They have also committed to expanding our national parks and other protected areas.
“We have seen some early encouraging signs, like the halt to the Mother Canada statue in Cape Breton, and the launch of this public consultation. But there is much more that needs to be done to implement these commitments to protect park wildlife and ecosystems, as well as to expand the system of parks and marine conservation areas,” said Hébert-Daly.

“With almost half of park ecosystems currently in fair or poor condition, and with sky-rocketing visitation and infrastructure developments putting more and more pressure on park wildlife, we urgently need the federal government to insist that Parks Canada stop the relentless tourism marketing and development that has dominated their park management approach in recent years, and re-focus on their conservation responsibilities. We also need the federal government to provide the necessary resources to reverse the 30% cut to Parks Canada’s science and conservation capacity that happened in 2012,” said Hébert-Daly.

Polling consistently shows that Canadians value national parks as one of the top four symbols of Canadian identity, along with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, health care, and the flag, and that, above all else, they value wildlife and unspoiled natural beauty in our parks.

Canadians interested in providing input into the Minister’s Round Table public consultation can visit CPAWS’ website at cpaws.org for more background information, and to submit their comments to the Minister.

Submit your comments

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For interviews, please contact Karen Turner, kturner@cpaws.org