(OTTAWA) – There is a crisis in Canada’s national parks. A recent report released by the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) highlights major commercial development inside Canadian National Parks as a threat.
“Commercial developments inside our National Parks can pose a threat to the unique values for which they were created,” said Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada (Saanich–Gulf Islands). “Projects like the ‘Glacier Skywalk,’ which took a public viewpoint and turned it into a private pay-for-use theme park-like development, and the Lake Louise Ski Resort Expansion, have occurred under Stephen Harper’s watch.
“Sable Island National Park in Nova Scotia is another example of the destruction that Harper has allowed in Canadians’ national parks. I was the only MP to oppose the legislation that allowed for seismic testing inside the park and directional oil and gas drilling under it.
“The Canada-Nova Scotia Off-shore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB) is the key regulator and only has to inform Parks Canada about oil and gas activities inside Sable Island National Park. The CNSOPB does not consult Parks Canada in advance. This is unacceptable,” continued May.
“I successfully fought to create the world’s largest freshwater marine conservation area in Lake Superior,” said Bruce Hyer, Deputy Leader of the Green Party of Canada. “The area allows local and traditional users to enjoy current recreational activities, pre-existing small businesses to operate, and encourages sustainable use that is consistent with the conservation goals of the Marine Conservation legislation.
“National Parks are created under the National Parks Act and must be held to a more rigorous standard of placing ecological integrity and protection of unique park values ahead of large scale commercial initiatives, in order to protect our natural and cultural heritage,” continued Hyer.
Green Party MPs will:
• Restore funding to Parks Canada to ensure science can be conducted in national parks;
• Amend the Sable Island National Park Act to remove the authorities of the Canada-Nova Scotia Off-shore Petroleum Board and re-affirm that industrial activities have no place in our national parks;
• Enforce previous policies that precluded private sector and privatized for-profit activities within a National Park;
• Re-commit to the completion of the national parks system that consists of a representative network of Canada’s terrestrial and marine ecosystems;
• Fulfill Canada’s international biodiversity commitments:
-Ensure federal funding to meet our Aichi targets – protecting 17% of our land and inland waters and 10% of our coastal areas by 2020;
-Establish a National Parks Completion Budget of $500 million annually to meet the goal of completing our National Parks and Marine Protected Areas Systems by 2030;
-Implement the recommendations of conservation scientists for effective preventative action;
• Advocate the purchase of private land, where necessary, to help protect critical habitats, especially of endangered species;
• Increase monitoring and protection efforts, including an increase in the number of park rangers and guides with interpretation skills to educate Canadians and visitors on the vast beauty and value of our national parks.
For additional information or to arrange an interview, contact: