Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources
Issue 21 - Evidence
OTTAWA, Tuesday, September 19, 2000
The Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural
Resources, to which was referred Bill C-27, An Act respecting the National Parks
of Canada, and Bill S-20, An Act to enable and assist the Canadian tobacco
industry in attaining its objective of preventing the use of tobacco products by
young persons in Canada, met this day at 5:05 p.m. to give consideration to the
Senator Mira Spivak (Chairman) in the Chair.
The Chairman: Honourable senators, the first part of our agenda concerns Bill
C-27, and our first witness this evening is Mr. Alan Latourelle. Welcome, and
Mr. Alan Latourelle, Chief Administrative Officer, Strategy and Plans,
Department of Canadian Heritage: Thank you for the opportunity to address you. I
will first cover the key elements of the bill and then follow that by talking
about the evolution of the Parks Canada budget and give you a bit of perspective
as to where we have been and where we are at currently, in terms of funding.
As honourable senators are aware, the key focus is on ecological integrity,
reconfirming and clarifying that maintaining or restoring ecological integrity
is the first priority. Other key elements of the bill are new parks. The bill
brings seven new national parks and one national park reserve under the
protection of the act.
Commercial development growth in the park communities is capped through the
preparation of land use plans and ensuring that key elements of the plans can
only be changed after national debate in Parliament.
This bill removes all taxation authorities that were in the previous
legislation. Therefore, community services will continue to be provided within
the Parks Canada budget.
The bill provides the legislative framework for working with aboriginal
people in the management of national parks.
Finally, in terms of wildlife protection, the bill increases the maximum
fines and penalties for certain poaching offences and creates a new offence for
trafficking in wildlife and other natural resources.
Parks Canada's annual appropriation from Parliament was reduced from $374
million, which was the amount in 1994-95, to $283 million, which we are getting
this year, for a reduction of approximately $91 million. All new investment in
national parks, national marine conservation areas and national historic sites
that have come on stream since 1994 are being funded within Parks Canada's
Overall, since 1994, the activities of Parks Canada have had to be adjusted
by $107 million. That adjustment includes the following items: $91 million as a
result of reductions in parliamentary appropriation; and $16 million as a result
of investment in new parks and sites.
Parks Canada has taken the following actions to adjust its program to
available funding. We have implemented revenue generation initiatives to offset
the budget decreases. They have amounted to $35 million. We have reduced the
overhead costs throughout the organization, including regional offices, and that
has resulted in savings of $19 million. That is about a 30 per cent reduction to
our overhead function.
We have had to reduce the highways capital program by $17 million. We have
made reductions in the amount of $20 million to the parks and sites capital
rehabilitation program. That is basically the ongoing capital improvement or
capital upgrades that we need to do to our infrastructure. We have reduced the
operating budget of parks and sites by $9 million. As a result of reductions to
our capital program, in terms of highways and capital rehabilitation, we have
reduced our architectural and engineering function by some $7 million.
The impact of these reductions is serious, especially with respect to
maintenance of our assets. Parks Canada has approximately $7 billion in assets
such as highways, historic sites, and recreational assets like visitor centres.
The challenge we have as an agency therefore is in being able to maintain those
assets at the appropriate standard.
Parks Canada has had an independent, third-party review to assess the
existing condition of our assets. That review concluded that there is currently
a capital budget shortfall of about $475 million for Parks Canada to maintain
its existing asset base. That amount is not annual but over a five-year period.
The other impact of the adjustment that we have had to make is that it has
limited our ability to communicate the values of our natural and cultural
heritage to Canadians who may not be able to visit our parks and sites. Thus, we
are looking at alternative methods of delivering Parks Canada's values and
messages to Canadians in urban centres or to youth.
I have tried to give an overview of our budget. We are now prepared to answer
any questions that you may have.
The Chairman: Could you explain the highways? Are you talking mostly about
Mr. Latourelle: There is the Terra Nova Highway in the east, while in the
west the highways include Banff. They are through highways that are part of the
Trans-Canada system. Gros Morne is another example.
Senator Kenny: There are to be seven new parks with no new funding. That is
disgraceful. Can you tell us how many new facilities there have been since 1994
when the funding was frozen?
Mr. Latourelle: One point I would like to make is that seven new parks in the
park reserve are being added to the act. Some of them have been in existence
since 1970. For example, the Pacific Rim national reserve has been in place
since then. We have within our existing appropriations the funds to cover their
operating and capital costs.
Senator Kenny: Did you say that there has been no increase in funding since
Mr. Latourelle: Yes.
Senator Kenny: You have been adding parks and facilities since 1994; is that
Mr. Latourelle: Yes.
Senator Kenny: Can you tell us what you have added since 1994 that is being
absorbed in this $107-million budget?
Mr. Bruce Amos, Director General, National Parks, Parks Canada Agency,
Department of Canadian Heritage: Three new national parks have been established
since 1974, the costs of which have been absorbed in our existing budget.
Senator Kenny: You are paying for that not only by bleeding the existing
parks but by the fact that there has been an overall reduction in your budget in
any event that has been bleeding the parks.
Mr. Amos: Yes, that is part of the impact that we have had to absorb. We have
had to pay the start-up costs for those three parks since these budget
Senator Kenny: I am not cross at you folks. I am outraged, however, that this
has been allowed to happen.
With this bill, all of the plans are being locked in. If I understand it
correctly, no one can change any plans that exist currently without a change
made by Parliament.
Mr. Latourelle: Senator, I assume that when you refer to "the plan"
you are referring to the community plans or the land use plans in terms of
control and development.
Senator Kenny: Yes.
Mr. Latourelle: This will provide the legislative framework to cap limits to
growth in three ways. First, it will cap the total commercial square footage
that will be allowed in each townsite. Second, it will govern the commercial
boundary within that townsite. Third, it will cap the boundary of the overall
townsites, including the residential areas. Basically, those are the three
components that will be in legislation.
Within the plan there are other components of an operational nature that are
usually covered in land use plans that could be changed without having the
approval of Parliament. However, those are mostly operational. Total limits to
growth would require a debate in Parliament.
Senator Kenny: How can this committee easily understand what we would have to
legislate and what could be changed by executive decision? Is it possible to
come up with a graph, a chart or a document that would make it easy for us to
Mr. Amos: The only things that are to be embedded in the legislation in
future by means of an Order in Council are three carefully defined aspects of
the community plans. I refer to the boundary of the park community, the
boundaries of the commercial zones, and the maximum commercial square footage.
Those are the only three elements that the bill specifies be placed in the
schedule to this legislation by means of a subsequent Order in Council.
Senator Kenny: On the subject of the highways, you have talked about two in
Newfoundland and the Trans-Canada Highway, which goes through the mountain
parks. The one that starts at Canmore and which is twinned as far as Castle
Junction appears to be a much safer highway. I mean to say that it is safer for
animals and for humans because of the overpasses. Can you tell us something
about mortality rates? Can you tell us what the mortality rate was before the
highway was twinned? Can you tell us the mortality rate of humans who still
drive on the divided or, in some cases, three-lane highway between Castle
Junction and Lake Louise?
Mr. Latourelle: I would be pleased to provide that information to the
committee at a later date. I do not have it with me today.
Senator Kenny: I am equally concerned about the mortality rate of animals
coming onto the roads in Gros Morne and those in the park on the East Coast of
Newfoundland. There appears to be an inordinately high mortality rate in terms
of animals grazing. It seems that there is no funding to adequately fence these
areas. Likewise, railroad tracks appear to pose a continual hazard to animals
throughout the mountain parks. What has this funding done to separate the
railroad tracks from the paths followed by animals?
Mr. Latourelle: In terms of the mountain parks and the railroad tracks, there
are several studies that are being undertaken or have been carried out to look
at the issue of wildlife mortality. Committees with external stakeholders have
been put in place to discuss the issues.
That is all I can comment on today. I cannot say, for example, how much we
have spent in terms of studies.
Senator Kenny: Will you provide the committee with information on that
aspect, as well as the mortality rate issue?
Mr. Latourelle: Yes.
Senator Taylor: You estimate that over the next five years you will need $475
million to deal with these assets. That does not seem like a great deal of money
when you consider the fact that you have said that you have $7 billion in
assets. The sum of $475 million accounts for just 5 per cent of that total, or 1
per cent of your capital assets over five years. You would not get very far in
business with estimates like that. Are you sure that your estimates are good
enough? It seems to me that they should be double that.
Mr. Latourelle: Basically, the industry standard in terms of asset
recapitalization for these types of resources averages about 2 per cent per
year. You must remember that we include historic sites in those assets.
Senator Taylor: Even 2 per cent per year would be double what you have set
Mr. Latourelle: Two per cent per year would bring us to about $140 million
Senator Taylor: You have $7 billion in assets. Ten per cent of $7 billion is
Mr. Latourelle: Yes, and 2 per cent of that is about $140 million. Currently,
we have $45 million in our base. There is a shortfall of approximately $95
Senator Taylor: I suppose that is what you are after.
Mr. Latourelle: Yes.
Senator Taylor: What I am saying is that that is not asking for too much.
In your presentation, you said, with respect to taxation authorities, that
the bill removes all taxation authorities in the legislation and that community
services will continue to be provided with Park Canada budget. I have two
questions. Where does local government fit in? Banff and Jasper are a good size.
How do they generate capital? Second, you have begun to allow some of the park
administrators to charge admission fees to parks. I am not so sure I like that
idea. How much of that income that you are hoping to generate will you get by
either increasing the fees or charging rent for development within the parks?
I am concerned that there will be an incentive to allow hotels to go ahead
because they pay large rents, especially when they are getting a percentage of
the sale of liquor and gambling. This practice has destroyed many governments
and might do the same to your department. How do I know that if we approve this,
and you must go out and generate your own money with no local government in
here, you will not be dealing with casinos, hotels and bars in order to generate
the cash needed to run the parks?
Mr. Latourelle: There are a few components to the answer. In terms of
municipal taxation, for example, currently we do recover and will continue to
recover costs of providing utilities. For example, water, sewer and garbage
services are currently being cost recovered from the communities, and that will
continue. We will not, as was allowed under the previous legislation, recover
general municipal fees for things like snow removal and road maintenance, which
are services that are broader to all of the community but not specific to an
individual or to a residence. That part of it we will not recover.
In terms of fees, we are identifying the appropriate uses through the
community planning process for each town or each town site. Your examples would
not be permitted use within a national park and would be addressed through the
community planning process that identifies appropriate use. In terms of ensuring
that fees remain affordable, the approach is through land rent -- leasing the
land to leaseholders who then have their residence or their businesses on that
land. The current regulations would have seen a significant increase in land
rent and land rent cost for the leaseholders.
Minister Copps issued a press release on March 8 of this year in recognition
that there has been a significant increase in land values, for example, in
Jasper and Lake Louise, especially in the mountain parks. She has placed an
interim freeze on land rent and she has directed that the CEO of Parks Canada
consult further with the communities to come up with land rent that is fair,
affordable and comparable.
Senator Taylor: I am having trouble following you. Would you then be taxing
these people, as you say, for their services? I gather you will be trying to do
away with local government. The last people who tried to do that got tea dumped
in Boston Harbour. I am wondering what system you are using if you are to fix a
fair rent on these communities. What someone in Ottawa thinks is fair and what
someone elsewhere thinks is fair will probably be different.
You must also decide whether or not to remove snow at your expense. You will
charge them for sewage and charge them for rent. What is the counterbalance to
you running amuck by upping the rents too much, or maybe even worse, insisting
that a new business must have such a high profit that it would need to be
something like a hotel, a bar or a casino that could afford your rent?
Mr. Latourelle: From a perspective of level of service, we do work with
townsite advisory committees to establish a level of service in snow removal and
those types of municipal functions. That would continue.
Senator Taylor: Would they be appointed?
Mr. Latourelle: They are elected.
Senator Taylor: Will there be locally elected government?
Mr. Latourelle: Currently there is a locally elected advisory committee to
the park superintendents. For example, in Jasper there is an election process to
elect representatives that then advise Parks Canada on Parks Canada issues. We
have the same approach in all of our communities except Saguenay because that
community decided to have representation by type of leaseholders instead of
In terms of land rent, we are not proceeding with municipal taxation, and
that is dealt with in this bill. We are consulting with all of the communities,
and several of them are generally comfortable with the latest proposal, but it
is difficult to come to a national solution because of land value fluctuations
between townsites. We want a national approach and we are working
collaboratively with the local individuals to discuss issues of interest to
them. We hope to determine land rent that is affordable, fair and comparable.
Senator Adams: Part of my question was asked by Senator Kenny. I would like
to find out a bit more about the national park reserve that exists now. Can you
give me any idea of what a reserve means at one national park?
Mr. Amos: The national park reserve that is referred to in Mr. Latourelle's
paper is Pacific Rim National Park Reserve on the West Coast of Vancouver
Island. This national park was the subject of a federal-provincial agreement in
1970. There were several amendments to that agreement in the early 1970s. Since
then, Parks Canada has been managing the land as a national park.
Perhaps some of you have visited Pacific Rim. It is well known and it looks
to the visitor as if it is a national park. It is certainly managed that way.
However, it has never been brought under the National Parks Act. There have been
a series of issues over the years that needed to be resolved. I could go through
those if you wish.
The reason it is being proposed in this legislation as a national park
reserve is that those lands are subject to outstanding treaty negotiations of a
number of First Nations on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. Therefore, under
the proposed legislation it is proposed as a reserve, which would mean that it
would be managed under the act but without prejudice to the final outcome of the
land claim settlement.
Parks Canada is working with Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, the British
Columbia government and First Nations on those land claims. In a sense, it is
similar to national park reserves that were established in Nunavut at Auyuittuq,
for example, which stayed that way for some years. A national park was created
when the land claim was settled.
Senator Adams: Who will make decisions under Bill C-27? You talk about the
boundary and the town. If we allow people to live in the park and run
businesses, where is their boundary?
I live in Rankin Inlet. With a hamlet, at least you have control of up to 25
miles. That is a big area, and perhaps it is really too large for the
municipality or the community to control. I expect we will no longer have a
mayor in the park, or will they just be elected for the park and the community?
How much land will people who live and work there in the future have up to the
Mr. Amos: During the preparation of the park community plans, one of the
issues discussed is the boundary of each of the park communities. This is known
and is part of open discussion with residents in the park communities.
Some of the parks have year-round communities, like Banff, Jasper and Lake
Louise. Other parks have seasonal communities, where businesses and residents
come in just for the summer.
In every case, as the minister explained, we need some tools to control the
growth of the park communities and commercial development. One simple tool is
the identification of the parks' outer boundaries within which development can
occur. The two other factors in the bill are the commercial zones and the
maximum commercial square footage.
Senator Adams: In the past, this committee has visited places like Lake
Louise and Banff. We have heard the concerns of the mayors about setting maximum
population limits. Already we can see development pushed right up to the
boundaries of the parks. If business grows, where will all the staff live?
Mr. Latourelle: The community planning process addresses several issues, and
estimating population is one of them. Staff-housing needs is another issue. We
have already approved community plans for Banff and for Field, British Columbia.
That planning process identifies a maximum growth limit for commercial
operations. Then we look at the corresponding needs for staff housing. A hotel
would be permitted x-number of employees per room on average. Those types of
models help us to forecast staff housing. We first define the commercial
boundaries and the town site boundaries; then we ensure that appropriate staff
housing exists within the town site.
Senator Banks: I would like you to put some meat on some of the language
contained in "Unimpaired for Future Generations?", Volumes I and II,
Volume II in particular.
I have read the proposed act and the rationale behind it, which, I think it
is fair to say, is contained in this publication. I noted the lack of the word
"balance." As Senator Kenny said, everyone agrees that ecological
integrity is of primary importance in national parks. That is why we have
national parks. However, certain facts have existed historically and culturally
and, to some degree, those facts continue to exist in some of our national
If I were the proprietor of a legitimate, existing, tourist-oriented business
-- this relates in part to Senator Kenny's earlier reference -- I would be
concerned with some of the language I have read. Look, for example, at page 116,
which states that a park manager can maintain current levels or actively
intervene to restore a park's ecological condition.
Volume 1 of "Unimpaired for Future Generations?", at page 14,
states that Parks Canada is required in all its actions and decisions henceforth
to unequivocally protect ecological integrity. Please describe for me actions
that might be taken wherein Parks Canada would unequivocally protect ecological
integrity. Let me give you a hypothetical and exaggerated example.
Suppose that a hotel was built on Norquay Mountain and it was found, 20 years
later, inadvertently and unbeknownst to anyone, to be bumping into a flow of
aquifer. Suppose there are two solutions to this problem. First, we could tear
down the hotel and return the site to a pristine condition. The second
hypothetical solution would be to dig a tunnel underneath or around the hotel to
allow the flow to return to a state of ecological integrity.
To your knowledge, does the minister or Parks Canada contemplate a
circumstance in which the quoted decision would cover shutting down or removing
or downsizing any extant commercial undertaking that exists in the mountain
Mr. Latourelle: That is not a simple question.
Senator Banks: This is not a simple book, nor is this proposed act simple.
Some employers and residents of the parks have been there for a very long time
and they, too, want to maintain ecological integrity.
The term "ecological integrity" was once used to acknowledge the
ecological stresses caused by a human presence in the parks. Ecological
integrity was seen to exist when those human stresses operated so as not to
further damage the natural conditions in the park. The proposed act no longer
says that. The word "human" does not appear in our definition of
ecological integrity anymore.
Mr. Latourelle: The proposed legislation is clear that the first
consideration is ecological integrity. You are quoting from the panel report and
I will repeat some of statements made by the minister when that report was
released. For example, no new ski hills or golf courses will be permitted, but
there is no intention of removing historic uses, such as the existing golf
courses and ski hills. Those areas will be carefully managed to mitigate and
reduce their impacts.
Our management planning processes have significant public involvement and
consultation through which we will assess the future use of an asset in terms of
ecological integrity and appropriate mitigation measures.
Senator Cochrane: This proposed legislation will impose some severe
restrictions on commercial development. I understand you have had consultations
with people in these various park communities. What did they have to say about
this bill? Did they object to these new restrictions or did they agree with
Mr. Latourelle: I cannot speak on their behalf but I can speak of some of our
experiences for the plans that have been finalized and approved, for which
specific limits are established. For example, in terms of the Banff townsite,
the limits have been clearly established and the mayor of Banff at the House
committee confirmed that he was supportive of clear limits to growth. I cannot
quote him verbatim, but that is the message he gave at the House committee.
In terms of field committee plan, for example, that plan has been approved
and we had the full support of the advisory committee to establish the specific
limits. As we look at each community, we are working with those communities to
establish long-term limits to growth, taking into consideration that ecological
integrity is the first priority.
Senator Cochrane: I was on another committee yesterday, the aboriginal
affairs subcommittee. We had a witness there whose name was Kevin McNamee, who
is the Director of Wildlife Campaigns, Canadian Nature Federation. I am sure you
know of him. He said that the last three park establishment agreements,
including Sirmilik, were funded by taking money from existing national parks. To
fund Sirmilik, money may have been taken from Kejimkujuk or Gros Morne or
somewhere else, because there was no new money.
Could you tell me which parks were affected? Which parks had used up some of
that parks money to fund other new parks? Did these parks already have excess
money, and, if not, what areas within these existing parks were affected by
having to contribute to these new parks?
Mr. Latourelle: Specifically, we use an annual budget review within the Parks
Canada to look at the funding requirements. For example, as three new parks come
on stream, we would identify the funding requirements, look at the overall
budget of Parks Canada, and identify the areas of priority.
As part of the $107-million reduction, we have taken several steps. It is
within that overall amount that we have been able to fund the three new parks to
which you refer. I cannot identify specifically from which park the money has
come, but many of the reductions came from reductions to overhead, some through
reductions to our highways programs or capital rehabilitation programs, and
through user fees.
Senator Cochrane: Are you saying that these parks may have had excess money?
Mr. Latourelle: No. We have had to make very tough decisions within the
organization as to what are the clear areas of priority that would be funded
first, but we have had, unfortunately, to reduce some of our capital programs.
We now have a situation where we have a significant shortfall in terms of
Senator Cochrane: Has Parks Canada any intention to replenish this fund?
Mr. Latourelle: When the minister was here, she made some commitment in terms
of funding for new parks and sites. For example, I can quote her saying that we
will not meet our year 2000 target in terms of new parks establishment, because
in order for legislation for new parks to be implemented, it must be funded.
"If it is not funded, we do not proceed," was the message that the
Senator Christensen: Gentlemen, thank you for being here. I have two short
questions. Perhaps they are more observations than questions. As is Senator
Cochrane, I am involved with another committee, dealing with aboriginals and
economic development. This bill, of course, provides the legislative ability to
work with First Nations to develop their management abilities within national
From a financial perspective, is your department anticipating funding for
training, facilities and other things?
Mr. Amos: When the minister was before the committee, she did indicate that
she was working with her colleagues in cabinet to seek additional funding for
Parks Canada. One of the items she highlighted was the need to respond to the
recommendations of the panel on ecological integrity. That panel made a number
of specific recommendations about improving working relationships with
aboriginal people. The panel identified in their recommendations specific
funding that they felt Parks Canada should have to be better able to build
partnerships with aboriginal people, to foster cooperation and provide training
problems, interpretation programs, management and the like. Those
recommendations are in the public domain and the minister has made it clear that
she intends to pursue those through discussion with her cabinet colleagues,
including seeking additional funding for implementation.
Senator Christensen: Looking specifically at northern parks, which are very
large and isolated, and dealing again with the aboriginal portion of it, in
looking at economic development do you see anything in this bill that would
perhaps deter from that ability to be able to develop? They would have to be in
those areas. This puts caps on development and does not allow additional
Mr. Amos: The caps on commercial development are specifically related to the
seven parks communities in the existing parks in southern Canada. The caps on
commercial development have no specific reference to the northern parks. They
are clearly defined in relation to those park communities. The answer to your
question is: No, there are no impediments in this legislation to the kind of
cooperation that you are suggesting and that we are hoping for.
Senator Rossiter: Some years ago, an agreement was made between Parks Canada
and the Town of Banff, which now has a certain amount of autonomy, subject to
the land plans, which are more or less approved by the department. Is that
Mr. Latourelle: Yes, it is.
Senator Rossiter: Does Jasper as well have that under the present act, the
ability to enter into an agreement?
Mr. Latourelle: The present act provides the ability to enter into an
agreement, for example, for the delivery of community services by the community
in Jasper. It does not allow for the responsibility for land use planning and
development to be delegated to the community. That responsibility will remain
the minister's and Parks Canada's responsibility.
Senator Rossiter: So it is in the same situation as Banff was before this
agreement was signed in 1989; is it not?
Mr. Latourelle: That is correct.
Senator Rossiter: Why can Jasper not aspire to that?
Mr. Latourelle: When we look at the ecological integrity of our national
parks and the responsibility that we have to manage those national parks, we
felt that the responsibility for land use planning and development, as the areas
that have the most impact in terms of the ecological activity of the parks,
would remain within the responsibility of the federal government.
Senator Rossiter: So you are saying that Jasper would not have an opportunity
to ever enter into a similar agreement?
Mr. Latourelle: There is an important component respecting land use planning
and development and that is the role for community input into the processes. The
processes are led by Parks Canada.
I will take the community plan, for example. We have been consulting with the
community for about 18 months. The community provides us with their perspective
and we adjust our plans or consider their proposals as we are developing the
community plan in this specific case.
In terms of land use planning and development, they have an advisory role
that will continue. In terms of the provision of municipal services -- snow
removal and so on -- there is an opportunity to enter into an agreement with the
local community to deliver those services.
Senator Rossiter: Are there any other communities in that area that could be
eligible for agreements or aspire to be eligible for them?
Mr. Latourelle: As drafted currently, the act would allow for the minister to
enter into agreement.
Senator Rossiter: Yes, but are there any now? What are the other perspective
Mr. Latourelle: Currently, we have advisory committees, for example in terms
of land use planning and development, in all of our communities except Banff,
which has a different model.
Senator Rossiter: Why?
Mr. Latourelle: Because of the agreement that was put in place in 1990.
Senator Rossiter: What is the difference between the communities if one has
the ability to do these things but the others do not? That makes one community
higher on the scale -- and, consequently, it has more community involvement --
while the other is lower.
Mr. Latourelle: In terms of community involvement, all our park communities
are involved in an advisory capacity in terms of land use planning and
Senator Rossiter: I see.
Senator Taylor: Does this act forever preclude the Town of Jasper from
attaining self-government as is the case with the Town of Banff? In other words,
will Jasper have no hope of ever having the same type of self-government system
that the Town of Banff has?
Mr. Latourelle: That is correct. The act states clearly that the land use
planning and development function would remain the responsibility of the federal
Senator Buchanan: I have no criticism whatsoever of the national parks. I
wanted to be here to congratulate you on the work of Parks Canada in Nova
Scotia. This summer I cannot recall any criticism of the Cape Breton Highlands,
Louisbourg, Kejimkujik, and so on. All comments have been very positive.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Mr. Latourelle: I will pass your kind words on to the people on the ground
who deliver the services.
Senator Taylor: I have a question about ocean parks. Are ocean parks covered
under national marine conservation areas? Is that what we would call an
Mr. Amos: Yes. It is our intention to address the issue of national marine
conservation areas in the bill currently before the house, Bill C-8. There are
some vestigial remains of references to national marine parks in this
Senator Taylor: It will come under other legislation?
Mr. Amos: Yes.
Senator Taylor: As you did on the surface, you will be selecting underwater
Mr. Amos: That is correct.
Senator Taylor: In the budget you are talking about there is reference to
restoration of facilities. I am in the oil and mining business. Restoration
means that you go after the original owners to have them fill in the holes, grow
the trees, bring the buffalo back, and so on. Would that situation apply if
Parks Canada decided that a particular house, in Jasper or Banff, say, is in the
way of buffalo on their say to water or grizzlies on their way to the summer
blueberry patch? In other words, would Parks Canada say that the house should be
removed? Would that restoration clause apply to the people who currently own
that house so that not only would they lose their house but also they would have
to pay for the cost of removing it and restoring the land to its previous
Mr. Latourelle: I can give you a few examples where we have had to remove
some facilities. Mainly, they have been Parks Canada facilities. For example, we
had to remove a horse coral in Banff that was impeding a significant wildlife
Senator Taylor: You paid for it yourself, though. You did not ask the tenant
to do that.
Mr. Latourelle: Exactly.
Senator Taylor: You did not shorten the lease on them but waited until the
lease expired and then you paid your own costs. The act gives the impression
that the present occupier of that space could be forced to bear the cost of the
restoration. There is no intention of doing that?
Mr. Latourelle: No.
Senator Kenny: Mr. Latourelle or Mr. Amos, what was the essence of the Banff
Bow Valley Study? Can you tell the committee what it said about the pressures
being placed on Banff, both on the park and on the community?
Mr. Amos: The Banff Bow Valley Study indicated that there are significant
ecological pressures as a result of visitor use inside the park, certain actions
taken by management -- that is, facilities that we have put in place -- growing
numbers using the park, and implications of development outside the park. That
study led the government to conduct a broader study of the national parks system
as a whole, which was the genesis of the panel on ecological integrity.
Senator Kenny: The Banff Bow Valley Study indicated that if things keep on as
they are there at some point it will be gone forever. Is that right?
Mr. Amos: I am not sure if a specific time was put on it, but they certainly
indicated that there were serious troubles that needed to be addressed
immediately. The minister's main response to that was to quickly prepare a
revised management plan for Banff with a series of actions that we are currently
implementing, including removing a number of our own facilities, which Mr.
Senator Kenny: Parks Canada is adding some facilities, though. I notice that
a new house is being built beside the superintendent's house. Parks Canada is
adding as well as subtracting facilities. Having said that, I want to return to
the ski hills. What better way to take pressure off Banff -- and I am talking
about the park here -- than by removing Norquay, Louise and Sunshine?
Senator Banks: The ski hills?
Senator Kenny: Yes. Why are you so keen on letting those ski hills remain
Mr. Latourelle: We are not keen. I would not use the word "keen" in
reference to those ski hills remaining there. As I mentioned previously, the
minister made it clear in her response to the I panel that historical uses will
be respected but that we are working with the ski hill operators to ensure that
those operations are managed in an ecologically sensitive manner. For example,
the minister's perspective on existing golf courses and ski hills was quite
clear in her response to the panel.
Senator Kenny: Would you concede that if you removed the ski hills you would
take a lot of pressure off of the park?
Mr. Amos: Madam Chair, that question is, perhaps, too hypothetical for me to
answer. I need to go back to the minister's response to a similar question when
she was here before the committee. The minister was quite categorical on the
question of expropriating ski areas. When asked whether she was considering
that, she said no.
Senator Kenny: Her answer was very unsatisfactory. I wish she were back here
now so that I could put the question to her again. The scenario is this: There
are three second-rate ski hills in the park. None of them functions well. None
of them is comparable to Whistler or Blackcomb. The ski operators in there are
stuck. They cannot go forward and they cannot go backwards.
It seems to me to make perfect sense, if Parks Canada wants to expropriate
them, to pay them fair market value and let the land return to its natural
habitat. I understand that. On the other hand, the ski hills can be left to
continue operating. They could be allowed to stay in business, stay within the
footprint they are in, but in this scenario Parks Canada should stop harassing
them with little regulations, making it difficult for them to make a living.
Perhaps I am oversimplifying it, but I would like you to comment on why you do
not go one way or the other.
The Chairman: Senator Kenny, I think this is a policy question that is better
addressed to the minister.
Senator Kenny: I might have had a chance for an answer, if you had not jumped
The Chairman: I think you got your answer, but go ahead and try.
Mr. Amos: I think I have covered the perspective of the historical use. In
terms of the existing processes, we are in the process of finalizing the ski
area guidelines. Through this process, there has been extensive consultation.
Coming out of the process will be clear definitions of principles governing ski
areas in the future, principles that I think will allow for some stability or at
least some predictability as to what the policies are. That is being developed
through the ski area guidelines process.
Senator Kenny: Chairman, do we have the ski operators scheduled as witnesses?
The Chairman: No.
Senator Kenny: Have any requested to appear?
Mr. Michel Patrice, Clerk of the Committee: We have requests to appear.
Senator Kenny: Will we accommodate those requests?
The Chairman: Absolutely.
Senator Finnerty: Has the number of people participating in the park
facilities been decreased? My second question is this: Is there any provision to
increase user fees?
Mr. Latourelle: In answer to your first question, we have seen throughout the
system of national parks and national historic sites a consistent increase in
visitors on an annual basis. If I remember correctly, the number last year was
close to 26 million visitors to our national parks and national historic sites.
As to user fees and the amount of those fees, they have reached maturity. It
is the minister's prerogative to establish those fees, so she would be in the
best position to answer that question.
Senator Banks: I do not have the bill in front of me, but I believe I am
referring to clause 8(2) of the bill where the words "maintenance or
restoration" appear. Am I in the right place?
Mr. Amos: That is correct.
Senator Banks: Either of you may answer. In your understanding, is that
wording there for the purpose of, on the one hand, providing the minister
discretion to deal with those matters or, on the other hand, to place upon the
minister an obligation or a duty?
Mr. Amos: I would say the clause in general places an obligation on the
minister in its broadest context, clearly. The factors that are mentioned shall
be the first priority when considering all aspects of the management of parks.
In general, the clause is worded to set direction in the minister's decision
making. You are referring to the phrase "maintenance or restoration,"
Senator Banks: Yes.
Mr. Amos: There were significant discussions in the other place over the
wording of that part of the clause. There were some recommendations. The
existing act refers to maintenance; it does not include restoration. There were
discussions around whether the wording should be "maintenance and
restoration" or "maintenance or restoration." The bill, as you
can see, printed out of the House of Commons, refers to "or."
You are asking me for an interpretation of that. This is sort of a layman's
interpretation. The word "or" would seem, in an individual situation,
to give the minister the possibility of deciding whether restoration was an
appropriate activity in a certain circumstance. The word "and" would
seem to imply that both maintenance and restoration were always there. It could
be restoration in one case; it could be maintenance in another. As an example, a
restoration activity could be restoring a gravel pit. That is not maintaining
ecological integrity but rather putting it back, so that is a restoration
activity. Others could be addressing introduced or exotic species that have
found their way into the park, trying to eradicate those, or even the
reintroduction of species that have be extirpated from a park. That activity is
not technically maintaining the ecological integrity but is restoring it. In the
case of the pine martin in Gros Morne, for example, we are working hard with the
province to restore it to the park. That is our sense of what that means.
The Chairman: I thank you for your presentation, but before you go I wish to
put a question on the table. You may wish to provide a written response. My
question is not central to the bill; it has to do with the contravention of
section 21 of the National Parks General Regulations. I understand that that
section prohibits the use of personal watercraft or jet skis, and they are at
the moment permitted in Clear Lake, my area, in Riding Mountain Park. I would
like to know where else this regulation is being ignored. It would be
appreciated if you could send us information about the use of jet skis in parks.
Senator Taylor: They should be thankful they are not in charge of the Sydney
The Chairman: Our next witnesses will comprise a panel representing the
Jasper Town Committee and the Association for Mountain Parks Protection and
Enjoyment. Please present your brief. I know there will be many questions, so
please be brief.
Mr. Richard Ireland, Chairman, Jasper Town Committee: I have a prepared brief
that I trust has been distributed. I will abbreviate my remarks so that we can
get to the questions that are of interest to you rather than you just hearing
what is of particular interest to me.
I wish to give you a little background to start with. In your discussion with
Mr. Latourelle, he indicated that there is an advisory council in some of the
national parks community. In Jasper, there is such a council.
I am the chairman of an elected advisory council. Mr. Leggett, appearing with
me, is the vice-chair of that committee. We are elected individuals from the
community; we deal with Parks Canada on an advisory level only. On behalf of
that committee and the residents it is an honour to appear before this committee
and we thank you for the opportunity.
The first item I wish to draw your attention to is the Jasper Community
Vision Statement. That document is reproduced in total at page 5 of our brief.
The community voluntarily and without input from Parks Canada engineered the
vision statement. We were looking for direction within the community.
For years our unofficial motto has been "Not Another Banff," but
that did not sound like a very positive motto. Subsequently, we came up with our
own vision statement, about which we are very proud. It is a good reflection of
community attitudes. You will see that the superintendent of Parks Canada has
endorsed it. We understood that we shared a vision for the future of that
One of the reasons we are here today is that we fear that the proposed
legislation will not allow our vision to be achieved in some of its key aspects.
In particular, we are concerned about clauses 10 and 35 of Bill C-27.
A key element of our presentation is an excerpt -- which we have put in
italics, for easy reference -- from a document prepared by Parks Canada in 1994
called "Operational Review Number 29." That internal review document
was prepared by Parks Canada and addresses the operation of national park
communities. Reading from page 4 of that document:
Administratively and politically, the reliance on what is essentially park
management-related legislation has proven to be cumbersome, limiting in terms of
municipal requirements and, generally, far less satisfactory than provincial
legislation. The reliance, in some cases, on non-elected advisory groups
distances affected residents from effective decision-making.
These weaknesses in the present system, with few exceptions, result in
regulations used to administer communities (sign, building, development, etc.)
that are national in application, invariably out of date, and do no take into
account local conditions and circumstances. Moreover, they are costly to amend
through the Order-in-Council process and reaching national consensus prior to
change is frustrating, time consuming and, in some cases, impossible.
That was Parks Canada's own review of municipal administration in national
park communities, and we think they hit the nail right on the head.
Unfortunately, the proposed legislation does not address that problem and
further entrenches the weaknesses that have been identified.
Specifically, clause 35 of the proposed legislation does not include the
words "and Jasper." Section 8.1 of the existing National Parks Act
says that the minister could enter into agreements for the creation of local
government in Banff and Jasper. Clause 35 is silent as to Jasper.
Our concern is that, although clause 10 contemplates the minister entering
into agreements with local governments, it does not contemplate the
establishment of local government. We do not have a local government in Jasper.
Although the minister could, by virtue of clause 10, enter into an agreement
with a local government, we are not one and there is no provision in the bill to
We are not here looking to usurp Parks Canada's functions in any respect. We
recognize, accept and support all of the ecological things that Parks Canada is
trying to do, and we support the legislation as it relates to those aspects. Our
concern is that we could be more effective municipal managers thereby allowing
Parks Canada to concentrate on their primary mandate, which revolves around
ecology and not municipal administration. We are concerned that the proposed
legislation has missed that aspect.
We look to be allies with Parks Canada. We are not in combat here. If we had
some empowerment, we could look after municipal affairs. We think we could do it
effectively, accountably and in a manner with which Canadians across the country
It is not an issue of encroaching on any of the must-haves that Parks Canada
has indicated that it requires -- that is, land use development and
environmental concerns. We are quite prepared to agree that those are national
park matters and should remain that way. However, matters of purely local
concern ought to be handled at a local level.
I wish to recite an example of something that is frustrating in a community.
We required a rescue vehicle to complement our volunteer fire department, and
that requirement was recognized by Parks Canada. Some funding was found, a
rescue vehicle was requisitioned, but it did not fit in the fire hall because
some person in Ottawa did not know how big the fire hall was. Thus, we received
a rescue truck that has good equipment on it, like the Jaws of Life, but which
must be parked outside in winter, sometimes when it is 40 below zero. The Jaws
of Life is a hydraulic, mechanical item; it must be unloaded from the truck and
stored inside the building. When there is an emergency, someone must rush out
with the Jaws of Life, put it in the truck, hope the truck starts, and drive off
to the accident scene. It may seem like a minor matter, but it is a function of
the fact that local decisions are not made locally. It has little to do with
environmental matters or matters that are quite properly Parks Canada's concern.
What we are looking for in the proposed legislation is the recognition that
municipal government is a good idea and is achievable and workable within the
context of a national park. We are not asking for the legislation to identify or
define the exact limit of that municipal government, only to recognize that it
is desirable and achievable and to authorize it in some sense in the
legislation. We could then work with Parks Canada to define the model that will
work best in Jasper. We fear that the proposed legislation dismisses the idea of
municipal government entirely. We think that hurts the park and the town. That
is the only change we are looking for in the legislation.
Ms Julie Canning, Executive Director, Association for Mountain Parks
Protection and Enjoyment: Honourable senators, with me today is Mr. Brad Pierce,
past president of AMPPE, who has been with us since the organization's inception
six years ago.
AMPPE does not have $2.5 million with which to lobby. We also do not have a
voice at many of the fora where we should, as key stakeholders in our national
parks. That is why today's presentation to you is so vitally important to our
Our membership shows its voice through park user fees and active usage of the
parks by over 8 million people a year. We are Canadian citizens who are devoted
to ensuring that the future of our national parks includes people. All the
people who participate in recreational activities within our parks clearly
believe the same. They have voted on this issue and they vote every day with
Honourable senators, I am asking for your leadership. I am asking you to
please ask the questions that need to be asked, to question motivations,
including ours, and to clarify beyond a shadow of a doubt that Canadians have
the right to utilize our national parks for the purposes of education,
recreation and enjoyment. To members of this committee this request may seem
"basic" and "assumed." What I will present to you over the
next few minutes will prove to you that there they are anything but assumed and
are unconditionally in jeopardy.
The EI panel has made their objectives very clear. They have said:
We are firm in arguing that product marketing of national parks should end
and that the focus be placed on social marketing, policy marketing, and even
de-marketing of the parks.
What does this mean? I would refer the committee to an article in the
well-known magazine Marketing, which is entitled:
Please Don't Visit...Crowds and over development are hurting our national
parks. But what if Parks Canada were to try a little 'demarketing' to encourage
potential visitors to stay away?' Fellow Canadians and International
guests..."You're not welcome"...please stay away...
The article continues:
Recreational activities that are not inherently related to the nature of
national parks should be declared as not allowable in national parks...
What does this mean? "From rafters to skiers, from trail riders to
mountain bikers, and all of our members who are recreational users, you are not
welcome in our parks." That is what this says.
The article continues:
Facilities and activities that do not meet the criteria for appropriateness
should be discontinued...large-scale facilities that are deemed not allowable
and/or appropriate should be managed as "non-conforming"...If
non-conforming facilities become economically non-viable, no longer popular, or
are determined to have undue impacts on ecological integrity, Parks Canada
should take steps to permanently remove them from the parks.
For our membership, if they are deemed to be non-conforming, and if they have
a bad year, they are not only unwelcome in our parks, they are out of the parks.
Does this committee, do these recorded statements and does this legislation
really have to say that riding a mountain bike, or going canoeing, or going
downhill skiing, or ridding a toboggan, or staying at the Château Lake Louise
are "appropriate" activities"? Apparently, and very clearly, that
is something that has to be stated.
Where does human use fit into the context of ecological integrity and, more
important, the concept of restoration? The objective here is clear -- re-wild
the parks. I refer the committee to the graph from the EI panel's own report
which shows that at the pinnacle of the curve for restoration the benchmark is
large, isolated and uninhabited. That is the benchmark. There is no room for
people. A picture in this case is telling us 1,000 words.
What we are asking this committee is clear. First, the definition of
"ecological integrity" included in the legislation leaves no room for
humans. As illustrated, it will be used to permanently remove recreational and
tourist opportunities from the park. It is stated very clearly. We are asking
for the definition of "ecological integrity" to be amended to what it
was originally. I refer to the definition that was used in the Banff Bow Valley
report and the one that was accepted by Parks Canada.
Second, the legislation now states that the "maintenance or restoration
of ecological integrity" is the first priority. This raises the issue of
the removal of facilities and activities from the park at substantial cost to
Canadians. The prospect of this and its costs has not been discussed or debated
within the government, let alone the affected public. I live in Banff. We are
asking that the words "or restoration" be removed from this
At this time, we would also ask you for your support as senators in seeking a
place for visitors at the table in parks planning and policy deliberations.
Clearly, and specifically, the minister is hosting a number of round table
discussions and forums for the next few months at which a voice for visitors
must be added. Currently, it is not there.
What has been acknowledged time and again in all the study and research,
including the Banff Bow Valley study, the panel on ecological integrity, and by
the minister herself, is that we do not know enough about people and our parks.
Simply stated, we do not know enough about people in our parks. The interests of
visitors have been consistently under represented and underfunded in Parks
Canada's planning and policy-making process.
As stated by the new superintendent of Banff National Park, the biggest
challenge faced by our parks today is to ensure, while maintaining or restoring
ecological integrity in our parks, that we continue to provide high quality
experiences for our visitors. All we are asking you to do today is to give us
the tools to meet this challenge.
Senator Taylor: My question is addressed to Mr. Ireland who was in the room
earlier when we heard from witnesses from the parks department. I think I detect
a conflict. In asking about self-government, I was left with the impression that
there would be elected advisory committees from the area. However, you seem to
think that this bill goes even further and forbids the minister to have elected
bodies. I think there is a misinterpretation between the two. Personally, I do
not think it stops the minister from having such committees. On what basis do
you say that this bill precludes the minister from having an elected advisory
Mr. Ireland: The bill does not speak about not having an elected advisory
committee. We are an elected advisory committee. As I read the proposed
legislation, that is what we shall continue to be, that is, an advisory
committee. We do not consider that an advisory committee is a local government
-- it is an advisory committee. We acknowledge that we are elected. The
legislation contemplates that we will continue to be elected. However, that puts
us in the unusual situation of the elected people advising the administrative
people. Thus, there would be no proper accountability in the management of the
community. As was mentioned earlier in the discussion, it is sort of like the
Boston Tea Party all over again.
Senator Taylor: I am a little troubled. School boards are elected. They do
not have any taxation rights. As you know, in Alberta, those funds go into a
foundation plan. I am not so sure that taxation rights have to be an element of
an elected body. Do you feel that they have to be tied together? If you do not
have the right to tax, you are not a government.
Mr. Ireland: It is more than just a right to tax. It seems to me that
governance is about setting policy. We cannot set policy. The clear
contemplation of the bill is that we shall not set policy. We might be able to
advise on policy set by parks or policy as interpreted or administered by Parks
Canada. However, we are not a government and will not be a government in the
sense that we can set any policy, even with respect to purely local concerns.
Clearly, that is the indication in the bill.
Senator Taylor: I have been involved in municipal government which are
creations of the provincial government, and they have at times dismissed school
boards and councils.
The idea of elected municipal government in the parks is no worse than an
elected municipal government anywhere. If you have an elected body that will
make the capital expenditures in any event, perhaps you are complaining
Mr. Ireland: With respect to taxation, over the last several years of
discussion with Parks Canada our proposals have been that we as a community
would be happy to tax and spend for municipal outlays, like all other Canadian
communities. We recognize that as a responsibility that should be ours. It
should also be our duty, and we are prepared to take that on. Parks Canada
prefers not to have that, and you heard discussion earlier about the fact that
they have removed these taxation provisions, but the truth is that we still
spend the money. We give them the money. They spend it on services for us. They
do not call it taxation, but it sure looks like taxation to us. They take our
money and spend it on services. We wish to have local control over our spending
in order make sure that we get such things as a rescue truck that actually fits
in the fire hall.
These are not issues that go to Parks Canada's primary function as a resource
and an ecological protector. We are not looking to go that route. However, we
would certainly like to have some local accountability and we believe that
requires more than an advisory role. It requires some sort of local government
body, properly restricted, so that we do not stray into areas where we do not
belong and do not wish to go.
Senator Taylor: I still think you are worrying too much.
Ms Canning, with so many people wanting to visit our parks -- you say that
they enjoy it and I am sure they do -- your concern is related to the Parks
Canada statement that their primary concern is ecological integrity. What do you
think about quotas or permits to use the parks?
Ms Canning: On the whole discussion around permits and quotas on park
visitors, I would again refer to the fact that we do not understand the
implications and the impact of people in our parks. What is an acceptable
number? Who determines that? If you look at the attached graph, you will see
that the benchmark being set is for an isolated community up North where no one
goes. Our concern relates to the quality of the science used to make those
decisions, and this has been recognized by almost every decision-making group
that has addressed the issue. It then comes down to who has the most money to
influence the decision-making process on the establishment of benchmarks.
Senator Adams: Mr. Ireland, how long have you been living in the park?
Mr. Ireland: I was born in the park.
Senator Adams: I asked the people from the department about the boundaries.
It sounds like even if you have elected people you will have no authority to
make decisions. That is my concern about the passing of Bill C-27. If you and
your family wish to live there, you will have no more authority to live there,
you will have to move to another place. It looks to me as though Bill C-27 says
that to the people in the park.
I live in a big territory. I do not mind if others are there. Even before the
creation of Tuktut Nogait Park I believed that land should be set aside for the
caribou herds. They may not show up there this year or the next, but that space
is there for them.
I understand that there is a major concern about mammals in Jasper, Lake
Louise and Sunshine. Just as eagles fly to look for fish in another river,
mammals move too. I live on the land and I like to hunt, but people who visit
our parks are not there to hunt, so there is no danger to the animals in the
You talked spending and buying a rescue truck that would fit into your fire
hall. People in the North were faced with similar situations, but now changes
are being made and people in our communities are finally being heard. If Bill
C-27 passes through the Senate and receives Royal Assent, even if you have
elected members you will have no control if the municipal boundaries are already
Parks Canada officials told us that staff housing will be built, but if
people are not encouraged to visit the parks, there will be no future for the
people who want to live there. How do you feel about that?
Mr. Ireland: I appreciate the question and it seems almost as if you read the
brief that I did not read. I am here because Jasper is my home. It is Mr.
Leggett's home, and it is home to 5,000 of our fellow residents. We love the
place, and we want it protected and preserved. The vision statement outlines how
we want to preserve it, but we need tools to do that.
I was born there, and my wife was born there. My children are fourth
generation Jasperites and my family has a long attachment to the area. We do not
want to ruin the park and we want to ensure it is not ruined by outside forces.
However, we need some municipal tools to help get the job done. I give credit to
Parks Canada. We are not here to disparage Parks Canada, but I believe they have
different concerns. They have park management concerns.
You refer, for instance, to legislated boundaries for the community. We are
not opposed to that. We understand what that means to us and the constraint it
puts on us, but it is a constraint that we accept because we understand that for
a national park community there will be constraints; and that is acceptable.
However, within that physical boundary there are many things that ought to be
done to improve the quality of life for the residents, and in a way that is
consistent with national park values and objectives. We are not trying to run
away from that, we are attempting to face it square on, but it is home for us
and we would like to be able to manage and maintain the park. This legislation,
as we see it, does not permit us to do that.
Senator Adams: In the future, more people may want to develop businesses in
the parks. You have the facilities necessary for that right now. If Bill C-27
passes, no additional facilities or upgrading of facilities will happen in the
future, but you will have more tourism.
Mr. Ireland: We recognize that there must be limits to growth. We disagree
with the way in which Parks Canada is approaching the matter. We think that
their notion of growth management is target based rather than principle based.
In other words, we say that there ought to be limits to growth in a national
park community, but that they should work at it from a different perspective. We
think that we should decide what the residential carrying capacity of this
community ought to be. We should look at our physical boundaries and consider
densities that make people comfortable within those boundaries and, based on
those sorts of principles, determine how much residential accommodation we have
room for. That translates to some amount of commercial build-out. When you have
used up all the room for people, there is no point building anything more.
The problem that we see with the approach Parks Canada has taken to the
community plan, and in particular to the development scenario, is that they have
picked a number and said that there can be so many thousand square feet of new
commercial development. That is a target that developers will work to achieve,
but how do we accommodate the people? We want to start at the other end, because
we have social concerns that are not factored into the ministerial directions
set forth in the proposed legislation.
The minister said that the community plan will deal with these matters. We
argued long and hard and eventually, and somewhat ironically, an amendment was
made in the other place to say that "community plan" now means a land
use plan, because we had said that a community plan is much more than a land use
plan and much more than setting commercial zones.
We think that Parks Canada heard that and acknowledged that there are social
and other aspects to community planning that the community ought to look after.
That is great, but now we need some municipal authority and some tools to do
that job. Ironically, they are not in the legislation.
Senator Finnerty: Are you saying that, with the vast number of visitors going
into the park, you have no control over accommodation for them? Are you saying
you cannot allow people to have access to bed and breakfasts, hotels or parking?
You have no authority in those areas.
Mr. Ireland: We cannot allow or disallow anything. There are Parks Canada
regulations, policies and guidelines at lots of levels that determine what ought
to happen. Whether they actually do happen is another matter. "Private home
accommodation," as it is called in Jasper, is people renting rooms in their
homes to tourists. We have about 300 licensed rooms and at least an equal number
of unlicensed rooms. However, Parks Canada has no management tool for that
either. In order to enforce a regulation that deals with an infringement of a
zoning matter, they can only take away a person's lease. If that were to go to
court, I do not think there is a judge in the province who would take away
someone's home because they rented a room to a tourist. Parks Canada only has
one giant hammer to deal with everything, and that is removal of a lease.
We think that with access to typical municipal legislation we, as a
community, could take some interim steps. We could fine people, for instance, as
they do in other communities. However, that ability exists on neither a local
nor a national level.
Senator Rossiter: Mr. Ireland, you have already answered very well some of
the questions I had.
I have a question for Ms Canning. You state in your paper:
...we also don't have a voice many times in the forums we should as key
stakeholders in our national parks - that is why today's presentation to you is
so vitally important to our membership A membership that shows its voice through
park user fees, active park usage...
Do you get funding from park fees, or what does that mean?
Ms Canning: No, we are not funded by any park user fees. In fact, our members
are actively sought after. We represent organizations such as mountain bikers'
associations. These people use the parks every day. The 8 million people who
actually come in and out of the doors of the national parks are utilizing the
parks for a number of different activities. Every person who attends a ski hill
in a national park, every person who goes for a mountain bike ride or for a
trek, is participating in recreational activities and, short of AMPE, there is
no voice for them. We are trying to represent those groups that have always and
continue to be under-represented and underfunded. We have been successful in
bringing a number of them together.
Senator Rossiter: Are you funded by them?
Ms Canning: Yes. That is right.
Senator Kenny: Mr. Ireland, would you be good enough to provide the committee
with the amendment or amendments that you think you need to achieve your ends?
Mr. Ireland: Are you speaking of a word-for-word proposed amendment?
Senator Kenny: Yes, although not right now. You can send it to us by mail.
Mr. Ireland: Yes, we will do that.
Senator Kenny: Ms Canning, tell me more about who you represent. I heard
about bikers and hikers and skiers. How many of them are actually members of
Ms Canning: I will refer this question to Mr. Pierce who has been with the
association for a number of years. He can give you a more succinct answer to
Mr. Brad J. Pierce, Past President, Association for Mountain Parks Protection
and Enjoyment: A number of different associations are part of our group. We have
no fixed numbers. Operators within the parks are also our members. We decided a
long time ago that that was a mug's game. There are all sorts of associations
that are associations of associations that claim to represent 16,000 members, or
whatever. Our association is a like organization. I do not think that is
appropriate or interest based. Our membership represents a broad range of
recreational users, operators within the parks, and other people like myself who
have no interest other than wanting our parks to continue to be accessible to
Senator Kenny: What operators are members of your association?
Mr. Pierce: Our bylaws provide for different categories of operators and
users within the parks. Our bylaws allow board membership from different groups:
some from transportation providers, some from tour operators, some from users'
associations, and some from general citizens. It is defined fairly clearly in
our bylaws, which I would be happy to provide to the committee.
Senator Kenny: Is Brewster on your board?
Mr. Pierce: We have the general manager of The Icefields Parkway, who is an
employee of Brewster.
Senator Kenny: Are any of the Château hotels on your board?
Mr. Pierce: A member of CP is on our board as well, yes.
Senator Kenny: Are any of the ski hills on your board?
Mr. Pierce: We do have a representative of the skiing industry from Ski
Senator Kenny: Do you have merchants from along Banff Avenue?
Mr. Pierce: Yes, members of the restaurant and bar association are members of
Senator Kenny: It sounded at first as though your members were bikers, hikers
and skiers. Are they bikers, hikers and skiers? If so, how many bikers, hikers
and skiers have paid their dues, or is this really an organization on behalf of
the business interests in the community?
Mr. Pierce: It is both, sir. We have members of the Calgary ski club on our
board. We have recreational users and citizens at large on our board. We do not
necessarily have all operators on our board. It is fairly clearly defined in our
bylaws, so it is both. It is difficult to say how that coalition came together.
I would not mind having a chamber also sitting here, but there is not one. They
are all people who are looking for a more reasoned and balanced approach to our
Senator Banks: My supplementary question follows on Senator Taylor's
question, Mr. Ireland. On a scale of one to ten, how happy, or how less unhappy,
would you be if you were funded to provide the municipal services, such as snow
clearance, parking and fire, and if you had the discretion and authority as to
how to spend that money and where to spend that money and tendering for it?
Notwithstanding that you did not have taxation authority, if the money fell down
from on high and you had the discretion as to how to achieve the ends, would
that allay some of your concerns? Would that go some distance toward where you
would like to be?
Mr. Ireland: It might get us talking. I am not sure it would get us agreeing.
Senator Banks: How happy would you be if that were to happen?
Mr. Ireland: That sounds hypothetical.
Senator Banks: It is hypothetical.
Mr. Ireland: It sounds like something that has been hypothesized before. The
arrangement of which you speak is external funding directed by the community.
Senator Banks: Just to be clear: you would not be advisory but would be
determining how the money is to be spent.
Mr. Ireland: I hate to appear to be ducking the question, but the concern is
to what extent the community or group, whatever it is that has some discretion,
would be a contractor, then, with an allowance, and to what extent Canada would
actually set policy and decide into what avenues the spending should go. If you
get so much for snow removal and you can decide how many times you plough the
street, that is one thing. If you get another infusion of cash and get to decide
generally how it gets spent, whether it gets spent on subsidizing local daycare
or anything else that might come up as a community need, that is something else.
I would really need some further particulars on what parameters were placed upon
the local board.
Senator Banks: Let me come at the question from another direction. There is a
thing in Alberta called an improvement district, which is something shy of a
town or village. It is not municipal, but it exists. Members of the town
advisory council are also members of the improvement district council.
Mr. Ireland: Correct.
Senator Banks: Does the improvement district now have responsibilities in the
social fields like recreational services and community services and libraries
and things like that?
Mr. Ireland: Yes. I will not get into a bunch of history, but, while the
improvement district is an unusual bird in Alberta, it does exist. We have one.
It has taken up some of the slack, because through regionalization we have lost
what used to be our local school board and our local hospital board. As an
improvement district, we have six specific functions. One is culture and
recreation, so we operate a swimming pool and an arena complex. We fund the
library, although we do not run it, and the same applies to the museum. We
administratively assist the operation of something called FCSS, which is Family
and Community Social Services. We do not run it, but money is channelled through
the improvement district. We look after a number of parks, so there are
children's playgrounds and the ball diamond. Those are the functions of the
improvement district, and they are specifically limited by provincial
legislation. There is a provincial order in council that says that the Jasper
improvement district can do those six things.
Senator Banks: That would also apply under any municipal act, but the limits
Mr. Ireland: Under a municipal government act, an incorporated municipality
can do anything.
Senator Banks: Yes. Well, not quite, but I understand what you mean.
Ms Canning, I shall be argumentative for the purpose of straightening out my
perception. I am worried about the argument you made in which you said you do
not know what the impact of people in national parks might be. Now, if I am
undertaking an action such as throwing a liquid onto a fire, and if I do not
know what that liquid is, and if I do not know what is going to happen, then I
will err on the side of caution.
I am worried about your argument. If we do not know what the impact of people
is on the park, my first reaction would be, "Well, then, do not let anyone
go in the park until we know." It would not be, "Well, then, let us
open the floodgates and put as many people as we possibly can in and find out
what happens." I am worried about the nature of your argument leading to a
conclusion that you would not be happy with. Do you have an answer?
Ms Canning: We do not know. A great example is throwing that liquid on the
fire. If it is gasoline, it will have one reaction; if it is water, it will have
a completely different reaction. When we look at the impact of people within our
parks and look at responsible human use, the question is what is an acceptable
stress on ecological integrity that would allow for human use. There is no
agreement on that. That is where we get into this big discussion about what is
an appropriate use and what is an inappropriate use. Someone could very possibly
come forward and say that downhill skiing is not an appropriate use of our
national parks; therefore, it is deemed an inappropriate activity in our
national parks, and according to the EI studies we should move to close all
The quality of our science where these two thing cross over is "best
understanding." Where the stresses of human use actually begin to affect
ecological integrity, what are acceptable uses or stresses within that equation
of ecological integrity? Those are the things that we cannot quantify. A perfect
example of that is an upcoming debate on what are appropriate uses. How is
ecological integrity still intact with human use? Our concern is that you are
taking that liquid and throwing it on the fire of restoring our national parks,
and instead of it being water it is gasoline.
Mr. Pierce: No carrying capacity studies have been done on our most visited
parks, unlike perhaps in the United States. All the advisory panels to the
minister have consistently pointed out that we do not know enough about how many
humans use our parks or can use our parks in any way. All we know is what the
science says, which is that in many cases there is a problem with ecological
integrity in some parts of our park. There have been no comprehensive social or
economic studies to say what the impact of people is, because all the money has
been spent on the biosciences side. That is where we have a fundamental problem;
we need to fill that knowledge gap in some fashion. I know Parks Canada is
challenged in its resources, but we cannot be making decisions with only one
side of the equation being understood.
Senator Cochrane: Mr. Ireland, do you have park officials in your park?
Mr. Ireland: Yes.
Senator Cochrane: Do you have park officials who have some authority in your
Mr. Ireland: Authority for some things, surely.
Senator Cochrane: Does your group have communication with these park
Mr. Ireland: Yes, we have regularly scheduled monthly meetings with the
superintendent and someone who is now an acting town site manager, and typically
there is another park person there as well.
Senator Cochrane: It just seems to me that some of the issues, like the Jaws
of Life machine that you mentioned, are sort of common sense issues. If you and
your park officials have these meetings, would you not tell them a specific size
of this machine and how you would find a place to put it and so on?
Mr. Ireland: That specific issue was not brought to the town committee. As an
advisory body, the town committee responds to requests for advice from the
superintendent; when we are asked to provide advice on a matter, we do. However,
unless we are asked specifically, we sometimes do not know what is going on.
Occasionally, perhaps more than occasionally, we offer advice on things that
concern us, whether or not they concern the superintendent, but if there are
matters going on internally in Parks Canada and we are not asked for advice,
then we do not know that we should be commenting. We do not know what is
happening, so we cannot comment.
Senator Cochrane: Would you say there is a lack of communication here?
Mr. Ireland: Yes and no. I do not deny that there is ongoing communication,
but sometimes there are gaps in the system.
Senator Cochrane: We have some Parks Canada officials here, and I am sure
they are listening, so maybe some of these things can be cleared up.
Mr. Ireland: I give full credit to the Parks Canada officials for their
efforts. I certainly agree with the comments of Senator Buchanan earlier. I have
grown up in the parks. I love parks. I think the officials are doing a really
good job, but I think that they are underfunded, that they do not have nearly
the equipment or the tools that they need. Certainly in respect to municipal
management, they do not have any tools. It is just not a federal matter. It has
always been a provincial matter, and if we could get some access to provincial
tools, municipal tools, then I think we could help relieve some of the pressure
on Parks Canada. I would love to do that. I would like to see Parks Canada, as
Mr. Pierce said, spend some time looking at the social impacts of visitation in
the national parks and not just the biodiversity aspects, but they need money to
do that and they need some tools, and if we could help out by taking some of the
burden and worrying about our local concerns, I would love to do that and I
think everyone would benefit.
Senator Cochrane: I listened intently to what Ms Canning had to say. When we
are talking about parks, we are talking about national parks. The parks in Banff
and Jasper are quite different from parks in other parts of the country, but a
parks bill will have to represent all of Canada's parks. I think that is
probably one of the problems.
Ms Canning, I come from Newfoundland, and in my province we have Gros Morne
National Park. If you were to put up a sign that said, "Please do not
visit" or "You are not welcome" or "Please stay away,"
I have to tell you I would not be very happy, and neither would the people of my
province. I know you are referring to recreational activities, but we are still
talking about national parks. We probably have some of the problems you refer to
regarding recreational activities, but I think you are a bit strong here.
Ms Canning: Senator, you are from Newfoundland?
Senator Cochrane: Yes.
Ms Canning: I lived in Newfoundland for six years. I have been to Gros Morne.
I have been to Prince Edward Island. My family is from Prince Edward Island. I
understand what you are saying. I also understand very clearly that this is a
national policy affecting all parks. Do we not think that Green Gables House or
Gros Morne or Cavendish or the parks all over this country are affected when an
article goes out in a North American publication mentioning the de-marketing?
That is not our article. Our suppliers got phone calls about that article;
people are asking what is going on. I know of the tourists who visit Green
Gables House every single year. They buy the hats with the braids and go to see
Lucy, and it is fabulous. Many people make their living now from that and I
wonder what they are going to say when they pick up that magazine that says that
Parks Canada is going to start de-marketing the parks. As you said, this is a
national policy, and it affects everyone. It is not a mountain parks issue. I
hear you and I agree.
The Chairman: I want to correct something. I do not believe that Green Gables
is a national park.
Ms Canning: Sorry, it is a national site.
The Chairman: Thank you for appearing.
Honourable senators, our next witnesses are from the Canadian Parks and
Wilderness Society. Welcome, Mr. Hazell. Please proceed.
Mr. Stephen Hazell, Executive Director and General Counsel, Canadian Parks
and Wilderness Society: Madam Chair, honourable senators, I wish to do three
things this evening, all of which are quite short. First, I should like to
explain a bit about what CPAWS does. Second, I wish to talk a bit about the bill
and why we think it should be passed by the Senate, unamended and without delay.
Third, I wish to address briefly the question of national parks funding, which I
understand was at least one of the reasons for the genesis of this bill.
The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society was founded in 1963 in response to
a plea from the minister of the day for a citizens' group that could actually
speak up for national parks. CPAWS is Canada's grassroots voice for wilderness.
We have about 20,000 members across Canada. They include hikers, skiers,
mountain bikers, and people who do not visit parks but who love the fact that
they are there. Thus we represent individual Canadians across the country. We
also have 10 chapters across the country. They do much of our education and
conservation work. We have hundreds of active volunteers.
CPAWS focuses on educating Canadians about the importance of wilderness and
nature, establishing new parks, and making sure the needs of nature come first
in their management. CPAWS has contributed to the protection of over 100 million
acres of Canada's wild places.
The current conservation programs at CPAWS fall under three leading streams,
as we call them. Great Ecosystems is a program intended to establish
interconnected networks of protected wild areas linked by functional wild
habitat across some of Canada's greatest ecosystems. Perhaps you are familiar
with the Yellowstone to Yukon initiative. Ecological Integrity of Parks is the
second leading theme, and it is, I suppose, why we are here this evening. CPAWS
campaigns to better protect wilderness park ecosystems by ensuring that the
needs of nature come first in parks management. Under the third stream, called
Healing Nature, we continue to protect ecologically representative and unique
sites and to "rewild" -- an important word -- habitat areas. I refer
here to grasslands, remnant forests and wetlands. Very few of the original
grasslands on the prairies are left.
Bill C-27 is the legislative follow-up to commitments made by the Minister of
Canadian Heritage and the Secretary of State for Parks in June of 1998. CPAWS
takes the view that these commitments should be delivered as soon as possible,
given that the federal legislative process has already been lengthy.
CPAWS was pleased to assist in the development of Bill C-27. We suggested a
number of amendments in the House of Commons. We support the amendments to Bill
C-27 that were made in the House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian
Heritage. I might run through a few that we believe are quite important.
The so-called ecological integrity clause makes ecological integrity the
first priority of the minister when considering all aspects of the management of
parks. I had the opportunity to review the definition of ecological integrity
and found no reference to humans whatsoever. I see no basis for the idea that
somehow this particular definition of ecological integrity in the bill excludes
Senator Banks: You mean as it is stated.
Mr. Hazell: Yes. A second important amendment is one that requires that new
park management plans be tabled in Parliament. We think that that is a good
amendment. Also, and actually part of the same subclause, there is the
requirement for park management plans to contain a long-term ecological vision
for the park, a set of ecological integrity objectives and indicators. Another
amendment we support is the requirement for the minister to recommend the
designation of a wilderness area within one year of such an area being
identified in new or amended park management plans. Finally, we support the cap
on new development in existing park communities.
CPAWS thinks that this bill will be a law that every Canadian should be proud
of. Bill C-27 will establish the Canadian national parks system as a world
leader in the effort to maintain and protect ecological integrity on the planet
at a time when all the trends are in the opposite direction.
We think that Bill C-27 is a strong bill. It is a good bill. Although not all
of the amendments that we wanted have been included in the legislation, the
imperative to enact the bill is now so great that it should move forward now so
that implementation of its provisions can proceed. CPAWS strongly supports Bill
C-27 in its current form without further changes. The bill reflects the policy
direction of the Panel on the Ecological Integrity of Canada's National Parks
and the strong commitment made by the Minister of Canadian Heritage to implement
the panel's recommendations. In the 20 years that I have lived in Ottawa I have
never seen a minister state so unequivocally that she will implement all of a
panel's recommendations. That was an absolutely tremendous day for national
parks. CPAWS therefore requests that this committee recommend that the Senate
pass Bill C-27 without amendment and without delay.
The third item I want to touch on is the question of funding. In that regard,
I wish to bring to the attention of honourable senators an initiative that CPAWS
is involved with. It is called the Green Budget Coalition, and the coalition
includes such diverse groups as Ducks Unlimited, World Wildlife Fund and
Greenpeace -- a very broad constituency. For the past year and a half or so,
beginning with the last budget cycle, the Green Budget Coalition has been
pushing for a budget that is truly green, one that would include not only new
spending on environmental matters but also cuts to programs that are
Last year, the Green Budget Coalition was successful in achieving a
substantial stewardship program for species at risk. We are continuing that work
this year. I am pleased to say that this coalition has made funding for national
parks one of its top priorities. The priorities that we are advancing are very
much in line with the recommendations of the Panel on the Ecological Integrity
of Canada's National Parks. They include money to create new national parks. I
believe the figure mentioned was $185 million. There is a recommended
expenditure of $328 million to fund the recommendations of the EI panel and to
reverse the decline in park ecosystems through concerted actions. On this
particular point there is a desperate need for scientific research about park
ecosystems and about the wildlife that lives in parks.
I should like to tell you a very short story about the Cheviot open pit coal
mine. As some of you may know, that mine has been through two sets of panel
reviews. After the first set of hearings, the panel made the statement that
there would be no harm to grizzly bears that live in the park. This was shown to
be false by a subsequent Parks Canada study. My point is that they did not even
know what the impact of that open pit coal mine was going to be on the grizzly
bears of Jasper National Park. That particular site is prime grizzly habitat.
My point is that the basic scientific research on perhaps the most
charismatic of the large mammals that we have left is incomplete. We do not know
anything about them. CPAWS believes that scientific research on the biology of
wildlife and ecosystems needs to be strengthened tremendously. Once we figure
out what the carrying capacity of parks is for grizzly bear populations, then
perhaps we can talk about the carrying capacity of other large mammals as well.
However, parks are supposed to remain unimpaired for future generations. The
only way to know that that will happen is to do the basic biological research.
That research has fallen badly over the years as a result of budget cuts, with
which we are all familiar.
The final area where funding is required -- we have suggested $250 million --
is a new, independent foundation to support innovative partnerships on lands
outside national parks. This is important because the boundaries of parks have
too often been treated as sacrosanct, whereas we all know that ecosystems
transcend those boundaries. We have suggested a foundation that would work to
try to bridge that gap in order that we might look at the greater park
ecosystems as a whole and provide funding to initiatives that are occurring
outside parks that could bring together local communities. The town of Hinton,
for example, has this great resort to help them take better advantage of the
fact that they have the park right next door and to support ecological integrity
initiatives which can also be of economic benefit.
Those are the three planks of the Green Budget Coalition's efforts as it
pertains to national parks. I put forward those suggestions for your
The Chairman: Before I go to questions, could you briefly remind members of
the committee what the categories of parks are? Are there four wilderness
Mr. Hazell: Are you talking about the categories within the parks?
The Chairman: No, I understood that there are four different categories of
parks, which relates to their use by human beings.
Mr. Hazell: Perhaps I heard someone mention IUCN categories that have been
established. I thought there were more than four, though. The IUCN, the World
Conservation Union, has established roughly 10 categories with different
increments relating to human use. Towards the upper end, those would be
wilderness protection with no commercial or industrial tourism.
Senator Adams: You have been here for 20 years. Were you born in Ottawa?
Mr. Hazell: I was born in Toronto, actually. I grew up in Toronto. I have
spent time all over the country, much time in the Purcell Mountains of
southeastern B.C. I have lived all over the country.
Senator Adams: How much do you know about parks? You say you have 20,000
Mr. Hazell: That is right.
Senator Adams: How much do you make in fees per year?
Mr. Hazell: Our membership revenue is approximately $500,000 or $600,000.
Senator Adams: Did I understand you to say that you have been hired by Parks
Canada to do a study of how parks should be run?
Mr. Hazell: I am not aware of any contracts that have been let by Parks
Canada to CPAWS, but I should say that I have been with the organization for
only the past five months.
Senator Adams: I thought you said that you have been working in the field for
Mr. Hazell: I have lived in Ottawa for 20 years. In a previous life I was a
consultant, based in Ottawa, and in that capacity I did environmental policy
work in the Caribbean and southern Africa as well as work in Canada. Prior to
that I was an official with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, and I
was responsible for bringing in the regulations relating to the Canadian
Environmental Assessment Act. Prior to that I was the executive director of the
Canadian Arctic Resources Committee. Before that I was with the Canadian
Wildlife Federation for five years. That is pretty much my professional history.
Senator Adams: That is why I am asking. You live most of the time in Toronto
and you have been here for 20 years. You are telling me about the wilderness,
when most of my time is spent hunting and living out of doors. I understand what
animals do. How much would you learn about grizzly bears living in Toronto? That
is my question.
Mr. Hazell: I have a master's degree in biology and I have spent a
significant amount of time in wilderness areas across the country as well.
Senator Adams: Those of us who live in the community need some kind of
economy. We are told that the hunting of certain species should not be allowed.
We have been protecting it. We know the species. Sometimes I do not like people
who live in Ottawa telling me what to do.
Mr. Hazell: That is not how CPAWS works. A strong feature of what we do is
working with local communities. I will give you a good example of something that
just happened. Our Northwest Territories chapter has been working closely with
northern communities to establish a national historic park in the Great Bear
Lake area. We have been working closely with them. The community wanted this
national historic park and we have been helping them to achieve that.
Senator Adams: You tell me you have lived here for 20 years and were raised
in Toronto. Some of the people I work with have been up there in the territory.
I dislike it when some people tell us that there should be no amendments in the
The Chairman: Senator Adams, the witness is expressing the opinion of an
organization. It is your right to disagree with it, but do not abuse him.
Senator Adams: Madam Chairman, that is what we are here for. I do not want
the witnesses to tell us what to do.
The Chairman: I do not think that is the case, but please continue.
Senator Adams: I have finished my questions.
Senator Kenny: Mr. Hazell, how often does legislation relating to parks come
Mr. Hazell: I believe the last piece of legislation came before Parliament in
1988. The original act was passed in 1937.
Senator Kenny: Since we do not often have a crack at parks legislation, why
should we pass a bill that creates new parks before we have a bill showing
adequate funding for the existing parks?
The Chairman: Before you respond, Mr. Hazell, I wish to introduce Mr. Locke
and welcome him to the table.
Mr. Harvey Locke, Vice-President, Conservation, Canadian Parks and Wilderness
Society: Senator, I believe your question ties funding to the question of
reviewing the act. We see those two activities as distinct but obviously
related. This act was up for review in 1988 and is again now. The act has been
in the public sphere for debate for some time. The policy direction of this
particular bill was announced in June 1998.
We have much scrutiny at the public level. The Panel on the Ecological
Integrity of Canada's National Parks toured the country, taking input from
Canadians from coast to coast. This issue has been mooted in the media very
heavily for a long time. I remember addressing this Senate committee in Banff in
1995 as it was considering national parks issues. A very thoughtful committee
report was issued thereafter.
Coming forward to today, we feel a great sense of urgency to get this bill
passed in the year 2000. The environmental community has a perception, solidly
backed by science, that we live in a time of rapid environmental change and
degradation. This bill addresses those fundamental problems well, and every
Canadian can be proud of this piece of legislation. We will truly be setting an
example to the world by passing this bill.
I am excited about that. I do a lot of public speaking in the United States
and they have nothing that can compare to this bill. Yes, we have a funding
problem. George Bush said the other day during his campaign for the U.S.
presidency that parks issues should not progress until funding problems are
resolved. Sure, we need to fix the funding problems, but we do not need to hold
up this bill to do that. We should pass it promptly. We urge this committee to
pass the bill as it is because we think it is awfully good. Could it be better?
Yes, it could perhaps be a tiny bit better, but it is a great bill, a
Senator Kenny: Mr. Locke, I think the funding stinks. Earlier witnesses
described that there has been no change in funding since our 1995 visit to
Banff. We do not get a crack at the department very often on parks, but we have
a crack now. The committee has some leverage now. We can sit here and say it is
fine for ministers to notch their belts by creating new parks -- we have seen
many ministers do that -- but where is the funding? When will we get it? If we
do not ask for it now, will you have a plan to get it? Can you show us how to
get that funding?
Mr. Locke: Our perception is that money is a means to an end and not an end
in itself. Until this bill is passed, with the new direction included here, we
do not think the money is important. The report of the Panel on the Ecological
Integrity of Canada's National Parks, which I did not author but which I think
is very strong, states that we need to change direction. We are not doing an
adequate job. We need to realign and we need funding that will speak to the
issues within this bill.
It is not a question of dumping a truckload of money. We must build a
foundation for a parks system as we move forward. The essential edifice is this
bill. Once we have this rock-solid edifice in place, we can add money to address
the problems of declining ecological integrity, accelerated new park creation,
and the need to beef up science capacity. I see the stages set out in that way.
I agree with the government's priority to pass this bill first. We are
putting a lot of energy into the next budget. We believe the next budget should
include a significant appropriation for parks. Parks Canada's basic operating
budget has been starved and must be increased. Separate funds must be made
available for measures that protect ecological integrity in parks. There is a
deep and abiding problem, but the solutions must be built on the solid
foundation of this bill. Without this bill, more money will not matter, to be
Senator Kenny: Let us talk practical politics. The last parks act revision
was 12 years ago. We may need to wait another 12 years to have this leverage
again. In reality, those members on the government side in the other place must
vote for the budget, no matter what is in it. They cannot pick and choose. They
cannot amend it. They cannot fiddle with it. It is a confidence measure that
could precipitate an election sooner than planned. The budget comes forwards and
the members take whatever is offered.
Here we have something the government is anxious to see passed. We want some
assurance of increased funding. There is room for accommodation here, but not if
we rubber-stamp it as you suggest.
Mr. Hazell: Senator, in the course of doing this Green Budget Coalition work,
we met with a number of senior officials in government, including policy
advisors in the Prime Minister's Office and the Assistant Deputy Minister of
Finance, who is in charge of this file. We have been delighted at the responses
received. Obviously they cannot promise anything, but they are listening very
We are getting meetings all over town, whereas last year we had a lot of
trouble getting meetings. We have met with people from Industry Canada,
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, all over the place. No one knows how things
will actually pan out. All sorts of factors are at play. I am as confident as I
can possibly be that there will be substantial new funding for parks this year;
whether it is in ways that CPAWS would wish, who knows?
Senator Kenny: Do we need ski hills in Banff National Park? Can we do without
Norquay, Sunshine and Lake Louise?
Mr. Locke: If the world were a tabula rasa and we could start over again, we
would probably not build them. Is it important today to decommission those
hills, eliminate them and move on with other necessary business?
Senator Kenny: Should we "rewild" them? I believe that is the term
Mr. Locke: I am not advocating rewilding. "Rewilding" is a term
that perhaps needs some definition. It means having all elements in the
landscape, including carnivores. It is a technical term that comes from the
writings of Dr. Michael Soule and Dr. Reed Noss, with which I am quite familiar.
Some people have decided the term means "four legs good, two legs
bad" and that all people should leave. That is not what it means. It means
all the elements of nature are in place. Rewilding implies top-down regulation
that includes arch carnivores like wolves and bears, which are necessary to
ecosystem structure. The term does not imply exclusion of all human activity.
Senator Kenny: My question is about ski hills. Are you in favour of them or
Mr. Locke: For a long time, it has been our policy to accept the presence of
the ski hills in Jasper and Banff. We do not want to see them expanded. We have
had that policy for at least the 20 years that I have been involved in this
Senator Kenny: So the ski hills should stay?
Mr. Locke: Yes, sir, and this bill says that.
Senator Kenny: Are you in favour of them improving their facilities?
Mr. Locke: I am not in favour of improving facilities if that is a euphemism
for expansion. We did not object in the past to upgrading from an outmoded,
slow, two-seater chairlift. I am conversant with the hills and I enjoy downhill
skiing myself. We did not object to replacing the Ptarmigan ski lift at Lake
Louise with a four-seater lift. That was fine with us.
We have a grave problem with plans to build new hotels or housing on ski
hills. We object to any plan to expand the ski hill boundaries. We object to
lifting the agreed caps on skier visits. Those caps have been in place for a
long time. We have a big problem with the Norquay ski hill trying to go back on
the deal negotiated 14 years ago, which said that they would have no summer use.
We were part of that. The agreement there was that they would not operate in the
summer if they were allowed to expand and surrender part of the area. They did
that, and now they want to change the rules. We fully support this bill staying
with the legislated boundaries and saying no expansion of the ski hills. We
would urge that the Sunshine boundary be legislated. That has been outstanding
since the last time this bill came up. However, we do not advocate the removal
of the ski hills. It is a funny thing to me to hear that that is attributed to
Senator Kenny: I did not attribute anything to you. I asked you what your
Mr. Locke: I just want to have the record clear. We have never said it. We do
not advocate it. We accept them, but we sure do not want them expanded.
Senator Kenny: Do you agree that you have three second-class ski hills
compared to what exists in the rest of North America?
Mr. Locke: Absolutely not. I am a very avid downhill skier. I have skied many
of the world's most famous ski hills. I have been skiing all my life. My
grandfather was on the trip that established the Sunshine ski hill. I absolutely
reject this strange notion, which is certainly not in the marketing materials
but seems to appear only in the House of Commons or the Senate, that these are
second-rate hills. In fact, I read with great interest this winter the
Banff/Lake Louise Chamber of Commerce proudly touting the fact that the
Banff/Lake Louise ski hills were named the best in the world.
Senator Kenny: What else would you expect them to say?
Mr. Locke: It was either the Observer or The Sunday Times in London that
named them the best ski hills in the world. That does not come to me as a
second-class ski experience. What they offer, which is distinctive and which is
their natural strength, is a chance to ski in a setting that is not covered with
condominiums and parking lots. They are different from other ski experiences
available, and as someone who has skied this winter, not only at Whistler and
Big Sky but also at Banff, I can tell you that these are first-class ski hills,
by any standard. I have skied Val d'Isère, I have skied Chamonix. I lived on a
European ski hill for a year. The Banff/Lake Louise ski hills are not
second-rate hills. In fact, they are very successful, and I believe, sir, the
last three years have been their best ever commercially. There have been loads
of visitors from Britain, and from talking to them I know those people loved the
It is only when it comes to trying to justify more development that the
argument that those ski hills are second-rate comes up. They are not
second-rate. They are first-rate.
The committee may know I now live in Boston. I am on an assignment for three
years. Across the street from my office in Boston is the American Express travel
office. I went there to pick up ski travel brochures for the world from them,
and in every case, the Banff/Lake Louise ski hills are considered world-class
and rated highly. You can go to a travel agency in Ottawa and find that the
people packaging and marketing ski promotions for those ski hills describe them
as first-rate and world-class and outstanding places to go to have a unique ski
experience. The ski magazines have said the same thing over the last five years,
that these are exceptional places. So it is very bizarre to me to hear the
arguments that they are second-rate because we do not allow them to have
overnight accommodation. That is just not the case.
Senator Kenny: They have overnight accommodation and it is lousy.
Mr. Locke: There is only one ski hill that has any overnight accommodation,
and that is Sunshine, which has a 70-room hotel.
Senator Kenny: Have you spent the night there?
Mr. Locke: Many times.
Senator Kenny: Do you like it?
Mr. Locke: Not the way it is run now, but if you ski at Chamonix, which is
one of the world's most famous ski hills, you find that the hotels are not at
the bottom of the hill. They are a short distance from the hill. At Lake Louise,
the hotels are two miles from the hill. The Château Lake Louise, which most
people do not describe as a crummy hotel, is three miles away. That is very
similar to the experience at Chamonix. You do not just get on the lifts without
taking vehicle rides. At a few American resorts you can ski right to your door.
You can do that in some places in Europe, too. However, for much of the best
skiing in the world, you often move around a little to get to the most
interesting terrain. That is just how the business works.
As a consumer of ski products who has more experience than many people in
this area and who talks to people who ski in those places, I can tell you that
the Banff/Lake Louise ski hills are considered first-rate places.
Senator Kenny: As a last question, Madam Chair, could we have the amendments
that this group presented to the Commons that were not accepted, please?
The Chairman: Do you have them with you?
Mr. Locke: I have the brief that we tabled in the Commons.
The Chairman: Does it contain the amendments?
Mr. Locke: It contains what we proposed as amendments. I am afraid I only
have the one copy.
The Chairman: We will copy it and give it back to you.
Mr. Locke: I might say that we were pretty happy that a large portion of what
we suggested was adopted by the Commons.
Senator Taylor: It bothers me a little bit that the CPAWS membership is made
up largely of hikers and skiers and so on.
Mr. Hazell: Canadians from all walks of life.
Senator Taylor: You are talking about putting a freeze on tourism, and yet,
as you know, the population keeps expanding. I am having a little trouble
reconciling your positions -- your argument that there should be a freeze on
tourism and, at the same time, your claim that you have all these users. What is
the idea behind that? Is it to try to shove them out of the park and for some of
the other areas to take up the slack?
Mr. Locke: No. The idea is to ensure that when people come, they have a
quality experience related to nature, not related to tourism primarily. The
Americans have had a development freeze in place for a very long time in their
national parks. The best example of this is in Yellowstone Park. They replaced a
hotel in the last couple of years and they replaced exactly the same building in
exactly the same footprint with not a single room more. Yellowstone and Yosemite
and the Great Smokey Mountains and the Grand Canyon parks are the most heavily
visited parks in the United States. Great Smokey Mountains gets twice the
visitation of Banff, just to give you an idea of how busy that park is. All
those four parks combined contain, in aggregate, less commercial development
than Banff National Park alone contains, by a significant margin. That is the
world we are in. Banff National Park is far too heavily developed already. That
is why we are so strongly of the view that a freeze is in order. Banff is the
most heavily developed national park in North America. It does not need more.
Senator Taylor: Let me move on to an another thing. One of the clauses spoke
of restoration. That could concern someone sitting there with, say, a home, a
hotel or a bowling alley. That person would be concerned that their building
might be torn down to provide for rewilding the area. I am having a little
trouble reconciling your idea of freezing development and then telling people
that they should be going to other areas. Obviously, if they increase the
population, they have to go to other areas. Would that clause not frighten you a
bit if you were a business or property owner? With the pressure for ecological
integrity and with freezing development, if you swing the pendulum just a little
more, you could have de-development -- in other words, going back to nature. Was
that clause recommended by your group?
Mr. Locke: We like the restoration clause because there are two studies --
the Banff Bow Valley Study and the Panel on the Ecological Integrity of Canada's
National Parks -- that indicate a large amount of damage to our parks. We are
losing nature in our national parks and we need to turn that around. That is why
we like the word "restoration." There are no property owners in our
national parks; there are only lessees.
Senator Taylor: There are business owners but only property lessees.
Mr. Locke: If I were a lessee I would be comfortable with this bill because I
am protected by the Expropriation Act. The bill states that community plans will
be tabled. There is no suggestion -- with the exception of the rundown Pinewoods
Hotel -- in the community plans that people will be taken off the landscape in
those towns. With respect to the Pinewoods Hotel, which is at the end of Banff
Avenue, the suggestion is to get rid of it and build something that relates to
or involves national parks, rather than build a gas station and a parking lot,
and I totally support that.
If there is no restoration we will continue to witness nature leaving our
national parks. We will lose species. We are on a downward spiral. The polls
indicate that Canadians want nature in their national parks. The parks are part
of the landscape that belongs to nature, and people want to go there and
experience healthy nature and enrich their lives by the experience. People want
to know, when they sit in Toronto or Yellowknife, that there are places where
nature is protected and that this society has the humility to protect nature. We
must restore the parks, but I do not see that as something that should cause
anyone any fear. The only fear I have, which I believe is shared by a majority
of Canadians, is that right now we are doing a bad job of saving nature in our
national parks. We must turn it around.
Senator Taylor: I am a bit concerned about justice. This is a case where the
90-pound weakling has grown up into an Olympic champion. In other words, the
people who are for nature and for ecological integrity far outnumber and far
out-finance the people who are in the parks.
Mr. Locke: I would love to have that economic debate. I will open my books if
you get all those businesses in Banff to open their books, and we will see how
even those files are.
Senator Taylor: I can see why, with the population growth, our national parks
must be based on ecological integrity, but I am concerned about a government
that is responding to getting votes in Toronto and Montreal. I am worried about
putting in the hands of a government that depends on seats in Toronto and
Montreal the right to do what they want in the national parks. Is there enough
protection? You are a lawyer; you have defended people like that. Is there
enough protection in there, or are we giving a green light to some high-handed
Mr. Locke: We are not giving a green light to any high-handed practice. In
fact, our biggest problem is that we have had a green light to high-handed
development practice in the last 20 years.
Senator Taylor: I am not talking about vengeance; I am talking about what we
do from this point on.
Mr. Locke: I am not talking about vengeance either, Senator Taylor. As you
know, I am a fifth generation southern Albertan; my great great grandparents are
buried in the Bow Valley, my great grandparents are buried in Banff, and my
mother was the first person born at Lake Louise that anyone knows about. I do
not feel that I am an easterner telling people what to do in Banff Park.
It is not a case of those dirty eastern people telling us what to do in
Alberta. I have a survey by the Angus Reid Group from August 2000 on the views
of Albertans concerning development in national parks. According to the survey,
in the debate over conservation versus recreational development in Alberta's
four national parks, Alberta residents heavily endorse protection of wilderness
areas. When asked to choose between two alternative roles for national parks,
fully 65 per cent indicate that national parks should be about
"conservation and preservation of the natural environment for future
generations," compared to 22 per cent who maintain that national parks
should be about promoting tourism and showcasing beautiful scenery now and in
The Chairman: Could you table that document?
Mr. Locke: I am happy to table this document. I believe it is very
illuminating, because there has been this false suggestion that limiting
development is being imposed by evil people in the east, when it is very popular
domestic policy in Alberta. In fact, the Banff story is a great story, Senator
Taylor. You may remember the controversy over the town boundaries for Banff. The
town council was opposed to having development reduced. The unanimous position
of the current town council is support of the decision that the minister made
about the size of the town. They ran on that ticket and were elected by people
in Banff on that ticket. That is the people inside the park.
People do not want development whether they live inside or outside the parks,
with the exception of a small handful of people, and that polling shows you it
is approximately 12 per cent. I am interested to hear about the power dynamics
where that poor put-upon 12 per cent, like Canadian Pacific or the various
people who generate some of the $750 million in revenue at Banff every year, are
the Davids in a Goliath-like context with our organization. I find that an
interesting spin, with our budget of $2.5 million for 20,000 members. There is
no contest. We do not have the resources that some businesses generate annually
in profit in order to operate our program across the country, let alone in Banff
The work I do on this issue of Banff Park has been as a volunteer. I financed
it out of my law practice. I did not make a dime on all the work I did. I was
not getting paid anything when I testified at your committee hearing in Banff
five years ago. I did it because I love my national parks. I love Banff Park. It
is the home of my ancestors and for me that is sacred ground that we absolutely
must protect, and we have gone too far. I do not feel like a Goliath in that
Senator Buchanan: I feel that I am a bystander here. I am a good listener and
I am very concerned about the problems that you have with the national parks in
the West. We have no problems with our national parks in the Atlantic region. In
fact, we have not even been mentioned here, except by myself and Senator
Cochrane, who mentioned Newfoundland. I mentioned Nova Scotia. It is interesting
to note that all of the problems talked about here are basically in Alberta.
That shows that we in the Atlantic provinces are always the leaders in what
could be termed good government.
Senator Taylor: Look what you did to the fish.
Senator Buchanan: I am glad you mentioned that. We did not do it to the fish;
the federal Department of Fisheries did it to the fish.
Also, Senator Adams and I know all about the seals. We have over 10,000 seals
around Sable Island.
I find it interesting to sit here and listen to all of the people who say
more recreational facilities, no recreational facilities, preservation of
nature. Do you know that we probably have the only true wilderness national park
in Canada? It is called Kejimkujik. Many of the senators have been there. Its
provincial extension is its marine section.
In addition to that, we have another park that no one has mentioned here,
where nature is as nature is and was hundreds of years ago. I refer to the Cape
Breton Highlands National Park in Victoria County. We do not need to say that we
must preserve nature; it is preserved. Nature is basically the same as it was
100 years ago. It is a true national historic and wilderness park, along with
If you wish to see how it is done properly, come to Nova Scotia. You have
talked about these chapters. Do you have chapter-driven groups in Nova Scotia?
Mr. Locke: Yes. We have a chapter in Halifax.
Senator Buchanan: The only historic park in Halifax is Citadel Hill, and it
is not wilderness. Citadel Hill is also one of the number one national historic
Mr. Locke: Louisbourg probably is number one.
Senator Buchanan: Louisbourg and Halifax, yes.
Mr. Locke: I did not tell you that my forebears, before they came west, were
in the Windsor, Nova Scotia, area.
I wish to comment on the restoration line that comes out of Senator Taylor's
question, which is directly relevant to national parks, particularly in New
Brunswick at Fundy. Fundy has lost three species since its establishment. There
is a good study on how Fundy's ecological integrity is declining notwithstanding
that it has been protected for that time. It is happening because we have not
addressed processes and made sure that all the species that belong in the system
are protected. The amendment to the key clause on ecological integrity, which
refers to maintenance or restoration, is targeted at a place like Fundy to make
it healthier and better because it is such a wonderful place. It is very
important to Maritime parks.
Senator Buchanan: Do you agree with what I said about Nova Scotia parks?
Mr. Locke: Cape Breton Highlands is certainly a fine example of a great
national park in Canada.
Senator Banks: I have been in the Senate for only a short while. I always
thought, until today, that governments created legislation, but I read in your
brief that CPAWS plays a leading role in the passage and reform of conservation
legislation. I am delighted to hear that.
Mr. Locke: Governments do it, but we urge it.
Senator Banks: Earlier you talked about Banff being overdeveloped, and I
think that, quite aside from the statistics and comparisons that you talked
about, Banff is certainly as developed as anyone wants. Does CPAWS have an
opinion on the question of municipal self-government in park communities?
Mr. Locke: We think that self-government for park communities is a bad idea.
In Banff we witnessed the town vote itself the potential to expand. Currently
they will be allowed 350,000 square feet. Their land use bylaw originally
allowed for 2.5 million more square feet, and it was external pressure that
caused them to bring it down. I believe in the final analysis they voted
themselves 850,000 square feet and the federal government imposed 350,000 square
feet. During all that time, one person, who was deputy mayor of Banff at one
point, said that the federal government has no authority to do anything in Banff
because we have this self-government deal. That was completely wrong and
completely inconsistent with the incorporation agreement, which I have read.
Nevertheless, it became this de facto flag that was run up the pole and it was
trumpeted that now we are local and the federal government has no legitimate
role in the management of national parks. It was absurd, but that is what
Some people in Jasper are complaining that they will "lose their
entitlement." They have never used that entitlement. They have had it since
1988. My understanding is that, when they had a plebiscite on the issue, the
people of Jasper voted against the proposal. It has been taken away, and well it
should be. It was a privilege that lasted for 10 years and it should not have
been given at all. The history of our parks is not that they should be
autonomous communities; they have always been about national parks and always
should be run and directed by the national parks service or Parks Canada.
Senator Banks: Earlier you said that you want people who go to the parks to
have a nature experience, not a tourism experience. Are those two things
Mr. Locke: No, sometimes they overlap. If the experience of coming to a
national park is about the facility rather than about nature, then it is not a
nature experience. For example, if you came to Banff to go shopping and you did
not go out and look at the park but you went to Banff Avenue because you were
interested in a handbag and a Rolex watch, then you would not have a
nature-based experience. You can go shopping at West Edmonton Mall.
If you came to Banff or Jasper or any other park and incidentally used the
support services that are there and stayed in a luxury hotel, in my opinion that
would still be a nature-based experience. However, in the last 20 years we have
seen the pernicious development of things that are attractions in and of
themselves for tourism, by tourism and about tourism, not as supports to
experiencing the parks. That is what we must stop, and the best example of that
is the shopping mall that calls itself "Banff's Great Indoors."
Senator Banks: Can you give another example?
Mr. Locke: I am not a big fan of convention centres that bring in General
Motors to have a meeting about car parts. Why are they doing that in a national
Senator Banks: They want a nature experience.
Mr. Locke: No, they do not; they want a business experience and they want
that experience in a luxurious setting. They can do that at Château Montebello
or in St. Andrews. They do not need to do it in Banff National Park.
Senator Banks: That is true; however, you would be hard pressed to find
someone who flew to Banff from Japan because they thought they would get a good
deal on a Rolex watch.
Mr. Locke: I think the Japanese always come for a nature-based experience. I
do not think that they are part of the category that I am speaking about. I
believe the Germans come for nature, the English come for nature, and most
Canadians come for nature. It is a small group that comes for something else. It
is not about ethnicity or origins. In fact, if you look at where people come
from and you look at the user surveys of the park, you see that every category
shows that nature is what they want.
Senator Banks: CPAWS must have many opinions about this, because you have
obviously done a great deal of thinking about the issue. What kinds of human
uses existing in the park at the present time are not appropriate? Are there
recreational uses that now exist that should not be there?
Mr. Locke: We are not doing badly on the appropriateness of recreation use.
It is getting better. I will give an example of one that was banned 20 years
ago. The snowmobile was banned 20 years ago. That is an example of an
inappropriate recreational use. I believe Waterton Lakes National Park has
banned jet skis. That is an appropriate banning of an inappropriate recreational
use. Those are good decisions.
Again, people come to parks to experience nature, to have some sense of
solitude, peace and quiet, and to see wildlife. Those inappropriate recreational
uses are contrary to such things existing. The chair lift at Lake Louise, which
is euphemistically called the Lake Louise gondola, is a good example of an
inappropriate use. It has not actually been running for many years because it
was mothballed a long time ago, and they changed their operation and moved it up
the hill, where they are causing big problems for bears. That attraction was
designed to draw people to the chair lift and the shopping facilities. It is not
an adjunct to nature; it is marketed as an attraction.
I will differentiate that from another ski hill that, incidentally, has
nature-based facilities. At the Sunshine ski hill there is a reason to go
hiking. The place has exceptional hiking. We do not oppose some summer use at
Sunshine because hiking is a legitimate summer recreational activity in that
area since nature is laid out for that. If you were a park visitor you would
enjoy that experience, as I did this summer.
On the other hand, if you go to the Lake Louise facility for summer use, you
go there to use their chair lift, period. It is about the chair lift; the
experience is focused on the chair lift and is designed to generate off-season
revenue. It is not an experience focused on nature. That is an inappropriate
use. The ski hill can be a ski hill, because we have decided we have ski hills.
Ski hills run in the winter; they do not run in the summer.
Senator Banks: What is your view on the operation of a chalet at Maligne
Mr. Locke: The Maligne Lake chalet is not an overnight facility, and that is
a very good thing. It is a facility many people use. It could be improved. The
biggest issue around winter use in Maligne Lake is the caribou range there.
Whether it should it be running in the winter is a good question. Perhaps it
should not, because the caribou need to use that valley. In the summer it is
okay. It is mostly a summer facility and it was developed as such.
There are serious issues around caribou in Maligne Valley in the winter. The
caribou are in real trouble. The mountain caribou that use our national parks
are in very serious trouble, and that is not so much because of the way we are
running our parks as it is because of what is going on around them. The caribou
in Alberta are in serious trouble generally; therefore, we must be very careful.
Senator Banks: Caribou as distinct from elk.
Mr. Locke: The elk are not doing badly. In some cases the elk are a problem
because they get away from carnivores. That is why we need to ensure good
carnivore habitat to keep the elk honest.
Senator Banks: I know that all generalizations are wrong by definition, but
would it be fair to say that, in the main, CPAWS is saying in effect that we
must stop expanding tourist facilities, the various footprints that exist, and
we must run what is there more appropriately, but we do not want to start
tearing down hotels and pylons for ski lifts? Is that a fair characterization?
Mr. Locke: In the main, that is our position. We are very adamant that the
Banff airstrip be removed, because it was right in the way of the functioning of
the valley. We think much can be done with retrofitting and improvement. You
have it right: our position is that we should not make it bigger and we should
fix what we have done wrong.
Senator Banks: If I were a business owner in Banff operating reasonably and
responsibly, would I have anything to fear from CPAWS?
Mr. Locke: No, you would have nothing to fear and lots to profit from,
because if the park is healthy your visitors will be happier.
The Chairman: I recall that when we did our swing through the western parks
there was a huge problem at Waterton, but not just there, and that was the park
surroundings. At the time, we suggested easements for the ranchers. I am not
sure it has to do with this bill -- I do not think there is anything in this
bill for that purpose -- but could you give us some idea of what you have been
doing in terms of the areas adjacent to the parks? It is a big problem, for
example, at Riding Mountain National Park in Manitoba. Can you tell me whether
things have improved since then, and what improvement there has been since this
committee visited that area?
Mr. Locke: There is a bit of good news from around Waterton Lakes National
Park, in an area they call the Waterton Front, which is the area where the
grasslands meet the mountains. It is one of the most beautiful places in our
country. Many ranchers have done conservation easements on their land with the
nature conservancy. I actually had the privilege of representing 45 of those
ranchers in a hearing a few years ago. They retained me when I was still
practising law to help them prevent a big resort subdivision from going in what
they called the Waterton Homestead Campground. My clients were basically
everyone in the neighbourhood except the person who wanted to build the resort.
The ranchers around there really love that park and they are trying to manage
their land to keep it intact. It is actually a pretty good news story. However,
there is a large amount of work to be done on the other side of the Waterton
Park, in the Flathead drainage where logging continues, and work needs to be
done there. I am working hard on that issue.
The Chairman: If I recall, many of those ranchers used to be outside of
Calgary and left because it got too urban.
Mr. Locke: Some of those ranchers are from Millarville, which is an area
southwest of Calgary that has been transformed into acreages. The land values
have gone through the roof, and the acreages have become untenable to ranch
because Calgary has become such a big city and Millarville is a beautiful area.
Some of them moved down there to have big intact pieces of land that they could
ranch, and they liked the intactness. I am actually pretty encouraged that that
is an example.
To swing back to the question of money, we need more money in the parks
system to deal with such questions, and we need a pot of money in the parks
system to deal with issues around the parks so that we can invest in easements
and that sort of thing.
Mr. Hazell: The specific agenda item that we are pushing here in Ottawa is
the idea of an independent foundation that could do this ecological restoration
adjacent to national parks to facilitate in all sorts of ways what Parks Canada
cannot accomplish on its own or what governments generally cannot accomplish on
their own. It must be a community-based thing -- an initiative of people who
want to protect the ecological integrity of that area close to the park.
The Chairman: Is there any other tax or fiscal financial legislation that
might help the situation?
Mr. Locke: You could do a couple of things. You could make conservation
easement donations much more attractive. Some progress was made in the last
The Chairman: Do you have any information on that?
Mr. Locke: I would defer to the Nature Conservancy of Canada. They have
worked on this thoroughly, and they have a very thoughtful position document.
They have evaluated what the tax system can do to help the question of voluntary
The Chairman: Do you have any further comments?
Mr. Locke: Five years ago this committee came to Banff and issued a very
thoughtful report. The bill in front of you is a reflection of what you
suggested in your report. I cannot tell you how important it is to us that this
bill happen be passed quickly. It has been a long time coming. Bill C-27 is the
best piece of such legislation anywhere in the world that I know of, and I pay
attention to these things. Sure, we can improve the fiscal position and
everything else, but on behalf of our 20,000 members we implore you to pass the
The Chairman: We hear you. Thank you so much for coming.
Our next agenda item is the clause-by-clause consideration of Bill S-20.
Before I start into the clause by clause, I think we would be remiss if we did
not congratulate Senator Kenny for what I think is a virtuoso performance.
Senator Kenny: Madam Chair, I take issue with that. It was a team effort and
a very impressive effort.
The Chairman: I was going to conclude by saying that it is our privilege to
be associated with this bill. Let us get on with the job here.
Senator Kenny: Thank you; that is very kind. It was a team effort that
extends to this committee and beyond to many others who have helped.
The Chairman: Yes, that I do know.
The committee agrees to move to clause-by-clause consideration.
Honourable senators, is it agreed that the title stand?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chairman: Honourable senators, is it agreed that the preamble stand?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chairman: Honourable senators, is it agreed that clause 1 stand?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chairman: Honourable senators, is it agreed that clauses 2 to 5 carry?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chairman: Honourable senators, is it agreed that clauses 6 to 26 carry?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chairman: Honourable senators, is it agreed that clauses 27 to 33 carry?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chairman: Honourable senators, is it agreed that clauses 34 to 42 carry?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chairman: Honourable senators, is it agreed that clauses 43 to 46 carry?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chairman: Honourable senators, is it agreed that clause 1 carry?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chairman: Honourable senators, is it agreed that the preamble carry?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chairman: Honourable senators, is it agreed that the title carry?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chairman: Honourable senators, is it agreed that the bill carry?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chairman: Honourable senators, is it agreed that I report this bill as
adopted to the Senate?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The committee adjourned.