January 27, 2012
The Right Hon. Stephen Harper, P.C., B.A., M.A.
House of Commons Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6
Dear Mr. Harper:
On behalf of the National Council of Women of Canada (NCWC), which represents over one third of a million Canadians, may I express our dismay that a section of Jasper National Park is at significant risk of extensive damage and privatization, if the travel company Brewster Canada is allowed to blast a 300-metre metal walkway into its UNESCO World Heritage Site mountains.
NCWC has a long-standing interest and involvement in the creation and protection of Canada’s National Parks. Over many years, we have developed policy on both the establishment of National Parks, in order to protect vast areas of “natural resources and wildlife” (1923), and their “protection from commercial exploitation” (1926). And, in 1928, NCWC asked the Government of Canada to create “two national parks in each province”.
In 1969, NCWC asked for immediate government action to “create national parks in significant localities”, with particular emphasis on the “creation of a national park in the Pacific Tidal Flats area; and, that these parks be of sufficient size to preserve the integrity and viability of their natural state and that outside the boundaries of the park.” And later, in 1983, NCWC drew attention to the fact that the Pacific Rim Park was yet to be legally established, even though it had been agreed upon by the Provincial and Federal Governments in 1970. Then in 1992, NCWC urged the Government of Canada to “proceed without delay to produce targets, timetables and maps of areas to be protected as per the 12% by 2000” campaign, and integrate the ecological impact of development and use into all parks systems.
It was in part due to NCWC’s early efforts that the government of the day set up its National Parks system, to preserve them for future generations of Canadians. In 2005, this was one of the reasons the national Historic Sites and Monuments Board declared NCWC to be “of National historic significance” and placed a tree and “a commemorative plaque in the Allan Gardens in Toronto, where, on October 27th, 1893, 1500 women met in the Horticultural Pavilion to form the National Council of Women of Canada”.
NCWC is appreciative of government plans to add five more Marine parks to the system under the Marine Conservation Areas Act. However, it remains extremely important to our many members that existing National Parks be protected from damaging projects such as those being promoted by private interests in the mountains of Jasper Park.
NCWC, therefore, respectfully requests that the Federal Government refuse this project, and any other requests for privatization within Jasper National Park. Privatizing Jasper Park puts all of our National Parks at risk of ecological damage and privatization. It does not benefit the millions of visitors each year who visit, study, and admire the priceless beauty of this natural wonder. And most of all, It does not support the National Parks system’s mandate of long-term protection of species and their habitat.
National Council of Women of Canada
Cc: The Hon. Peter Kent, Minister of Environment
Nycole Turmel, Leader of the Official Opposition Bob Rae, Leader of the Liberal Party
Greg Fenton, Parks Canada Superintendent