Rouge National Urban Park Act

An Act respecting the Rouge National Urban Park

This bill was last introduced in the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in August 2015.

Sponsor

Leona Aglukkaq  Conservative

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment establishes the Rouge National Urban Park, a new type of federal protected area, and provides for the protection and presentation of its natural and cultural resources and the encouragement of sustainable farming practices within the Park. The enactment confers a broad range of regulatory powers for the management and administration of the Park. It also makes consequential amendments to the Canada Lands Surveys Act, the Parks Canada Agency Act, the Species at Risk Act and the Environmental Violations Administrative Monetary Penalties Act.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

Jan. 26, 2015 Passed That the Bill be now read a third time and do pass.
Dec. 4, 2014 Passed That, in relation to Bill C-40, An Act respecting the Rouge National Urban Park, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration of the third reading stage of the Bill; and That, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Business on the day allotted to the consideration of the third reading stage of the said Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and, in turn, every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the Bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.
Nov. 25, 2014 Passed That Bill C-40, An Act respecting the Rouge National Urban Park, {as amended}, be concurred in at report stage [with a further amendment/with further amendments] .

Rouge National Urban Park ActGovernment Orders

December 12th, 2014 / 10:05 a.m.
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NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to speak this morning on a very important subject, which is the creation of the Rouge national urban park. We are at third reading of Bill C-40, and I have to say that I am very saddened today that my colleagues and I will not be supporting this bill. While we believe that it is extremely important that we create this first national urban park, we are very distressed at how the Conservatives are doing it. We believe that they have fallen far short of what is expected and needed in the creation of this park.

Let me say that I am very proud to have in my riding of Parkdale—High Park the largest existing park in the city of Toronto, High Park. It was created by the very visionary John and Jemima Howard, who set out clear boundaries and responsibilities for this park. They were absolutely adamant that this park should exist for all time for the free use of the public and that the integrity, ecology, and environment of the park needed to be protected while recognizing that it would be an urban park and a multi-use park.

I want to publicly thank the Friends of High Park Nature Centre for its stewardship of this magnificent jewel on the waterfront of Toronto. All seasons of the year, this park is warmly treasured by people from Toronto and those who come from abroad, whether it is for the cherry trees blossoming in the spring or for skating on Grenadier Pond in the winter or other sports activities. It is a wonderful urban space.

I also want to recognize that the Humber River is the western border of the riding of Parkdale—High Park. It is the only federal urban heritage river. It is an important historic and ecological major waterway. The watershed of the Humber River stretches from the highlands far north of the city of Toronto. It is a very important waterway. Sadly, the federal government has undermined the protection of this river by changes it has made to environmental protection. Specifically, it has removed all of the Humber River, except the mouth of the river, from the Navigation Protection Act and federal environmental protection, which is very troubling.

I would like to thank my colleague from York South—Weston. He and I are working to have this river reinstated in the Navigation Protection Act because of its importance. We believe it is very shortsighted to remove the protections from the Humber River. We are working hard to try to get that reinstated.

I come from a perspective of someone who understands that when one is living in a city and has these treasures, one recognizes that they are a bit different from very remote parks and heritage areas because of their settings. People can get to the Humber River and High Park by subway in downtown Toronto, so they are very different from other protected areas.

The Rouge national urban park would certainly be the largest park in the city. It would be one of the largest parks in North America and the only national park that can be accessed by public transit. It is a unique situation. The government is still trying to assemble the land, but it is land that is already in use. There is farming. There are hydro rights-of-way. There are roads. There already are activities in this area.

Like High Park, in my neighbourhood, no one is expecting that this will be absolutely 100% pristine wilderness. It will not be. It will be special, because it will be an urban park.

We are strongly in favour of creating more parks, but we are most strongly in favour of protecting the ecological health of these national parks. We have to get this right. To do this, we need strong environmental legislation that recognizes that this is a multi-use urban park and that makes its ecology an absolute first priority.

The Rouge national urban park would be very rich. It has a diversity of ecosystems, including a rare Carolinian forest, numerous species at risk, and many agricultural and cultural heritage resources, including a national historic site and some of Canada's oldest known aboriginal historic sites and villages. It is a very special place.

This bill, because we are dealing with the first national urban park, would create a precedent. It would be a model for protecting other areas in urban settings. We need to get this right. This is a stand-alone bill that has been created just for this park. We have the opportunity, unlike with the grab bag of legislation that is thrown into omnibus bills, to study this bill in detail.

The result of Bill C-40, I am sad to say, would be to create weaker protections for Rouge Park than exist for all other national parks in Canada. They are weaker protections, in fact, than the provincial legislative framework that exists already for the park. Yes, it is an urban setting, but there is already a provincial framework that exists that should be improved rather than undermined.

In fact, the Ontario provincial government is refusing to transfer land to the federal government for the creation of this park. Why? It believes that the land would be jeopardized. To be included in the park, it wants to have stronger protections, not weaker protections, and it believes that the protection the province is offering will be stronger. That is why it is saying it is not going to transfer this land if it is going to undermine its ecological integrity.

I want to point out a key point here. The Canada National Parks Act already says:

Maintenance or restoration of ecological integrity, through the protection of natural resources and natural processes, shall be the first priority of the Minister when considering all aspects of the management of parks.

That exists in the existing parks legislation.

This bill would undermine it by saying that it must only “take into consideration” the ecosystems. There is nothing that gives it priority, that gives it precedence, over anything else.

We have tried to amend the bill. We proposed a number of changes. There was one key proposal that would have recognized that yes, there is farming, and yes, that farming would continue, but the ecological integrity would have to be respected. The Conservatives rejected all of this. We are very sad about this.

Because all of our amendments were rejected, we have been forced to create our own private member's bill that calls for the creation of a Rouge national park. It would incorporate the same national protections other parks have. It has broad support from environmental organizations, local community groups, and residents. I want to salute them, because they have worked and fought so hard to get this park created. They are heartbroken at what they see is this bill undermining the ecological integrity of this very prized piece of land.

We had to create our own bill that says that we support the Rouge Park vision, goals, and objectives and that we want to preserve the ecological integrity of this plan.

Sadly, my time is up, but I would be happy to answer questions.

Rouge National Urban Park ActGovernment Orders

December 12th, 2014 / 10:10 a.m.
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Liberal

Ted Hsu Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to comment on my hon. colleague's speech. I would say that she is right that it is important to have that strong language in a better bill, which we do not have here today, to make sure that the ecological integrity of Rouge national park is respected and so we can work together with the Province of Ontario so that it can transfer provincial land to make a much larger park. Preserving a larger area, and not breaking pieces of land up into little bits, is important. That is a factor in terms of ecological integrity and the ability of species to survive the inevitable fluctuations in any sort of ecology.

The Liberal Party, when we take power next year, will be fixing the problems in this bill so that we can create a better Rouge national park.

I would bet that the other opposition parties would feel the same way. There is no particular reason to be too partisan here today, but I would ask my hon. colleague to comment. I know that she talked about a private member's bill. It is probably not going to make it through this Parliament, but perhaps my colleague from the NDP would like to say what the NDP would do if it were to form the next government.

Rouge National Urban Park ActGovernment Orders

December 12th, 2014 / 10:15 a.m.
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NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Kingston for his question. I agreed with most of his comments but not the part about the Liberals winning the next federal election. I did not agree with that particular piece.

When New Democrats form the next government, one of the things we will do is make the environment a priority. Our leader is a former environment minister. It is a key priority of our party, and we will ensure that our national parks are protected.

What we have laid out in the private member's bill is what we would introduce in government. We would adopt the Rouge Park vision, goals, and objectives. We would strengthen and implement the existing environmental protection policy framework. We would protect a healthy and sustainable 100-square-kilometre national Rouge park area and would restore a sustainable and integrated natural heritage system. There are other pieces in the private member's bill.

Suffice it to say, Canadians know where New Democrats stand when it comes to the environment. They can count on us to protect our national parks system.

Rouge National Urban Park ActGovernment Orders

December 12th, 2014 / 10:15 a.m.
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NDP

Hélène LeBlanc NDP LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her speech.

The many urban parks in the Montreal area are not really interconnected and, unfortunately, there are not that many natural areas.

However, there are still some special spots, particularly in my riding, that run along the St. Lawrence River. For example, there are the Lachine Rapids and the adjacent Parc des Rapides.

I find the Rouge Park initiative very interesting. We need to think about the long-term protection of these particular areas, which will also be outdoor schools. This will enable urban residents to enjoy nature and give them access to interpretation centres focusing on these ecologically rich and historical areas.

Could the member talk about the importance of a park such as the Rouge Park for the greater Toronto area?

Rouge National Urban Park ActGovernment Orders

December 12th, 2014 / 10:15 a.m.
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NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague, who has asked a very important question.

In my riding, High Park, there is an outdoor school. It is very important for kids who live in the city. Often, people cannot afford to vacation in Muskoka because it is very expensive. For children, this outdoor school is a chance to learn about the importance of nature conservation.

I recently took part in a walk through a park to observe bats. It was so important and so interesting for the kids. It is very important that we protect the environment, not only for today, but also for the future of our children.

Rouge National Urban Park ActGovernment Orders

December 12th, 2014 / 10:15 a.m.
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Conservative

Bob Zimmer Conservative Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour and a pleasure for me to support the establishment of the Rouge national urban park. Indeed, the creation of Rouge national urban park is a proud and historic achievement for all residents of the greater Toronto area, Ontarians, and Canadians, from coast to coast to coast. Its creation is a major element of our government's national conservation plan, which aims to conserve and restore nature in ways that provide meaningful opportunities for Canadians to connect with our country's vast natural heritage. This Canadian first is the latest example of pioneering conservation work undertaken for over a century by Parks Canada under a vision that was first established by Sir John A. Macdonald.

In 1911, Canada became the first country in the world to create a dedicated national park service, then known as the Dominion Parks Branch. It was the very first of nearly 100 dedicated national park services that are found today all over the world. Canada is recognized as having one of the world's most extensive and best national systems in the world. Moreover, Canada protects more acres of land and federally managed protected heritage areas than any other country in the world.

Recently, our government has worked to add two important jewels to Canada's rich family of national parks: Sable Island National Park Reserve, in Nova Scotia, established in 2013; and Nááts’ihch’oh national park reserve, in the Northwest Territories, now before Parliament as Bill S-5.

These initiatives provide important protection for rare sand dune ecosystems in the Atlantic, and several endangered species in the north, such as woodland caribou and grizzly bears.

In 2009, in partnership with local first nations, our government also made the single largest act of conservation in this country in a generation, by expanding Nahanni National Park Reserve to six times its original size, making it roughly the same size as Switzerland. Today our government once again reaffirms our long-standing commitment to protecting Canada's heritage, with Bill C-40. With the creation of Rouge national urban park, our government is building on a legacy of the many passionate and dedicated community groups and citizens who have given their time and worked diligently to conserve the area. We now honour this legacy by bringing Parks Canada's expertise to bear in the Rouge to create a new type of protected area, one which is tailored to the Rouge's urban setting and which is intended to set a new standard for urban protected areas around the world.

I would say to all members of the House that the designation afforded to the Rouge sets a new and different standard than exists in our national parks. Our bold and innovative approach elevates the level of protection to new heights, by protecting not only the park's natural resources but its cultural and agricultural resources as well.

The opposition brought forward motions to amend Bill C-40, many of which were based on the mistaken notion that the national park concept of ecological integrity should or could apply to the Rouge. Testimony was brought forward at committee that the concept of ecological integrity is inappropriate for the Rouge national urban park. Not only is 75% of the parklands in a disturbed or altered state, but the park's close proximity to a large urban centre makes the application of this concept impossible to apply. Some of the amendments proposed by the opposition would have been problematic for the farmers, first nations, and cultural elements within the park. If we were to manage the Rouge as we do in the national parks, it could mean evicting farmers who have been responsible stewards of the land for over a century. It appears that the opposition do not understand the practical realities of this new urban park, nor how a new and different approach would provide the strongest protection possible.

Let me make clear for all members and all Canadians how strong our protections would be. The Rouge national urban park act would provide exceptional protection for a multitude of plant and animal species. This exceptional protection also extends to the Rouge's endangered and threatened species, which for the first time would be under the strong protection of Canada's Species at Risk Act. All threatened and endangered terrestrial and aquatic plants and animals would be protected. In addition, killing, harming, harassing, or possessing threatened and endangered species would be strictly prohibited, along with the destruction of their habitat.

Parks Canada would draw on its internationally celebrated expertise to conserve, monitor, and, wherever possible, restore the diverse habitats within the park upon which the park's 1,700 species, plants, and animals depend. Actions taken would sustain, and in many cases increase the diversity of native species in the park.

Information gathered through ecosystem monitoring would be used to both report on the condition of ecosystems and their components, and to make the very best management decisions to improve the health of ecosystems in the park across its diverse natural, cultural, and agricultural landscapes.

Key management objectives for the Rouge national urban park would be to enhance, buffer, and connect habitats for a wide range of species. A better connected landscape will also increase the resilience of wildlife populations, allowing them to move freely across the landscape. Parks Canada would also explore rigorous and innovative scientific approaches to control and eliminate non-native invasive species.

Our government's proposed protections for the Rouge go much further. Drawing on years of expertise, Parks Canada is working with public landholders, local stakeholders, and governments to enhance habitat quality and connectivity. Current efforts are simply not addressing these issues.

While the Rouge national urban park has yet to be formally established, our government has already realized several important environmental and ecological gains for it, including work with the Toronto Zoo to release ten endangered baby Blanding's turtles into the Rouge in June. We also recently worked with the City of Toronto to construct a safe road crossing for the rare frogs, toads, and salamanders in the park. We have been working with park farmers to rehabilitate park streams and enhance park wetlands.

As other levels of government improve roadways, Parks Canada will work with them on improving connectivity for wildlife by improving and adding culverts, and, in the future, by finding other innovative ways to improve wildlife movement to allow a multitude of species to move more freely on the landscape.

Rouge national urban park will provide, for the first time in the Rouge's history, year-round dedicated law enforcement, through Parks Canada's highly esteemed park wardens. These wardens will have full powers to enforce one set of clear park rules and regulations. With this unprecedented level of protection for the park's natural, cultural, and agricultural resources, and with provisions clearly articulated in Bill C-40, Parks Canada will have the legal tools and resources to impose stiff fines and penalties for long-standing issues in the Rouge. This includes pollution, dumping, poaching, and harassing of wildlife, and the unlawful removal of plants, fossils, and artifacts.

Our government's protection of the Rouge's natural heritage and enhancement of ecosystem health meets and exceeds current protections that are in place. However, it is very important to note that our government's legislative and policy protections would also extend beyond national heritage to the park's rich cultural and agricultural heritage. Our government would provide protection for the Rouge's agricultural lands, which encompass approximately 62% of the Rouge national urban park study area.

The York Federation of Agriculture represents 700 farmer members in the region. Kim Empringham, director of the federation, recently testified at the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development. She said that the farming community in the Rouge national urban park comprises the same farming families that have been caring for the land and growing food for the people of Ontario for the past 200 years. She also said that farmers in the park use environmental farm plans, incorporating the best management practices as part of their ongoing stewardship of the farmland that they have been taking care of for generations.

Farmland produces food, carbon sequestration, climate regulation, improved air quality, wildlife habitat, hydrological functions, groundwater recharge, and buffering protection to natural heritage features.

Our government fully intends to collaborate with the farming community, academic institutions, and other experts to realize that all conservation gains are possible, and to work with the farming community to develop the best agricultural practices for the park in ways that support and enhance biodiversity in the Rouge. Our government's integrated approach to conserving biodiversity in a way that supports a vibrant local farming community would further allow us to provide the strongest level of protection for agriculture and nature in the Rouge's history.

Ian Buchanan, the manager of forestry at the Regional Municipality of York, also testified at the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development. He said that farmers are indeed a part of the solution of maintaining a healthy environment. Ian Buchanan stated:

If we don't acknowledge that the farming community is the front line of environmental protection, we're missing the point.

Mike Whittamore's farm is a large 220-acre fruit and vegetable farm nestled beside the Rouge River valley in Markham. He testified at the committee that Bill C-40 and the Rouge national urban park draft management plan clearly acknowledge the importance of agriculture in the Rouge

The plan demonstrates that agriculture, culture, and nature are all equally important contributors to a vibrant urban park, and agriculture can and will play a role in the future, to reach those goals and objectives of the Rouge national urban park.

With respect to cultural heritage, our government's conservation approach will see us identify cultural heritage values and opportunities throughout the Rouge and set conservation priorities. We will also seek opportunities to respectfully repurpose, rejuvenate, and conserve some of the Rouge's neglected built heritage, including old farmhouses and barns.

Parks Canada will continue to work with first nations and local communities to ensure important landmarks and built heritage are commemorated, protected, and celebrated. We will also commit to providing strong protection for Bead Hill National Historic Site and the Carrying Place National Historic Event.

Our government's holistic approach and commitment to the conservation interpretation of the Rouge's cultural heritage and living history will allow us to provide the strongest level of protection for cultural heritage in the Rouge's history.

Let me also make it very clear what will not be allowed to take place in the Rouge national urban park. In stark contrast to some past and current regional land uses, Rouge national urban park will directly prohibit hunting, mining, logging, and mineral aggregate removal, thereby providing stronger and much clearer protections than those currently in place. There will be stiff fines and a full complement of park wardens to enforce any such unlawful and damaging park activities.

Under the Rouge national urban park act, the Government of Canada cannot dispose or sell land for private development. To meet current and future provincial and municipal requirements, Bill C-40 will provide the legislative framework needed in an urban setting. This framework will allow Parks Canada to effectively manage and protect the park, while allowing for future public infrastructure needs, such as utilities or transportation corridors.

The bill sets a strict limit of 200 hectares on the amount of land that can be removed and provided to former public landholders, and no other disposals are allowed, period.

Our government, through the trusted stewardship of Parks Canada, will manage the Rouge's natural, cultural, and agricultural resources in an integrated fashion, in a way that protects the park's natural ecosystems and cultural landscapes, maintains its native wildlife and the health of those ecosystems, while—and let me make myself very clear—providing a level of protection for the park that has previously not been achieved under current laws, policies, or practices.

With the creation of the Rouge national urban park, Rouge lands will be protected in perpetuity with this strong cohesive bill, now and for many future generations of Canadians to enjoy.

It is for these most compelling reasons that I urge all members of this House to provide their full support for Bill C-40 at third reading.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of all citizens of Prince George—Peace River to wish you a merry Christmas.

Rouge National Urban Park ActGovernment Orders

December 12th, 2014 / 10:30 a.m.
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NDP

Hélène LeBlanc NDP LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my Conservative colleague for his speech.

Bill C-40, An Act respecting the Rouge National Urban Park, is truly innovative because this is the first time an urban park has been proposed in Canada. I would like my colleague to reassure me because some parts of the bill seem to give the minister some fairly discretionary power with respect to preserving the integrity of the park. I would like him to talk about that. The official opposition is wondering whether decisions about the integrity and conservation of the Rouge national urban park would be made by the minister. The member also talked about agriculture. Would that really help to preserve the integrity of this national park? Is the minister perhaps being given too much discretionary power over the Rouge national urban park?

Rouge National Urban Park ActGovernment Orders

December 12th, 2014 / 10:30 a.m.
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Conservative

Bob Zimmer Conservative Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, in government, every minister has a huge responsibility within their particular ministry. With the Minister of the Environment, it is the same.

To suggest there is going to be any less stringency placed on this national park is understating it. As I said in my speech, the minister is clearly concerned about the environment and wants to ensure the Rouge is protected. That is why we are moving forward on this, with protections that are not currently in place.

The minister is moving forward, along with our government, and we are going to protect the Rouge national park as it should be protected.

Rouge National Urban Park ActGovernment Orders

December 12th, 2014 / 10:35 a.m.
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Liberal

Adam Vaughan Liberal Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, I filed a petition in the House related to this issue, complaining about the fact that there was a lack of an agreement between the province and the federal government as this project moved forward. It said that there was a lack of transparency and accountability around a very particular issue, which is the issue of agricultural run-off into a river that flows into Lake Ontario, the source of drinking water for virtually everybody in southern Ontario.

The provincial government has been explicit. It does not want to sign on to this project until we have an understanding of how agriculture will be protected and managed, and how it will contribute to the ecological benefit of the entire region, not just within the park but within all of southern Ontario. The government has said that everything is completely out in the open, yet we have petition after petition, complaining that this process has gone forward too fast and without the consent of the provincial government.

When will the government sit down with the Premier of Ontario, the people of Ontario and the residents who have to live with this decision, and ensure that the highest ecological principles are protected and that the largest park possible is built?

Rouge National Urban Park ActGovernment Orders

December 12th, 2014 / 10:35 a.m.
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Conservative

Bob Zimmer Conservative Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am sure that the meeting with the premier and the Prime Minister will be forthcoming. However, there are going to be some things, naturally, that we disagree on with the provincial government in Ontario. I think there will be several disagreements. That is all I can say to that.

The fact is that we want to move forward and support farmers in their current status, like I talked about today in my speech. For 200 years, farmers have farmed the land in this area. As a government, we think, and have proven in committee, that farmers not only farm land, but provide benefit ecologically to the park.

We will move forward, and hopefully the provincial government of Ontario can move forward with us.

Rouge National Urban Park ActGovernment Orders

December 12th, 2014 / 10:35 a.m.
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Conservative

Royal Galipeau Conservative Ottawa—Orléans, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the hon. member for Prince George—Peace River for his passion for national parks generally, and particularly for his understanding of the importance of the urban forest cover.

I will not try to score cheap political points here, but I will ask him a question. Does he think that the new act would provide better protection than what is in place for the existing park?

Rouge National Urban Park ActGovernment Orders

December 12th, 2014 / 10:35 a.m.
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Conservative

Bob Zimmer Conservative Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, absolutely. That is why we are having the act put in place. It is to provide better protections to the Rouge River national park and to protect green cover and those sorts of things in the Toronto area, which I think most Canadians would appreciate.

We can see it in areas of my province, in Stanley Park, where areas have been protected and are still appreciated to this day. It is because governments like ours have moved forward and established acts like this so parks can exist and challenge the urban sprawl, work with farmers who are there, and still have better protections for our national parks.

Rouge National Urban Park ActGovernment Orders

December 12th, 2014 / 10:35 a.m.
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NDP

Sadia Groguhé NDP Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.

He said that once this bill is passed, Parks Canada will be in a position to manage the park very constructively and positively. He left out the fact that in 2012, the Conservatives announced $29 million in cuts to Parks Canada's funding, which led to the elimination of over 600 jobs and reduced Parks Canada's scientific capacity by one-third.

My question is simple: how can my colleague really believe his government's promise to manage the park properly now that such big cuts have been made?

Rouge National Urban Park ActGovernment Orders

December 12th, 2014 / 10:35 a.m.
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Conservative

Bob Zimmer Conservative Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, that is almost a lob question for what I am going to say now.

The fact is that we always hear from the opposition members that we are cutting funding for parks. In our economic action plan in 2012, the Government of Canada announced $143.7 million of funding over 10 years for the park's development and interim operations, and $7.6 million per year thereafter for its continued operation. This is proof in the pudding that there is going to be a lot of money in funds, and we are backing this seriously to ensure the Rouge takes hold and it is provided with adequate protections.

Rouge National Urban Park ActGovernment Orders

December 12th, 2014 / 10:40 a.m.
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Conservative

Bob Zimmer Conservative Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, that is a great question from a great member.

I established this in the speech. The key difference with the urban park is that it will take into account some operations that have already been there for 200 years, like farming, while it still pushes out things like mining and other operations that are more ecologically challenging.

It recognizes transportation corridors that already exist. It honours farming that has been there for 200 years. It is unique in the perspective that it allows some environmental leeway to allow development to occur, while still protecting the park in the best sense of the word.