Mr. Chair, thank you for this opportunity to meet with the committee to discuss the 2014-15 supplementary estimates (B) for Parks Canada.
Just to give a bit of an overview, last week I returned from the World Parks Congress where close to 6,000 people from 170 countries gathered to debate and discuss the future of national parks and other protected areas. Participants generally agreed on the need to protect large landscapes and restore degraded ecosystems, the need for aboriginal peoples to have a real voice in the management of national parks, and the need to engage the hearts and minds of all people, and to inspire them across generations, geography, and cultures to experience the wonders of nature through protected areas.
Mr. Chair, as Parks Canada's team members participated in these discussions, I was very proud to be Canadian, to share with my colleagues from other countries our accomplishments as a country. On all of these fronts, which I mentioned previously, I can say without hesitation that Parks Canada, and Canada, is an international leader.
First, over the past decade we have expanded our parks system of national parks at a scale that very few countries, if any, have achieved and we will continue to do so by supporting the government's objectives to create three new national parks by 2015.
Second, Parks Canada is implementing the largest ecological restoration program in our 103-year history. That is international leadership.
Third, we are involving aboriginal peoples in the management of our national parks through cooperative management boards and other innovative approaches that are recognized as international leadership.
Finally, through innovative initiatives such as the establishment of Rouge national urban park, learn to camp programs, free entry passes for new Canadians, and the renewal of our accommodation offer, we are seen as an international leader in connecting people to nature. In fact, in terms of connecting people to parks, we co-led the stream as part of the congress' program.
These are all Parks Canada initiatives that support the government's national conservation plan.
As we approach the 150th anniversary of our country, we have led a multi-partner search in the Victoria Strait based on traditional Inuit knowledge, and solved one of the greatest international mysteries through the discovery of Sir John Franklin's ship, the HMS Erebus. In so doing, we have connected the hearts and minds of our citizens to the history of our great country.
This year, Parks Canada also played a very significant role in celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown and Quebec conferences, the genesis of our political system. We also commemorated the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War, and the 75th anniversary of the start of the Second World War at numerous Parks Canada places.
I would now like to turn to the estimates we are discussing today.
Parks Canada is seeking adjustments to Parks Canada's 2014-15 main estimates totalling $62.4 million. These funds will be mainly invested in items such as: $57.7 million in investments representing the first year of a five-year $391.5 million investment included in economic action plan 2014 to make improvements to highways, bridges and dams located in our national parks and along our historic canals; $3.7 million for projects under the federal contaminated sites action plan; $0.5 million for continued policy support in comprehensive claims and self-government negotiations; and, finally, $0.3 million for actions under the national conservation plan.
I would like to thank you, Mr. Chair, and the committee for your time today. I'm happy to respond to any questions at the end of our presentation.