Evidence of meeting #4 for Environment and Sustainable Development in the 43rd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was park.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Andrew Campbell  Senior Vice-President, Operations, Parks Canada Agency
Darlene Upton  Vice-President, Protected Areas Establishment and Conservation, Parks Canada Agency
Stephen Van Dine  Vice-President, Strategic Policy and Investment Directorate, Parks Canada Agency
Michael Nadler  Vice-President, External Relations and Visitor Experience, Parks Canada Agency
Catherine Blanchard  Vice-President, Finance Directorate, Parks Canada Agency

10:05 a.m.

Vice-President, Protected Areas Establishment and Conservation, Parks Canada Agency

Darlene Upton

That's right.

We have a couple of initiatives under way. We're trying to complete the systems plans for both the terrestrial and the marine areas. This has to do with putting parks in areas that aren't currently represented. We're also looking at where we can expand to better protect areas. There are a number of projects ongoing right now. Work is continuing to look....

Park establishment often can be serendipitous. A bunch of factors can come together and present an opportunity. One thing the agency has is a great deal of flexibility in how we move forward through establishment, including the partners we bring and ultimately the arrangements we have for the management of those places. More and more, we have co-management arrangements with indigenous communities, as well as the ability to create protected areas that respect the legislation but also incorporate the values of local communities.

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Yasmin Ratansi

You have 15 seconds, if you'd like to—

10:05 a.m.

Senior Vice-President, Operations, Parks Canada Agency

Andrew Campbell

I'll donate it.

I was going to add this, for two seconds. The other thing is—Michael's probably too humble to say—we also take a leadership role in the Canadian Parks Council, which is a parks group that represents all of the provincial and territorial parks as well. Certainly Michael has taken a lead in making sure that the goals that the government has put forward are also being considered at the provincial and territorial level.

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Yasmin Ratansi

Thank you.

Mr. Mazier, you have five minutes.

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

Dan Mazier Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa, MB

Thank you, Madam Chair.

Going back to the emergency management and tree management in general, you talked about going over to Australia and helping out over there with the wildfires. When you look at the damage that the pine beetle has done, especially in Jasper National Park and those kinds of parks, you see a situation evolving there that makes it perfect timber to burn.

Have there been any management plans implemented? What is the plan to get rid of that? Is there any sense of urgency? Are there timelines that if we don't...? Who's being hired, and all those kinds of things? What's the plan for that?

10:05 a.m.

Vice-President, Protected Areas Establishment and Conservation, Parks Canada Agency

Darlene Upton

We have developed, with partners, a specific management plan in that particular area. Obviously, one of the big concerns is the dead trees and the fuel load.

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

Dan Mazier Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa, MB

Who would be the partners?

10:05 a.m.

Vice-President, Protected Areas Establishment and Conservation, Parks Canada Agency

Darlene Upton

The partners are the province and Natural Resources Canada as well. They bring a lot of knowledge and information to the table. Obviously the province has a number of concerns, so we're working with all those partners.

We've invested a fair bit of money—and I don't have the actual number in front of me—on fuel reduction, particularly in those areas.

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

Dan Mazier Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa, MB

Have they started taking it away?

10:05 a.m.

Vice-President, Protected Areas Establishment and Conservation, Parks Canada Agency

Darlene Upton

Yes. That's been ongoing for a while, but we are ramping up efforts in response to the—

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

Dan Mazier Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa, MB

Are there any deadlines? Are we thinking we have to get rid of this or we could end up with another Australia? Are there any mandate definitions like “let's get this done”?

10:05 a.m.

Vice-President, Protected Areas Establishment and Conservation, Parks Canada Agency

Darlene Upton

They're defined by the funding we have available, in part. We started last year with a number of new projects. There will be a number of new actions this season as well in terms of load reduction and prescribed burns.

10:05 a.m.

Senior Vice-President, Operations, Parks Canada Agency

Andrew Campbell

It is one of the very few places that we have ever done mechanical removal within a national park. That's going on right now.

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

Dan Mazier Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa, MB

Could you provide to the committee an update on that plan and how that's going?

February 27th, 2020 / 10:05 a.m.

Senior Vice-President, Operations, Parks Canada Agency

Andrew Campbell

We can certainly provide that to the clerk and the committee.

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

Dan Mazier Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa, MB

Okay. Excellent.

Regarding cell service in parks, in general, does Parks Canada have any kind of plan? Is anybody responsible? You have people all over the parks. How do they communicate? Is there any plan for connectivity?

10:05 a.m.

Vice-President, Strategic Policy and Investment Directorate, Parks Canada Agency

Stephen Van Dine

We work closely with Shared Services Canada on mapping where both employees and visitors are able to access cell service, as well as—

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

Dan Mazier Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa, MB

Is there any budget for it, for Wi-Fi?

10:05 a.m.

Vice-President, Strategic Policy and Investment Directorate, Parks Canada Agency

Stephen Van Dine

We use the dollars that were appropriated to manage improvements in all areas. The schedule varies depending on the level of resources available and depending on the level of service that's in there.

One of the innovations that we have achieved recently, following the leadership of our colleagues at Shared Services Canada, is that we now have some abilities to work with local service providers in a much more direct way to allow for access, and that's something new that we're exploring right now.

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Dan Mazier Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa, MB

Is there any involvement with infrastructure? How would a person get into that system to know who to reach out to? Is it the local superintendent?

10:10 a.m.

Vice-President, Strategic Policy and Investment Directorate, Parks Canada Agency

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Dan Mazier Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa, MB

On the two billion trees, does Parks Canada plan on being part of the two billion trees the government has announced that it wants to plant?

10:10 a.m.

Vice-President, Protected Areas Establishment and Conservation, Parks Canada Agency

Darlene Upton

Yes. The planning is in the early phases, but we're working with both Natural Resources Canada and Environment Canada to look at how that will roll out and what opportunities Parks Canada lands offer.

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Dan Mazier Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa, MB

Does Parks Canada have lands available for planting trees?

10:10 a.m.

Vice-President, Protected Areas Establishment and Conservation, Parks Canada Agency

Darlene Upton

Potentially. We're just starting to have the conversations now.