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

9:30 a.m.

Vice-President, External Relations and Visitor Experience, Parks Canada Agency

Michael Nadler

The most significant element of the program is actually conducted with indigenous peoples. It's part of our work to facilitate traditional activities in our national parks and heritage settings. In one circumstance, we are part of a provincial licensing and permitting system for hunting, but that's an outlier. Generally we do it in collaboration with local communities.

In a couple of other circumstances when we faced significant hyperabundance, we've contracted services to help us control that.

9:30 a.m.

Conservative

Dan Mazier Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa, MB

Would it vary from province to province, probably?

9:30 a.m.

Vice-President, External Relations and Visitor Experience, Parks Canada Agency

Michael Nadler

As well as site to site.

9:30 a.m.

Senior Vice-President, Operations, Parks Canada Agency

Andrew Campbell

Maybe I should just underscore that the determination of hyperabundance is entirely scientifically based on what the carrying capacity is of that particular species within the area, and that's tracked over time.

9:30 a.m.

Conservative

Dan Mazier Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa, MB

Okay.

How do you manage the area around the parks? Riding Mountain National Park has a unique circumstance. How do you work with those communities around the park and deal with invasive species? If your top priority is both preservation and protecting the park and you have the potential for zebra mussels coming around, how do you handle that as an agency? Who do we turn to in that case?

9:30 a.m.

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

Darlene Upton

Again, it's going to depend by species, but certainly some of the invasive species or just hyperabundant native species are causing problems. We do manage for ecological integrity, and certainly with native species it's not necessarily our goal to eradicate them. Within our policies, if a species could be causing ecological impacts due to overabundance or if it's threatening values at risk that are outside of our park, we have the ability by policy to react.

9:35 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Yasmin Ratansi

Thank you.

We will now go to Mr. Scarpaleggia for five minutes.

9:35 a.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Thank you, Madam Chair, and thank you to our witnesses for being here.

In your opening remarks, someone mentioned infrastructure investments. I happen to be fortunate enough to have in my riding the Sainte-Anne canal and locks, which are a major tourist attraction in the summertime and a great asset for our community. As you know, they're in need of an upgrade.

In fact, there was a plan to bring repairs to the canal. The original plan was that the work would be finished I think in 2018, if I'm not mistaken—the exact date doesn't really matter—but then we had flooding in 2017. As I understand it, the money that was put aside for the rehabilitation of the canal and the locks was spent on effecting repairs necessitated by the flooding.

Have we started work on the actual rehabilitation of the canal? Given that the money put aside for the repair work was spent on the flood aftermath in 2017, as I understand it, is there going to be another funding envelope to take care of the upgrades?

9:35 a.m.

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

Stephen Van Dine

You have good information.

I would begin by saying that our infrastructure is managed on a dynamic basis. We look at where immediate pressures are on an ongoing basis and we re-evaluate projects constantly.

I'll have to get back to you on whether or not the work has started on the core elements you've described, but certainly the work that's been identified is within our business planning for restoration for all our sites.

9:35 a.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Will there be funding? The funding that was put aside originally has been spent on repairs necessitated by the flooding. Will there be another budget envelope for the repairs themselves, which were scheduled to be done by 2018?

9:35 a.m.

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

Stephen Van Dine

All the work that we've scheduled, we still have under...it's a question of when it starts.

9:35 a.m.

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

Stephen Van Dine

We are constantly re-juggling our finances, yes.

9:35 a.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Okay, so the funds are available.

9:35 a.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

You've got it. Okay.

Also, Mayor Paola Hawa contacted me at least a year ago—and I remember writing to Parks Canada about this—because there's a jetty as part of the installation and it's in serious need of repair. The mayor was hoping that the materials that would be used to repair the jetty would be more environmentally friendly. I guess that right now it's asphalt, and it attracts a lot of sun and heat. Basically, it creates a bit of a heat island.

Are you looking at using more environmentally friendly materials for the jetty and for other upcoming upgrades that you have to do on other installations that are under Parks Canada?

9:35 a.m.

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

Stephen Van Dine

We are constantly looking for greening our project delivery mechanisms. On that particular one, I'll get back to you in terms of what is being considered for the jetty.

9:35 a.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

That would be great.

I'd like to turn now to Wood Buffalo National Park, which is at risk of ecosystem collapse due to changing hydrology and increasing water demands and diversions.

UNESCO has warned that continued deterioration could lead to its inscription on the list of world heritage sites in danger. As I understand it, an environmental—

9:40 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Yasmin Ratansi

Mr. Scarpaleggia, do you want an answer? You have 30 seconds left.

9:40 a.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Okay.

How's it going there?

9:40 a.m.

Voices

Oh, oh!

9:40 a.m.

Senior Vice-President, Operations, Parks Canada Agency

Andrew Campbell

There is a Wood Buffalo National Park and world heritage site action plan that has been tabled in Parliament. We are working forward on that. We've started to take the initial steps. We are working towards solutions with the first nations communities surrounding and within the park and are looking at ways in which we can abate some of the ongoing issues within the park.

9:40 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Yasmin Ratansi

Thank you.

Mr. Redekopp, you have five minutes.

February 27th, 2020 / 9:40 a.m.

Conservative

Brad Redekopp Conservative Saskatoon West, SK

Thank you.

Thanks for coming today.

The Rouge National Urban Park Act established a park in Toronto.

I'm from Saskatoon. We have the Meewasin Valley in Saskatoon. You talked about co-managed sites like the Steveston cannery. The Meewasin encapsulates, I think, the principles of Parks Canada, but they've struggled financially to support the park in Saskatoon, and they've struggled to communicate with you guys as to whether there is any financing or any help that you could provide.

They wrote me a letter that I want to quote from:

It would be great to understand for us, and others who are not necessarily an actual National Park to understand funding opportunities better. There are many publicly accessible spaces that are utilized by many folks, especially in Saskatoon in an urban environment that could use support. We would be interested to know if there are funding opportunities for charitable organizations who manage or own green infrastructure spaces like the Meewasin Valley, which is 6700 hectares and sees over 1.65 million visits...

It's also connected with the Wanuskewin heritage park in Saskatoon.

Can you answer that question for Meewasin?

9:40 a.m.

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

Darlene Upton

We don't currently have any funding programs to support those. We're certainly an agency that is always open to sharing our knowledge and our best practices and such, but we don't currently operate a funding program to support parks like that.

9:40 a.m.

Conservative

Brad Redekopp Conservative Saskatoon West, SK

How do you get into a co-managed situation?

9:40 a.m.

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

Darlene Upton

Are you referring to something like the cannery?