2.09.2012

action alert: don't privatize canada's national parks, even a little

I meant to include this in my earlier post with various action alerts. It's a bit old, but very important.

Since this organizing started, Parks Canada has agreed to delay their decision to study it further. We should keep up the pressure so they know what the Canadian people want. Privatization is a slippery slope. Every aspect of Parks Canada should remain public and not-for-profit.

From Avaaz:
In days, the Harper Government could privatise a section of Jasper National Park and let an American-owned company blast a 300m metal walkway into our World Heritage mountains -- but Jasper's superintendent has the power to stop them.

The plan would not only spur development, but would give an American company the right to charge each of us for entry into parts of Jasper park. Greg Fenton, a local Jasperite, has the ability to stop the privatisation of the park he grew up in and loves -- but the company's massive lobbying effort means he will face brutal pressure to sell out this natural wonder. Let's send him a tidal wave of support and give him the strength he needs to stand up to corporate power and save our Rocky Mountain sanctuary.

Private international companies should not be profiting off our national treasures. Click here to ensure our parks stay in public hands - sign the petition calling on Fenton to save Jasper National Park before it's too late.

If approved, the 300m metal walkway over the world-famous Icefields Parkway will be built by Brewster Canada -- a premium travel company that is an 80% owned subsidiary of the American-based company VIAD. Both are fully profit-driven companies that value their bottom line over the preservation of our natural heritage. Though the initial development project is small, this decision sets a dangerous precedent, allowing the government to sell off pieces of our most valuable and beautiful landscape.

VIAD and Brewster have hired expensive heavyweight lobbyists to win over the Harper Government and Jasper National Park. But our voices, brought together from across Canada, can drown out the dangerous message coming from these corporate lobbyists.

Our call only needs to reach Greg Fenton, the Park’s Superintendent and the person who has the final say on the approval of the project. With thousands of Canadians pounding on the door of Fenton’s office already, this is our chance to ensure that Jasper does not set a precedent allowing commercial operators to convert our National Parks into profit-making attractions.

Avaaz has fought hard to protect our natural environment by campaigning on climate change, whaling and protecting our oceans -- now we can come together to save our parks from corporate ownership.
More info:

Parks Canada: Jasperite, Greg Fenton, returns home to become superintendent of Jasper National Park

Calgary Herald: National Parks - and the views - belong to Canadians

The Fitzhugh: Feedback Deadline Looms, Decision Expected Next Month

Sign here.


4 comments:

richard said...

I live in the midst of the Rocky Mountain National Parks (our town is surrounded by Glacier, Yoho/Banff, Kootenay, and Jasper National Parks). While I am not convinced of the merits of this particular project we should remember that the Parks have always allowed some private enterprise within their boundaries. Ski resorts in Banff and Jasper and hotels/lodges in every mountain park come to mind. Not to mention the shopping street in Banff. On the whole these businesses add to the value of the Parks and make the parks more accessible to ordinary people rather than less. The key thing is to maintain strict limits and regulations on such development.

laura k said...

Thanks, Richard, that's interesting. National Parks in the US are the same way. The way these emails have been phrased, I assumed it was not the case here. (Always a mistake to assume...) It sounded like there was no privatization in these parks at all.

I think the main objection to this is it would allow a private company to charge admission to a piece of the park. Build a walkway for a view, then charge visitors to use it - pay-per-view, so to speak.

But your comment also shows me their emails were misleading.

Andrea said...

yes richard BUT if it is still public land there are controls and accountability. If it goes private everything goes out the window pretty quickly.

richard said...

@Andrea Yes. The land must remain public. One can own a building in the parks (say, a house in Banff) but one cannot own the land the house sits on.