Thanks to thousands and thousands of dedicated Canadians, we are making major progress in protecting our country’s heritage areas. In the past few years, we have moved forward quickly on restoring the health of Canada’s national parks. We have made ecological and commemorative integrity the top priorities of Parks Canada. We have placed caps on development in national parks. We have brought forward new measures on science and conservation. We have introduced new outreach programs to young Canadians. We have given new priority to the historic accomplishments of Aboriginal peoples, women and ethnocultural communities.
Parliament has acted to pass the Parks Canada Agency Act, the new Canada National Parks Act and the Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act.
This report covers the period from 1999 to 2001. Since then, the recommendations from the first Minister’s Round Table on Parks Canada were acted on and the second Round Table was held. Once again, we will act on its recommendations.
The Government of Canada, in partnership with other levels of government and a broad cross-section of Canadians, is currently embarked on two of the most important initiatives in the history of our country to protect heritage areas.
The first key initiative is the plan announced by the Prime Minister to establish ten new national parks and five new national marine conservation areas over the coming five years. We have already signed an agreement to establish the first of the new parks in the beautiful Gulf Islands of British Columbia.
The second key undertaking is the Historic Places Initiative. We are putting in place a comprehensive strategy to safeguard historic places, rehabilitate heritage buildings, empower Aboriginal peoples to protect their heritage areas, and make the Government of Canada a leader in heritage stewardship. Thanks to excellent cooperation from all the provincial and territorial governments, we are making solid progress on the Historic Places Initiative.
Protecting our natural spaces, historic places and cultural wonders is one of our greatest shared responsibilities as Canadians, and one of our greatest national missions. The accomplishments of the past few years demonstrate that we can rise to the challenges and fulfil our duty as trustees of Canada’s heritage areas. It is imperative that we do so.
Minister of Canadian Heritage