As the Minister responsible for Canadian Heritage, I am pleased to present Parks Canada Guiding Principles and Operational Policies. I extend my appreciation to those Canadians who helped in the development of this comprehensive policy. You have made an important contribution to the preservation of Canada's national heritage.

What we value as Canadians is our freedom, our clean environment, the beauty and wildness of nature, and the paths of human endeavour that brought us to where we are today. The peace and sense of renewal we feel in wandering through a forest, along a mountain path or beside a surging sea encourage us to want to share these experiences with our children. The sense of wonder and reverence we feel as we learn about the past human activities that laid the foundation of our country stimulate a profound concern for ensuring the survival of historic places, artifacts and structures.

These values, which we cherish so deeply, motivate us to make protection of natural areas and commemoration of historic places a high national priority. Such areas and sites represent the very essence of our identity as a people. They characterize the way we see ourselves and how others see us as a nation. Through our efforts, we demonstrate to the world a thoughtful, caring attitude towards the national and international treasures of nature and culture so richly bestowed upon Canadians.

The inspiration and knowledge we derive from these special heritage places more than justify our efforts to protect and commemorate them. More important, as a civilized society we have a fundamental stewardship responsibility to ensure that the record of our past, the rich diversity of wild spaces and species, the beauty and grandeur of our lands and seas, and the cultural character of our communities are not inadvertently lost over time.

Canada has in place a world-class system of heritage areas and programs, be they national historic sites, national parks, heritage rivers, heritage railway stations and buildings, historic canals or marine conservation areas. These places are located all across Canada and are part of a global heritage family. Canadians must share in the continuing challenge of managing and safeguarding these national - treasures not only because of the magnitude of the task, but because it is important that we feel part of the effort to preserve such an abundant legacy.

(Original document signed in 1994 by)

Michel Dupuy
Minister of Canadian Heritage

Note: On March 24, 1994, Canadian Heritage Minister Michel Dupuy tabled the Parks Canada Guiding Principles and Operational Policies in the House of Commons.