Monday, 2 February 2015

Parks Canada and the 60 Acres

A wintry view of the 60 Acres

Today I received my first package of documents from a series of access to information requests I submitted in December.

It turns out that Parks Canada learned about the transfer of the 60 acres of the Farm to build a hospital when Leslie Maitland, president of Heritage Ottawa, emailed them a day after John Baird's November 3rd press conference.

To put it bluntly: the agency responsible for Canada’s national heritage sites was not consulted when deciding to give away part of one, owned by the federal government, for development. Canada’s heritage protection legislation is so weak that Parks does not have to be consulted when major changes are made to even federally owned sites.

I’m not surprised, this government consistently fails to consult (or listen if it does consult--see the Monument to the Victims of Communism fiasco) with responsible and interested bodies. Accountability and consultation, who needs it? Apparently not the NCC and not John Baird.

One thing that’s been bouncing around the back of my mind after reading these documents: The only power Parks Canada has to get any owner, government or otherwise, to respect heritage designations is the stick of delisting the site from the national register.

This stick works only if the owner gives a damn about Canadian history and the place of the site in it. This government cares for its own vision of Canada's military history but little else. Alongside this, the general anti-science trend of the last 9 years are magnified at an active scientific station that is also a non-military heritage site. The Farm really had no chance.

I look forward to seeing what other departments send me and how the picture fits together.

For my other posts related to the 60 acres, click the link below.