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Save Our Rideau
The Dumbing Down of Parks Canada

A few years ago I was paddling with a retired Parks Canada employee and he was bemoaning the fact that Parks Canada was re-writing job descriptions to reduce the skill level required for the job. He referred to it as "the dumbing down of Parks Canada." This dumbing down of Parks Canada is now happening in spades with their 2012 purge of heritage expertise.

One of my issues is the lack of attention to heritage on the Rideau Canal by the current management of Park Canada. There is no heritage manager and many heritage issues remain unattended. Now, not only is there no heritage expertise within the management of the Rideau Canal, there is little left within Parks Canada itself as Parks Canada's upper "management" targets heritage staff and other highly skilled personnel to take the brunt of the cuts.

The decisions to decimate heritage and ecological skilled positions within Parks Canada is obviously being done by unqualified managers who do not understand the importance of these skills. This is a very dangerous road Parks Canada is taking. It is leaving Parks Canada without the ability to properly manage its national historic sites. It is also putting the Rideau Canal's World Heritage status at risk.

I've presented information on this website about how Parks Canada's cuts to heritage in recent years have already negatively impacted the Rideau Canal. But there are others, with a great deal of knowledge about this issue, now speaking out. These include:

  • On July 18, 2012, George Ingram, a retired historian with Parks Canada wrote about this issue. George has been seeing the degradation of heritage expertise within Parks Canada for several years. In his letter he states "Parks Canada has significantly reduced - by as much as 50% to 60% - its Service Centre staff, the cultural resource specialist staff such as historians, archaeologists, conservators, and others responsible for ensuring the appropriate care of historical resources entrusted to its care. This is a particular concern for the Rideau Canal where there is some question as to whether Parks Canada will have the expertise, capacity and even the will to perform its stewardship responsibilities with regard to the world heritage site." For the whole letter see: Letter to Gord Brown, MP from George Ingram - July 18, 2012.(PDF)

  • On August 6, 2012 several former Rideau Canal and Trent-Severn Waterway Superintendents and managers did a media release and letter to MPs titled The Rideau Canal and the Trent-Severn Waterway - A Future at Risk. In discussion about the new vision of the Government for our heritage canals, these former superintendents and managers state "This vision appears to describe a future without the expertise to understand and protect the natural and cultural resources of the two iconic waterways and seems to abandon any pretence of interpretation of these special places to Canadians." For the whole letter see: Media Release and Letter from former Rideau and Trent-Severn managers - August 6, 2012

  • As an example of Parks Canada's purge of scientific expertise, this blog describes the cuts to archaeological services within Parks Canada:

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