Amend the National Rouge Park Legislation to Prioritize Ecological Integrity

… ask your new federal government to keep its promise with these quick and simple steps:

  1. Click the button to create an email populated with key contacts.create email
  2. Copy the letter below into your email, personalize it if you like.
  3. Add your name and municipality and send your email.
  4. Email your friends and ask them to visit rougenationalparkfriends.com.

Thank you for thinking globally and acting locally

Note: Log into your email client before trying to send the letter. If pressing the button fails to generate an email for you, create your own and ensure it goes to justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca; Catherine.McKenna@parl.gc.ca; elizabeth.may@parl.gc.ca; thomas.mulcair@parl.gc.ca; rona.ambrose@parl.gc.ca; kirsty.duncan@parl.gc.ca; stephane.dion@parl.gc.ca; info@frw.ca

The Letter …

Re:  Amending the National Rouge Park Legislation to Prioritize Ecological Integrity

Dear Prime Minister, Ministers and MPs:

Congratulations on your recent election.  Thank you to the current government for promising to utilize “scientific evidence and the precautionary principle” to better protect our environment, climate, health and future.

I greatly appreciate that three federal parties (Liberal, NDP and Green) agree with the need to amend the National Rouge Park legislation and draft management plan to:

  1. make “the restoration and maintenance of ecological integrity the top priority”;
  2. support and implement Ontario Greenbelt, Rouge Park, Watershed and Oak Ridges Moraine (ORM) Plans;
  3. implement science-based federal guidelines for watershed, habitat and Great Lakes health; and
  4. include additional public lands to help achieve a 100+ square kilometre National Rouge Park.

Private Member’s Bill C-696 provides a basis for amending the park legislation and it can be improved by removing the dangerous misnomer “Urban” from the park name.  Rouge Park is meant to remain natural and rural – the exact opposite of urban.  The danger of the “Urban Park” template is revealed by Downsview National Urban Park which has plans to convert federal public park lands into thousands of private condominium units and expensive manicured landscapes.

Although the word urban describes land uses outside the park, it misrepresents Rouge Park’s natural and rural character, its nationally significant ecological and cultural features and its public enjoyment opportunities.  Rouge Park is located within Canada’s most endangered habitat zone – the Carolinian and Mixed Woodland Zone – home to one third of Canada’s endangered species.  Therefore, Rouge Park has greater existing and potential biological diversity than almost any other Canadian national park. It also has nationally significant aboriginal and pioneer legacies and two national historic sites.  Remarkably, the proposed National Rouge Park is larger than five existing national parks and it permanently connects with 7,200 square kilometres of Ontario Greenbelt lands.

The prioritization of ecological integrity and the implementation of existing Greenbelt, ORM, Rouge Park and watershed plans can occur while also supporting environmentally sustainable farming on a reasonable amount of Rouge Park’s publicly owned park lands.  For example, the Rouge Park “main ecological corridor” is less than twenty percent the average park width.  Existing Rouge Park Plans, and Rouge River and Duffins Creek Watershed Plans, identify areas for continued farming as well as areas for improving flood control, water quality, habitat and public access to public park lands.

To overcome the growing global challenges of costly climatic extremes, health damaging pollution and species extinction, we must all think globally and act locally.  With that in mind, Canadians need your help to create a 100+ square kilometre National Rouge Park which prioritizes the restoration and maintenance of ecological integrity.

I look forward to hearing from you about your plans to follow through with the above commitments and opportunities to amend the National Rouge Park legislation and draft management plan.

Sincerely,

Your name and municipality or riding

Many Eastern GTA candidates support stronger legislation and plan for a 100+ km2 Rouge National Park

Think Globally, Act Locally

Locally, a survey of candidates in 16 eastern GTA ridings by Friends of the Rouge Watershed shows that most candidates support amendments that would strengthen the Rouge National Park legislation and Plan by:

  1. Implementing existing Rouge Park, Watershed, Greenbelt and ORM Conservation Plans;
  2. Giving priority to the restoration and maintenance of ecological integrity in Rouge Park;
  3. Implementing the Greenbelt / Rouge Park “main ecological corridor” and science-based habitat recommendations;
  4. Enlarging Rouge Park to 100+ km2 by including additional public parklands and Greenbelt lands;
  5. Removing the dangerous misnomer “Urban” from the park name.

With respect to the 16 ridings surveyed and the above amendments to the federal Rouge Park legislation and Plan:

    • The NDP Party and 14 NDP candidates said “yes” to all five questions;
    • One NDP candidate responded in favour of questions 1 through 4;
    • One NDP candidate did not reply;
    • Ten Liberal candidates said “yes” to all five questions;
    • Six Liberal candidates responded in favour of questions 1 through 4;
    • The Green Party and all four Green candidates contacted said “yes” to all five questions;
    • The Conservative Party and its candidates did not reply.

“It is encouraging that so many federal candidates are willing to act locally to amend the Rouge National Park legislation to prioritize ecological integrity and respect conservation science” says FRW President Kevin O’Connor.

“There is a clear need to implement existing Rouge Park, Greenbelt, ORM and watershed plans to improve water quality and biodiversity, and combat dangerous pollution, climate change and flooding risks.” says Jim Robb of FRW.

candidate responses

 Five Rouge National Park Questions Posed to Candidates

Question 1:   If elected, will you support amendments to the Rouge National Urban Park Act and draft park management plan to support the implementation of the:    Greenbelt Act and Plan (2005);  Oak Ridges Moraine (ORM) Conservation Act (2001) and Plan (2002); Rouge Park Management Plan (1994) and Rouge North Management Plan (2001);  Little Rouge Corridor Management Plan (2007); Rouge Park Natural Heritage Action Plan (2008); and Rouge (2007) & Duffins (2003) Watershed Plans.

Question 2:  If elected, will you support the following amended wording for section 6(1) of the Rouge National Urban Park Act as proposed in the Bill introduced by MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan?   “The Minister must, when considering any aspect of the management of the Park, give priority to the restoration and maintenance of ecological integrity through the protection and restoration of natural resources and natural processes, while also giving consideration to cultural heritage, farming and infrastructure needs.”

Question 3:  If elected, will you support amendments to the Rouge National Urban Park Act and management plan to ensure timely implementation of the Greenbelt and Rouge Park North “main ecological corridor” and Environment Canada’s science-based recommendations for improving biological diversity and water quality?

Question 4:  If elected, will you support enlarging the National Rouge Park to 100+ km2 by including existing Rouge Valley and Park lands in Scarborough and Markham, and 24 km2 of additional federal lands in Pickering to shrink the Pickering Airport Zone?

Question 5:   If elected, will you support amending the Rouge National Urban Park Act to remove the dangerous misnomer “Urban” from the park name.

Attached please find:

  1. Copies of Green, NDP and Liberal responses to the five questions
  2. The Rouge Park Questions with supporting background information

For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:

Jim Robb, Friends of the Rouge Watershed Phone: 647-891-9550, Email: jimrobb@frw.ca

 

Proposed Rouge National Urban Park legislation and plan fail to meet existing environmental standards

Duguid letter to federal environment minister

Brad Duguid’s letter to federal environment minister (click to view PDF).

NGO coalition letter to Ottawa.

NGO Coalition letter to Ottawa (click to view PDF).


The draft Rouge National Urban (NU) Park legislation fails to “meet or exceed” existing Rouge Park, Greenbelt and ORM Policies and their “Ecological Integrity” goal, as the attached letters from Ontario Cabinet Minister Brad Duguid and our NGO coalition indicate.

Please send the following email to the listed federal officials to Help Protect Rouge Park

Step 1: Copy the following contact list into your email “To” window

pm@pm.gc.ca; Minister@ec.gc.ca; colin.carrie.c1a@parl.gc.ca

Step 2: Copy the following contact list into your email “Cc” window
Joe.Oliver@parl.gc.ca; Chris.Alexander.C1@parl.gc.ca;
lisa.raitt@parl.gc.ca; harold.albrecht@parl.gc.ca; john.mckay@parl.gc.ca;
John.McCallum@parl.gc.ca; peter.vanloan.c1@parl.gc.ca; Corneliu.Chisu@parl.gc.ca; CEOParksCanada@pc.gc.ca; alan.latourelle@pc.gc.ca; andrew.campbell@pc.gc.ca; bduguid.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org; leigh@frw.ca; jimrobb@frw.ca

Step 3: Copy the draft letter below into your email, personalize it as you
like, add your name and address at the bottom, and send it.


Dear Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq and Prime Minister Stephen Harper:

In 2013, the federal government agreed to “meet or exceed” Ontario’s Greenbelt, Rouge Park and Oak Ridges Moraine (ORM) policies during the drafting of the legislation and plan for a National Rouge Park.

Unfortunately, the draft National Rouge Park legislation and plan, released in June 2014, fails to “meet or exceed” these provincial policies, threatening to undermine decades of Rouge Park public policy development.

I support the Ontario Government and the many groups and citizens asking the federal government to:

1. “meet or exceed” existing Ontario Greenbelt, Rouge Park & ORM policies;
2. give priority to ecological integrity and science-based park
management;
3. implement Rouge Park’s “main ecological corridor” & plans to improve habitat & water quality;
4. create a 100 km2 national park on public Greenbelt lands linking Lake Ontario to the ORM.

These policies do not require the re-naturalization of all the leased farmlands in Rouge Park.

Existing Rouge Park Plans and adjacent Federal Green Space Preserve Plans have areas zoned for farming and areas zoned for nature and parkland enjoyment.

National Parks are extraordinary public lands where Canadians give priority to mother nature and ecological integrity.

I respectfully ask you to honour your government’s commitment to “meet or exceed” existing provincial policies by giving priority to “ecological integrity” within the legislation and management plan for the national Rouge Park.

I look forward to your favourable reply.

Sincerely, _____________________

Address


Thank you for your support.

Sincerely,

Jim Robb

for Friends of the Rouge Watershed, 647-891-9550

Ontario and Cabinet Minister Brad Duguid won’t let Ottawa put Rouge at Risk

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Brad Duguid editorial argues for commitment to Rouge ecosystem, Toronto Star, Sept. 3, 2014

Brad Duguid editorial argues for commitment to Rouge ecosystem, Toronto Star, Sept. 3, 2014

In June, the federal government introduced Bill C-40 to establish Rouge National Urban Park. Unfortunately, that legislation as it stands is silent on the Memorandum of Agreement requirement to meet or exceed provincial standards for ecological integrity.

 

Those amendments to Bill C-40 should explicitly state that Ontario’s existing provincial policies and plans that enhance ecological integrity of the proposed Rouge National Urban Park will be met or exceeded. The amendments should also include a commitment that the federal government will conform to provincial policies such as the Greenbelt Plan (2005), the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan, the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe and the Big Move.

Major environmental groups applaud Ontario’s refusal to transfer Rouge Park lands

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… the draft federal legislation does not prioritize ecological integrity in park management and it does not honour a January 2013 Memorandum of Agreement signed between Parks Canada and the Ontario government requiring written park policies that ‘meet or exceed provincial policies.’

NGO media statement (September 3, 2014) applauds provincial meet or exceed stance.

NGO media statement (Sept. 3, 2014) applauds provincial meet or exceed stance. Click on image to view PDF.

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