1997 Meeting of Canadian Parks Ministers


St. John's, Newfoundland – October 3, 1997 -- Canada's federal, provincial and territorial ministers responsible for parks met today to discuss recent progress toward the goal of completing and implementing their action plans to achieve representation of biodiversity in their networks of protected areas. The ministers were meeting for the second consecutive year to discuss progress and common challenges they are facing.

"This kind of meeting is very important to us," said Secretary of State (Parks) Andy Mitchell, who chaired the meeting. "All ministers share a commitment to make every effort to complete Canada's networks of protected areas, representative of Canada's land-based natural regions by the year 2000. There is a big challenge ahead for all of us."

Sandra Kelly, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation for Newfoundland and Labrador, added: "One of the biggest challenges we face is one of balance. At the same time that we are working toward fulfilling our commitments to biodiversity and representation of eco-regions within protected areas, our governments have to be cognizant of economic realities. We need to work together cooperatively with all stakeholders to achieve this balance. I greatly appreciate the opportunity to hear the views and plans of my colleagues at this meeting," she said. The Minister was also delighted to announce the establishment of a provisional Ecological Reserve at Burnt Island.

Ministers also shared their innovative approaches for addressing the financial challenges facing Canada's parks systems.

"We want to maintain our momentum on all these issues," said Mr. Mitchell. "At the same time, we will direct our attention toward the marine environment. That's an important priority for all of us. With the largest coastline of any country in the world, our marine environment is important to all Canadians and will be a priority with the ministers."

Recognizing the value of annual meetings, the Ministers agreed to reconvene in British Columbia in 1998.

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Margot Doey-Vick
           Communications Advisor
           Office of the Secretary of State (Parks)
           (819) 953-1686
Laura Cochrane
           Director of Communications
           Department of Tourism, Culture & Recreation
           (709) 729-0928