Vancouver Quadra MP Joyce Murray has unveiled her plan to introduce a bill to protect Gatineau Park.
“I’m doing this because it’s good public policy to protect this kind of park – this type of unique area – that is of national importance,” Ms. Murray said in an interview published by the French language newspaper le Droit on November 16.
The BC MP’s bill would provide legislated boundaries for the park, as well as a mechanism for expanding them. It would also encourage the National Capital Commission to pursue its repeated master plan commitments to acquire private lands in the park, and give the agency right of first refusal over any property sales in the park.
NDP MP Nycole Turmel also tabled a private members’ bill on Gatineau Park in 2012.
“Some citizens aren’t pleased with Ms. Turmel’s bill. They feel her proposed legislation doesn’t go far enough. Mine incorporates the essential part of Bill S-227, which had been preceded by wide consultations,” said Joyce Murray.
Two cornerstones of Ms. Murray’s private member’s bill would be protecting the park’s ecological integrity for the benefit of future generations, and eliminating any form of occupation or exploitation of Gatineau Park that are inconsistent with its public and ecological mandates.
For nearly a half century, citizens worried about the park’s future and ecology have been urging successive governments to enact legislation to secure its boundaries and ensure transparent, fair and democratic land management. All attempts to pass such legislation have failed thus far.
Lacking adequate legislative protection, Gatineau Park has had some eight square kilometres of land removed from it, while over 100 new houses have been built inside its boundaries over the last two decades.
The Vancouver Quadra MP’s move also follows on a detailed park protection proposal issued by Pontiac Liberal candidate Cindy Duncan McMillan during the 2008 federal election. Members of the Pontiac Federal Liberal Association are supporting Ms. Murray’s proposal.
The Gatineau Park Protection Committee applauds Ms. Murray’s legislative proposal and wholeheartedly support her approach.
Gatineau Park Protection Committee