The Office of the Prime Minister’s proposed plan to re-open Parks Canada sites last year warned against telling prospective visitors that park attendance was free.
In an email sent on May 12, 2020, Justin Trudeau’s issues advisor Samantha Kim wrote to fellow staffers suggesting that Parks Canada employees could be handed “expired masks from the National Emergency Strategic Stockpile (NESS).
Some of the “less urgent” considerations included not publicizing that some parks were free in order to keep “too many people” from visiting:
Although fees remain in place, in some locations where protection is not yet installed, fees will not be collected in person.
We will not be publicizing this to avoid a perception of parks being free (which runs a risk of too many people going to the parks)
Kim also suggested giving Parks Canada staff some PPE that was rejected:
Parks has enough PPE already on hand for the initial opening, and is working with PSPC to ensure they secure some more for later
I understand some of the expired masks in the NESS and other supplies that were donated but didn’t meet standards could go towards that
As well, the email makes it sounds like Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Chrystia Freeland is running the show:
I understand the DPM suggested the PM may want to “announce” that national parks will continue to be closed.
And while the plan does not mention the environment minister Jonathan Wilkinson, under whom Parks Canada is assigned, tourism minister Mélanie Joly is noted to be in the loop and wanting to be involved:
I understand Minister Joly wanted to be engaged at some level given the potential implications for the tourism file.
You can read the full plan below.
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