Editorial Exchange: Finance Minister Jim Flaherty Neglects Endangered Parks Canada Historic Buildings

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Editorial Exchange: Finance Minister Jim Flaherty neglects endangered Parks Canada historic buildings

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An editorial from the Toronto Star, published Feb. 18:

They've withstood the ravages of history but Parks Canada's forts, heritage houses and other irreplaceable assets are now under threat from Tory neglect.

More than 60 per cent of these 2,000 historic holdings are in poor or very poor condition, according to a consultant's report commissioned by the national parks agency. Yet there's little relief to be found in last week's federal budget.

For a government that makes an outward show of celebrating Canada's historic legacy, this neglect seems nothing short of hypocritical.

Yes, the federal budget did include $391.5 million, over five years, in additional funding for Parks Canada. But the overall repair backlog has been pegged at a staggering $2.9 billion. And that's an old estimate. The actual cost will likely be even higher.

Promised new money won't come close to filling that gap. As reported by the Star's Alex Boutilier, Parks Canada has been hit by cuts in the recent past. Its capital budget in 2012 totaled just $76.6 million.

Furthermore, much of the budget's new funding has already been allocated by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty to roadway, bridge and dam upgrades in the park system, especially to paving a section of the Trans-Canada Highway through Glacier National Park in the Rockies. …