The South Okanagan Similkameen Preservation Society read with enthusiasm that Parks Canada was finally having public meetings, as promised. Only when we discovered that the public meeting was either stretched over 8 hours (Oliver May 14th) we were less enthused. Meetings only during the working day, or the equally long meetings in other communities proved the same – no public discourse. The format of the meetings will be more of the same information management by Parks Canada, which has proved to be so successful in suppressing the majority of residents in the area. The meetings will be small little kiosks, with quiet discussions for no one to hear the questions, and furthermore, no one to hear the answers. In their invitation, Parks Canada spoke of transparency.
What is more transparent is that this is more of the same: Parks Canada creating the message, managing the discussion within their terms, and on their timeline. In our discussion with locals, they are relying on their elected officials to represent them democratically, and insist that the fracture in the community created by the National Park Reserve be resolved with a local referendum. Communities most affected by the proposal deserve to have a say in inviting the Parks Canada agency onto their landscape.
Lionel Trudel, SOSPS