Proposed parks act will dilute laws, critics warn
A proposed bill aimed at consolidating and strengthening the province’s patchwork of laws and regulations governing parks may in fact have the opposite effect, warn critics.
Conservationists, opposition parties and legal experts say Bill 29, the Alberta Parks Act, threatens to erode existing environmental protections, open the door to more industrial and recreational intrusion and grant the parks minister unilateral power to change the rules.
“As a whole it represents a continuation of the trend that this government is operating on,” says Rachel Notley, MLA for Edmonton-Strathcona and NDP environment critic. “Which is to move pieces of regulation into legislation and to give itself greater and greater discretionary authority to make decisions behind closed doors at the cabinet table.”
Bill 29, which passed first reading in the legislature November 4, aims to “foster an Alberta parks system that conserves unique and representative land within Alberta’s natural regions for present and future generations, while balancing environmental conservation and recreation and tourism opportunities.”
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