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Save Our Rideau

Latest Correspondence

  • June 22, 2017 - Letter to the Honourable Catherine McKenna,
    Minister of the Environment and Climate Change

  • Different tactic in this one. Same problems but this one focuses on the Liberal promise during the election to reverse the cuts done to Parks Canada by the Harper Government. Something the Liberal government has yet to do, Minister McKenna is apparently not paying any attention to what Parks Canada is doing to the Rideau Canal.

    February 23, 2018 update: still no reply from the Minister's office, but I did get a non-answer from Parks Canada, something that you can see in my letter to the Minister that I specifically asked them not to do. I wished to know what the Minister is doing about the issues I raised - apparently, based on this response, she had no interest in the Rideau Canal. It's a shame
It's a bit of a frustrating experience writing to the Government of Canada about problems with Parks Canada's administration of the Rideau Canal since it is Parks Canada itself that writes the replies (which the Minister rubber stamps). You can read my letter to Minister McKenna and the blow off letter I received - very (very) disappointing. Unfortunately since the Minister is responsible for the very important and time consuming Climate Change portfolio she's been ignoring other Ministry of Environment issues such as the many problems with Parks Canada. A Liberal promise during the election was to restore the damage done by the 2012 cuts to Parks Canada - that has yet to happen for the Rideau Canal.

I would still encourage people to write to the minister. Hopefully at some point she'll start to pay attention to the problems with Parks Canada created by the previous government.

Write to the Minister

With a new government comes hope and everyone is encouraged to write to the new minister in charge of Parks Canada, the Hon. Catherine McKenna. The message can be a simple one, fix Parks Canada and have them return to their legislated mandate for the Rideau Canal, that of preserving and presenting the heritage of the canal. You can see a copies of the letters I've written:
Send emails or a written letter expressing your personal concerns to:

The Honourable Catherine McKenna
Minister of the Environment and Climate Change
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6

May 13, 2016 Update - it took 185 days, but I finally received a reply to my letter, very disappointing, essentially a blow-off letter, written by the "old" Parks Canada on behalf of the Minister - it doesn't reflect the stated goals of the new government. Either the Minister didn't actually read the reply Parks Canada prepared or she doesn't understand the issues <sigh>.

However, it is still worth writing in the hope that the Minister may in fact read about the problems still facing the Rideau (such as the lack of heritage presentation, lack of public engagement, lack of educational programming, lack of science (ecology and heritage), etc. etc.)

Whether your concern is about crumbling infrastructure on the Rideau Canal, lack of heritage support for the Rideau Canal, or loss of wildlife habitat due to improper development, you should make your voice known to those in charge. You find a list of email contacts on this page.

If you've read through this website, you'll see that it's not a new problem, the recent cuts have only exacerbated an existing problem of lack of support for the heritage of the Rideau Canal. As noted on this website, there are lots of issues, not simply the recent cuts, to chose from.

It was the Government of Canada and former Prime Minister Stephen Harper who were responsible for the cuts to the Rideau Canal. They made a decision to cut support for Canadian heritage while at the same time increasing spending in other areas. It's not a question of money, it's a question of priorities. I'm sure you can come up with dozens of ways that the government is inappropriately spending money other than the modest amount required for the Rideau Canal.

Parks Canada is an agency under Environment Canada. The minister for that department, Catherine McKenna, can mandate that Parks Canada better support the Rideau Canal. I've written her a letter (see Correspondence below) and will post the reply when I receive it. With the previous government, I wrote a letter in 2012 to the Minister of the Environment at that time, Peter Kent (who got turfed from that position in July, 2013) and waited 207 days and got a form letter reply that didn't answer a single question I asked. Kent's replacement, Leona Aglukkaq, was no better. Hopefully now that we have a new government, the new minister, Catherine McKenna (who happens to have part of the Rideau Canal running through her riding), will be more responsive (October 2016 update - this has yet to happen, the Minister has so far ignored the serious issues with Parks Canada).

Directly it is Parks Canada who have over the last decade, cut heritage support for the Rideau Canal and now, with a government mandated blanket cut to their budget, decided to make that cut deeper on the Rideau Canal (and other National Historic Sites) than other areas of their jurisdiction.

It is also local politicians (federal, provincial, and municipal) who should be fighting to maintain the heritage values of the Rideau Canal - both for cultural reasons (the direct heritage of many of their constituents) and for economic reasons. They should be championing the Rideau Canal. Municipal representatives are on the public record with concerns about the season and the proposed fee structure. Rideau MPs have been generally quiet on the issue.


Even if you are writing to Parks Canada it is always best to copy your correspondence to the PM, Minister McKenna and local MPs. Here are a few to get you started:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:

Minister of Environment, Catherine McKenna:

A few Rideau area MPs:

Name Email Constituency Affiliation
Chandra Arya Nepean Liberal
Mauril Bélanger Ottawa - Vanier Liberal
Gord Brown Leeds–Grenville–Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes Conservative
Mark Gerretsen Kingston and the Islands Liberal
David McGuinty Ottawa South Liberal
Catherine McKenna Ottawa Centre Liberal
Scott Reid Lanark-Frontenac-
Lennox and Addington
Anita Vandenbeld Ottawa West - Nepean Liberal
You can find the address of your local MP here:


When you write to Parks Canada, be sure to cc a few politicians (see above):

Name Email Position
Daniel Watson CEO of Parks Canada
Thao Pham Senior Vice-President of Operations
George Green VP of Heritage Conservation and Commemoration
Darlene Upton Executive Director, Ontario and Waterways
Jewel Cunningham Director, Ontario Waterways


If you would like to write a real letter and mail it, the following addresses can be used. Letters to Daniel Watson, Thao Pham and George Green can be sent to the Parks Canada Agency address, letters to Darlene Upton and Jewel Cunningham can be sent to the Rideau Canal Office address and letters to the PM and MPs can be sent (no stamp required) to the House of Commons address.

Parks Canada Agency
30 Victoria Street
Gatineau, QC J8X 0B3
    Rideau Canal Office
34 Beckwith Street South
Smiths Falls, ON K7A 2A8
    House of Commons
Parliament Building
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

Save Our Rideau Poster I've created a poster than can be printed at home or at work. Feel free to post it anywhere you think this issue needs attention. Please post it respectfully (and legally) - use public bulletin boards and such. Simply download the poster and print it (320K PDF)


  • October 31, 2016 - Letter to George Green, Vice-President, Indigenous Affairs and Cultural Heritage, Parks Canada

  • February 2, 2017 - Reply from George Green

  • Letter to the Hon. Catherine McKenna - November 10, 2015 (PDF)

    Response to letter: Unfortunately a bit of a blow-off reply - Letter from Hon. Catherine McKenna - May 9, 2016

    Letter to the Hon. Peter Kent - July 6, 2012 (PDF)

    Responses to letter:

    • July 9 - 7:30 am - email acknowledgement of receipt from Gord Brown's office
    • July 9 - 1:18 pm - email acknowlegement of receipt from the Prime Minister's Office noting that my comments "will receive due consideration from the Minister" [Peter Kent]
    • January 29, 2013, 1:24 pm - I waited 207 days, 3 hours and 35 minutes to receive a form letter reply (via PDF attachment in a blank email) from Minister Kent that didn't address any of the issues raised in my letter (which, given their reply, they clearly never read). See the Word Cloud analysis below. Given the PMO's comment that my letter "will receive due consideration from the Minister" and the resulting form letter that didn't address any of the heritage issues clearly means that the Government of Canada, and certainly Minister Kent, do not care about the Rideau Canal. It's a shame. Read the reply and judge for yourself.

    Letter to Gord Brown, MP in response to a July 10, 2012 press release. The press release is included with the letter. (PDF)

    Word Cloud Analysis
    Letter to Minister of Environment Letter from Minister of Environment

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    Email Comments: send me email: Ken Watson

    © 2012- Ken W. Watson