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Save Our Rideau

Latest Correspondence

  • May 27, 2018 - Letter to the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change

  • May 31, 2018 - Letter to the Daniel Watson, Chief Executive Officer of Parks Canada

  • June 21, 2018 - Director Jewel Cunningham's reply to my May 27 letter to the Minister

  • June 26, 2018 - Letter to Minister McKenna in response to Director Cunningham's letter

  • These letters were written in response to the Minister's report (May 2018) on the Let's Talk Parks Canada! consultations. In that report, which is essentially a mandate letter to Parks Canada, she directs Parks Canada to change their present focus and to return to their legislated responsibilities, which for National Historic Sites such as the Rideau Canal, includes commemorative intergrity, particularly the public education component of commemorative integrity. The letter to the Minister was both to congratulate her and also list some of the current problems which, if Parks Canada actually follows her directives, should be fixed. The letter to Daniel Watson expands on the current problems with Parks Canada's administration of the Rideau Canal. The timing is critical since a new management plan is being developed and that plan should now fully reflect the Minister's directives.

    The first reply I received, from the Ontario Waterway's field unit Director, Jewel Cunningham, essentially says that they don't plan to follow the Minister's directives. So a disappointing start although it does make very clear that a significant cultural shift is needed in Parks Canada to place a priority on a natural and cultural heritage.
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 letters I received from Parks Canada - very (very) disappointing. There was a Liberal promise during the election to restore the damage done by the 2012 cuts to Parks Canada - that has yet to happen for the Rideau Canal. There is a bit of light now with the Minister's new directives (May 2018) to Parks Canada as a result of the January 2017, Let's Talk Parks Canada!  consultations.

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

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 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. That finally happened in May 2018 in her response to the Let's Talk Parks Canada consultations. Time will now tell if Parks Canada actually follows her directives to change focus back to heritage and ecology on the Rideau Canal


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
Michael Barrett 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
Michael Nadler Acting CEO of Parks Canada
? ? Senior Vice-President of Operations
? ? VP of Heritage Conservation and Commemoration
Pam Veinotte Executive Director, Waterways (Ontario & Québec)
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 top management can be sent to the Parks Canada Agency address, letters to Ontario Waterways 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