State of Canada’s Natural and Cultural Heritage Places 2016

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Nearly Half of National Park Ecosystems Rate as ‘Fair’ or ‘Poor’ in Parks Canada Report

By Susan Lunn | January 26, 2017

A federal report by Parks Canada shows that almost half of the ecosystems in the country’s national parks remain in fair to poor condition, five years after a previous report with similar concerns.

The report, called State of Canada’s Natural and Cultural Heritage Places, was tabled in the House of Commons in mid-December.

It contains a table rating the condition of forests, freshwater lakes, wetlands and coastal areas in all national parks across the country.

The report finds that 29 of the 41 national parks and reserves measured had at least one ecosystem rated as fair or poor. Twelve of the parks or reserves had all of the areas measured rated as good. […]

Canadians currently have an opportunity to tell the minister directly what they want done with federal parks.

[Federal Environment Minister Catherine] McKenna has been holding in-person and online consultations with stakeholders and the general public. The consultations wrap up Friday.

More than 1,700 people have submitted comments, many of them urging the minister to put nature before development.

Woodley isn’t surprised.

“I think it’s important for this government to understand Canadians do love our national parks. They are one of our top symbols of national identity.

“But they love them because they’re natural. Because they’re wild spaces that are places where wildlife can live and where there’s pristine natural beauty,” Woodley said. …

Read the rest of this article at the CBC:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/parks-canada-report-condition-1.3952144

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State of Canada’s Natural and Cultural Heritage Places

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Politics and the English Language

“In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible.”

George Orwell, 1946, Politics and the English Language

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Read more about Trump and Orwell:

https://criticalheritagetourism.com/2017/01/25/trump-makes-dystopian-1984-bestselling-book/

Read more about Trump and Heritage:

https://www.academia.edu/30982164/Heritage_in_the_Age_of_Trump

https://criticalheritagetourism.com/2017/01/23/trump-exposes-hypocrisy-of-american-archaeology/

A Short History of ‘America First’

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A Short History of ‘America First’

The phrase used by President Trump has been linked to anti-Semitism during World War II.

By Krishnadev Calamur | January 21, 2017

President Trump’s speech Friday will go down as one of the shorter inaugural addresses, but it will also be remembered for its populist and often dark tone.

“From this day forward,” Trump said at one point, “it’s going to be only America first. America first.”

Trump appears to have first used the phrase last March in an interview with The New York Times when he denied he was an isolationist. “I’m not isolationist, but I am ‘America First,’” he said. “So I like the expression. I’m ‘America First.’”

Trump insisted publicly that he wrote his own speech, going as far as to tweet a picture of himself  holding a pen and piece of paper in his hotel at Mar-A-Lago. But as The Wall Street Journal reported Friday, Trump’s speech was at least in part written by Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller, two of Trump’s senior advisers. Bannon, as has been widely reported, was previously CEO of Breitbart, the conservative news site that he’s described as a platform for the alt-right, a movement that combines elements of white nationalism and economic populism.

“I don’t think we’ve had a speech like that since Andrew Jackson came to the White House,” Bannon told the Journal. “It’s got a deep root of patriotism.” …

Read the rest of this article at The Atlantic:

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/01/trump-america-first/514037/

The Unintended Consequences of UNESCO World Heritage Listing

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The Unintended Consequences of UNESCO World Heritage Listing

By Chloé Maurel | January 11, 2017

The principle of world heritage promoted by UNESCO is of crucial importance at a time when tourism has become a global phenomenon, involving more than a billion people and generating an annual revenue of nearly US$1245 billion in 2014.

With the 1972 Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, UNESCO created the list of sites thought to be of exceptional value. While listing does not automatically lead to funding for the protection of listed sites, and although UNESCO is powerless to stop them being destroyed or damaged (like the Buddhas of Bamiyan in Afghanistan, destroyed by the Taliban in 2001, or the Temple of Baal in Palmyra, Syria, demolished in 2015), the list of world heritage sites remains a key element of UNESCO’s work, and what it is best known for by the general public.

UNESCO world heritage listing confers prestige. It is sought after by countries wishing to promote their historical and natural assets, and gives them a place on the world stage.

Tangible, intangible and documentary heritage

The list of world heritage sites now comprises more than 1,000 sites. Another, the intangible cultural heritage list, was created in 2003 to catalogue practices, traditions, dances, customs and know-how, rather than physical sites. In part, its purpose is to redress the obvious asymmetry in the first list, which contains an overwhelming majority of European sites, while Africa is drastically underrepresented. Moreover, listed sites in Africa are mostly “natural” heritage sites, while Europe has a surfeit of “cultural” sites, such a churches and castles, that are already highly valued and do not necessarily require further protection.

In 1995, UNESCO also created a register called The Memory of the World, listing significant and sometimes endangered or fragile artefacts of human documentary heritage, such as the Bayeux tapestry.

It would be easy to assume that these initiatives unite people in a common effort to protect shared cultural heritage. In fact, they often spark power struggles and rivalries, or even open conflict, demonstrating that the principle of heritage can be appropriated for financial, political or geopolitical ends. …

Mass tourism at listed sites

Several cases illustrate the problematic nature of UNESCO’s heritage protection measures. Very often, the principle of world cultural heritage is diverted from its official purpose and used to promote tourism, or for political and economic reasons. In his study of UNESCO’s heritage policies, anthropologist David Berliner speaks of the “Unescoization” of the small heritage listed city of Luang Prabang in Laos. He demonstrates that one of the contradictory consequences of UNESCO protection is intense tourism development. …

Negative outcomes for local populations

Prestigious as it is, the list of world heritage sites can also negatively affect sections of the local population. In Panama City, the 1997 listing of the historic Casco Viejo neighbourhood relegated its poorest inhabitants to the city limits. Meanwhile, the central district became a tourist attraction. At the time, the Casco Viejo was a run-down neighbourhood. It underwent a radical transformation, resulting in the brutal eviction of people from the poorer classes, whose windows were boarded in attempts to force them out while the surrounding neighbourhood was restored and gentrified.

It is now largely inhabited by rich foreigners who buy up the best colonial buildings to sell off in parcels. Tourism in Panama City has increased exponentially since the heritage listing, homogenising the urban landscape and exacerbating inequalities. …

Read the full version of this article at The Conversation:

https://theconversation.com/the-unintended-consequences-of-unesco-world-heritage-listing-71047

Is Canada the World’s First ‘Postnational’ Country?

The Canada Experiment: Is this the World’s First ‘Postnational’ Country?

When Justin Trudeau said ‘there is no core identity, no mainstream in Canada’, he was articulating a uniquely Canadian philosophy that some find bewildering, even reckless – but could represent a radical new model of nationhood

By Charles Foran | The Independent | 04 January 2017

achs_maple-leafAs 2017 begins, Canada may be the last immigrant nation left standing. Our government believes in the value of immigration, as does the majority of the population. We took in an estimated 300,000 newcomers in 2016, including 48,000 refugees, and we want them to become citizens; around 85% of permanent residents eventually do. Recently there have been concerns about bringing in single Arab men, but otherwise Canada welcomes people from all faiths and corners. The greater Toronto area is now the most diverse city on the planet, with half its residents born outside the country; Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa and Montreal aren’t far behind. Annual immigration accounts for roughly 1% of the country’s current population of 36 million.

Canada has been over-praised lately for, in effect, going about our business as usual. In 2016 such luminaries as US President Barack Obama and Bono, no less, declared “the world needs more Canada”. In October, the Economist blared “Liberty Moves North: Canada’s Example to the World” on its cover, illustrated by the Statue of Liberty haloed in a maple leaf and wielding a hockey stick. Infamously, on the night of the US election Canada’s official immigration website crashed, apparently due to the volume of traffic.

Of course, 2016 was also the year – really the second running – when many western countries turned angrily against immigration, blaming it for a variety of ills in what journalist Doug Saunders calls the “global reflex appeal to fear”. Alongside the rise of nativism has emerged a new nationalism that can scarcely be bothered to deny its roots in racial identities and exclusionary narratives.

Compared to such hard stances, Canada’s almost cheerful commitment to inclusion might at first appear almost naive. It isn’t. There are practical reasons for keeping the doors open. Starting in the 1990s, low fertility and an aging population began slowing Canada’s natural growth rate. Ten years ago, two-thirds of population increase was courtesy of immigration. By 2030, it is projected to be 100%.

The economic benefits are also self-evident, especially if full citizenship is the agreed goal. All that “settlers” – ie, Canadians who are not indigenous to the land – need do is look in the mirror to recognize the generally happy ending of an immigrant saga. Our government repeats it, our statistics confirm it, our own eyes and ears register it: diversity fuels, not undermines, prosperity.

But as well as practical considerations for remaining an immigrant country, Canadians, by and large, are also philosophically predisposed to an openness that others find bewildering, even reckless. The prime minister, Justin Trudeau, articulated this when he told the New York Times Magazine that Canada could be the “first postnational state”. He added: “There is no core identity, no mainstream in Canada.”

The remark, made in October 2015, failed to cause a ripple – but when I mentioned it to Michael Bach, Germany’s minister for European affairs, who was touring Canada to learn more about integration, he was astounded. No European politician could say such a thing, he said. The thought was too radical. …

Read the rest of this article at The Independent:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/04/the-canada-experiment-is-this-the-worlds-first-postnational-country

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Trudeau More Dangerous to Heritage than Harper?

Trudeau, More Dangerous to Environment than Harper?

By Damien Gillis | 02 Dec 2016

Sometimes it’s no fun being right. Case in point: Three-and-a-half years ago I wrote a piece titled “Why Justin Trudeau may be more dangerous than Harper.”

Flash forward to today, and barely a year into his reign Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is batting almost a thousand when it comes to approving controversial energy projects, from liquefied natural gas plants in Squamish and Prince Rupert to permits for the Site C dam — and now Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline and Enbridge’s Line 3.

In that 2013 editorial, my main concern about the new Liberal leader was that his energy and trade policies were nearly identical to those of former prime minister Stephen Harper — they just looked and sounded better coming from Canada’s prodigal son.

Moreover, I already had the sense Trudeau wasn’t guided by a clear set of values, making him vulnerable to persuasive political advisors and powerful lobbies. With Harper, I noted three years ago, at least we had “a sense that his zeal for expanding Canada’s fossil fuel industries through foreign ownership is something in which he believes on a deep, ideological level.” With Harper, you knew exactly what you were getting — he loathed environmentalists and didn’t care much for “radical” First Nations either….

Read the rest of this article at The Tyee:

http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2016/12/02/Trudeau-Dangerous-to-the-Environment/