Wednesday, April 10, 2013

By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – April 10, 2013

The Spectator’s View: Help for Haida cannon shot away

Preserving our national historical sites and sharing them with younger generations is critical to our future as Canadians.

But doing so costs money, sometimes a fair amount of money. And that can be hard to come by in the face of federal budget cuts and a report that warns about a third of our “cultural assets” are not in good shape.

So it should not be surprising that, after a five-year fee freeze, Parks Canada proposes to raise fees — and create a range of new ones — for our national parks and historic sites.

Generally, proposed increases for existing fees are at or somewhat above the consumer price index, and after five static years, that is reasonable. Parks Canada, though, has clearly put a lot of effort into creating a range of what sound to be very interesting proposed new programs and services that are aimed at pulling in cash to better cover the costs of maintaining our national treasures.

For HMCS Haida, the Hamilton-based national historic site, the proposal would mean a new array of possibilities for those with money to spend. As The Spectator’s Matthew Van Dongen has reported, for $500, you would be able to fire a dual four-inch turret gun on the Haida. For the same fee, you could sound the sirenete, a steam-powered horn purchased for $12,000 by the Friends of HMCS Haida, the volunteer organization dedicated to the Second World War ship that is the last Tribal class destroyer in the world. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)