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Written by Loni Klettl - An Ambassador for our Park and it's People!!
4:20 a.m. May 1. I woke up with a start. It was the day after “ Parks Canada D-Day.”
I sensed a cold grey pallor that hangs, lingers over the town, a
unsettling quiet blankets the streets. I feel the icy cold tendrils of
despair, disbelief that creeps and engulfs schoolyards and coffee
shops. A knife stabs and twists as sadness, realization of a sudden
forced life change avalanches down Tekarra, Pyramid and Cavell to the
boulders below. Shattering, splintering the coloured mosaic of our town.
My friend Wendy, walked into a room April 30 at 4:00 and was informed
that her job didn’t exist anymore. ‘ Surplussed.’ She was not alone; 40
other ‘ affected ‘ or ‘surplussed’ Jasperites stepped over that
threshold to receive what could be the worst news of their lives.
Wendy has worked for Parks Canada for 27 years. For the last 15 she has
managed the JNP Information Centre with imagination, quiet confidence,
wisdom, ingenuity and calm intellect. Wendy has an innate gift; the
ability to listen, then assess, a rare trait that many desire but few
possess. An unstuffed head, a practical sense of right and wrong gave
Wendy the freedom to inspire her staff to ensure park visitors had the
best experience possible. The other 40 ‘affected’ Jasperites
all carry their own brand and self code of spirited dedication. To be
able to say with pride that their job was their lifestyle and that they
have made a difference. These qualities have fanned out, wound,
threaded and woven into a tight knit fabric, a community quilt. They
all contributed much to make our town a better place to live and visit.
Radical government cuts parallel a poorly planned wartime tragedy.
Government ordering generals, commanding officers and managers to make
incredible difficult decisions that will have long reaching,
unforeseen, unpredictable impacts. Who dies, who doesn’t, others will
be mortally wounded and never recover. The lucky ones that survive try
to salvage, rebuild. Friends lost, battle scars go deep, scar tissue
goes deeper. Dizzy, unfocused eyes fixate on empty chairs, empty
offices. Government has little regard for the most powerful
weapon, the human resource. They are unable to comprehend the symbiotic
mesh, the intricate clockwork that motivates and inspires Parks Canada
employees. They do not deserve this disregard just to satisfy an
objective, campaign, or to fulfil the latest government’s whim.
Come on people! , this is Canada, our country, our homes, our parks.
Government has gone too far, a headless horseman whipping his crazed,
wide eyed horse. Hell bent, bit between its teeth, stampeding,
trampling, crushing everything in its desperate charge, oblivious to
the destruction left in its wake. This horse must be reined in, leg
pressure applied, heels dug in. My friend, Wendy is unsure
about the future. Shock is still resonating, dust has yet to settle.
All 41 ‘affected ‘ Jasperites will take their ingrained park values,
zest for the environment and national historic sites and channel it
elsewhere. An unnecessary exodus of skills, passion and knowledge. What has been sacrificed ? What has been gained ? What will be affected ? Time is the only honest judge.