Monday, 14 May 2012


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.

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