The Gatineau Park News blog mentioned that the Gatineau Park Protection Committee released the following “press release” (of which I’m only quoting the English version after the jump) concerning their “review” of the full version of the Gatineau Park Ecosystem Conservation Plan document, which they “leaked” on their website:
GPPC Releases Full Conservation Plan
Chelsea, April 16, 2010 – The GPPC is releasing the Gatineau Park Ecosystem Conservation Plan— a full month after the National Capital Commission (NCC) claimed to do so.
“On March 17, the NCC fooled the public into believing it was releasing its park conservation plan, although it only provided a summary,” said GPPC co-chair Andrew McDermott. “After reading the plan from cover to cover, we understand why the NCC kept it out of the public eye: it was rank with mistakes – 504 of them in the English version,” he said.
Although the NCC promised to table a conservation plan by 2008 in its 2005 Gatineau Park Master Plan (p. 20), the NCC has so far failed to make the full document public.
“Not only is the conservation plan two years late, and filled with mistakes, the NCC’s press conference on the subject was a circus of confusion, as demonstrated when CEO Marie Lemay falsely claimed that park visitorship was three times greater than it was 30 years ago,” said Mr. McDermott. “However, the 1980 Gatineau Park Master Plan (p.9) claimed that park visitorship in 1978 was ‘over two million persons,’ while the NCC’s most recent figures place it at 1.7 million,” he added.
The GPPC also notes with concern Ms. Lemay’s continued disregard for the basic facts about Gatineau Park, in particular with regard to its boundaries and land mass.
“In a March 19, 2010 open letter, Ms. Lemay claimed without evidence that the St.-Raymond Boulevard Loblaws and Tim Horton’s had never been in the park. Well, we sent the NCC two maps proving the opposite – one from the NCC, the other from Environment Quebec – and challenged Ms. Lemay to a debate on the issue,” said Mr. McDermott. “And she still claims the park’s size has increased by 700 hectares, while it has in fact decreased by some eight square kilometres,” he added.
“A reading of the full conservation plan reinforces our conviction that it’s a wholesale swindle perpetrated at taxpayer expense; however, we’ve posted in on the GPPC Web site as a public service to allow all Canadians to see for themselves just how flawed it is,” Mr. McDermott said.
“The conservation plan is predicated on keeping people out of the park by invoking the precautionary principle, which boils down to saying ‘We don’t have much evidence confirming the public is damaging ecosystems, but let’s keep them out, just in case,’ particularly where rock climbers are concerned,” Mr. McDermott said.
The document can be consulted at: http://www.gatineauparc.ca/documents_en.html
Information: Andrew McDermott: 613-316-1320 ; 819-827-1803
Reading that you might think that the “504 mistakes” in the English version are serious mistakes that throw into question the very plan itself. And you’d be forgiven for thinking that.
Instead, according to a lengthy rant of a comment by Andrew McDermott on the Gatineau Park News article about the GPPC “leak”, the bulk of these “mistakes” are actually relatively trivial punctuation and font issues that are often found in documents that have been translated from French to English but have not gone through a comparative edit process to clean them up, such as the document in question.
According to the GPPC, there are 151 instances where a colon was preceded by a space, which is the rule in French. A further 59 instances were identified where “e.g.” or “i.e.” was not followed by a comma.
I hope you’re sitting down for the next one, because it’s a doozy…
In some of the illustrations there is English text that is italicized, while French text is not.
(I trust you survived that shocking revelation. If not, my apologies and condolences to your next of kin.)
They also identified some grammatical errors that are not uncommon in translations.
They didn’t, however, identify a large number of factual problems with the report. One they did mention concerns the description of the Eardley Escarpment that I mentioned in my Limestone versus Granite entry on April 1st.
Now, let’s be clear about something: I’m not saying that the punctuation and other problems they’ve identified don’t exist in the English version of the document that I received from the NCC a couple of weeks ago. They do.
Nor am I saying that the punctuation and other issues are so trivial that they need not be fixed. They do.
But I expect they will be resolved before the full version of the GPECP is eventually officially released by the NCC.
The Gatineau Park Protection Committee has failed in a particularly spectacular manner by focusing on the trivial rather than important issues with the GPECP. They could have done an in-depth analysis of the plan like I did for Appendix 2, but they didn’t.
(Oh, and for the record, technically I beat them to the punch in “leaking” the plan when I posted Appendix 2 of the full plan as part of my blog entry that looked at it. But I didn’t view the act of “leaking” part of the plan as important as the plan itself because it’s wasn’t.)