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Canada Plans 10 New National Parks

October 3, 2002

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OTTAWA (AP) _ Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien said Thursday his government would create 10 new national parks and five new marine conservation areas over the next five years.

Creation of the parks, first signaled in a speech this week outlining Chretien’s plans for his final 17 months in office, will ``substantially complete″ Canada’s national parks system, the prime minister said.

The areas to be protected, mostly in remote northern regions of the country, cover about 40,000 square miles of wilderness.

No figures for the cost of the new protected areas was announced, with details still to be worked out in negotiations with provincial governments and Indian and Inuit groups, Chretien said.

Canada, the world’s second largest country in terms of area after Russia, currently has 39 national parks covering approximately 2 percent of its land. The new parks announced Thursday would increase the total area to just over 3 percent of its territory.

Chretien, prime minister since 1993, announced in August he would step down in February 2004.

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