A blue movement is spreading across our country, our province, and our municipalities. The Blue Dot Movement is a national campaign organized by the David Suzuki Foundation based on every Canadian’s right to a healthy environment, including clean air and water. Currently, there is nothing under Canadian environmental law that recognizes Canadians’ right to a healthy environment. Since more than 110 countries have this right protected under their constitution, and many more also include this right in their environmental laws, it is time for swift action to ensure that all Canadians have a say in decisions that affect their own health and well-being.
Here in Northumberland County, I am proud to say that Alderville First Nation and two out of the seven municipalities have declared their citizens’ right to a healthy environment. Cobourg first declared in late 2017, with Port Hope following suit in early 2018. Work continues among the dedicated volunteers to spread the word among the citizens of Northumberland County. This will help put more pressure on municipal, provincial, and federal governments to include this right for every Canadian.
Why this is important
- 1 in 4 low income Canadians live within one kilometer of a major source of industrial pollution. This needs to change. If we all had a right to a healthy environment, industry would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, that they are not polluting the air and water of their neighbours. Too often, this vulnerable population does not have the resources or legal backing to ensure their right to a healthy environment. They need our help.
- 85% of Canadians say our government should recognize the right to a healthy environment. This represents how much Canadians love the natural world around them. Whether it’s fishing, camping, hiking, skiing or simply sitting on the patio, Canadians love the outdoors. It’s time we protected the places we love.
- Climate Change is happening and unfortunately Canada will not meet its’ targets set by the Paris Climate Agreement if trends continue. Canada continues to contribute to the fossil fuel industry, a major source of air and water pollution. What future version of our Blue Planet do you want to see?
- Our environmental laws are not working to protect the people and places we love. Modernization to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA) is much needed. Modernization should include the introduction of enforceable national air quality standards, stronger protection from toxic exposure, and the recognition of the basic human right to a healthy environment, as well as adequate protection for vulnerable populations. Once CEPA is modernized, efforts will turn to amending the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to include the right to a healthy environment.
To continue being a leader in environmental and social justice, Canada’s environmental laws must evolve to finally recognize every citizen’s right to a healthy environment. With a progress update on CEPA modernization expected in June, we hope that the federal government is listening.
How you can help
Go online and sign the House of Commons E-Petition for CEPA Reform: https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-1659
Write a letter to your Member of Parliament!
Tweet your MP!
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get in touch with organizers and help spread the word.