Maintain Protections for Canadian Environment and Public Health

Target: Canadian Members of Parliament

Goal: Ensure that Canada’s waterways and fisheries remain legally protected from development and that the use of hazardous materials remains regulated.

Proposed legislation in Canada would threaten waterways, eliminate environmental jobs, remove oversight of hazardous materials, and reduce public consultation regarding environmental protection changes. Conservation organizations, Canadian First Nations, grassroots organizations and recreation groups have come together to oppose new changes to the C-45 Omnibus Bill, voicing their concerns in a joint letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Members of Parliament.

This bill would remove some of Canada’s most important environmental laws, including major reduction of waterway protection under the Navigable Waters Protection Act. While about 32,000 lakes throughout Canada require protection, only 97 would be covered in the new legislation, opening the way for pipeline construction and other industrial use with little environmental review. Resource extraction, namely of oil and gas would be given new access to large amounts of land and water, the exploitation of which would threaten wildlife and ecosystems.

In addition, the bill compromises the Fisheries Act and the Hazardous Materials Information Review Act, which help ensure maintenance of water and air quality. The new bill would eliminate the Hazardous Materials Information Review Commission, which oversees the use and distribution of toxic chemicals and hazardous materials in the workplace and in products. There must be accountability and transparency in order to protect people and the environment. Further, the bill would reduce requirements for informing and consulting the public in various matters affecting their environment and communities. Please demand that Members of Parliament prioritize people and the environment by informing the public about all changes, and reconsidering this dangerous legislation.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Members of Parliament,

Several of Canada’s most important environmental and public health laws are at risk because of recent changes to the C-45 Omnibus Bill, which is being debated in Parliament. Diverse organizations including Canadian First Nations, Conservation groups such as Ecojustice, grassroots organizations, and recreation groups, have come together to send a letter, on behalf of Canadian communities, wildlife and environment to the Prime Minister and Parliament opposing such changes to the legislation.

Under the new bill, the Navigable Waters Protection Act would protect only 97 lakes of about 32,000 that need protection. Further, this protection would include an exemption for oil and gas pipelines, making it easier for industrial development to occur in and around lakes and watersheds. Such industrial development comes with high risk of toxic pollution and major disruption or destruction of ecosystems and wildlife. The Fisheries Act would also be compromised, as habitat protection for certain harvestable fish would not be ensured.

In addition the new bill would eliminate the Hazardous Materials Information Review Commission, leaving no independent body to oversee use and distribution of toxic and hazardous materials in the workplace or market. Please ensure that key environmental and public health protections are maintained before passing this legislation, and both inform and consult the public when changes are made.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Redeo via Flickr

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2 Comments

  1. The environment gives us our health. Without it we succumb.

  2. Think of the negative impact it would have on Canadian fishing and tourism industries if commercial development were allowed to be unfetteredI or if they were diluted from a hazardous materials spill?

    And that’s not even taking into account the effect it would have on the residents living near the waterways.

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