Let’s Get It Right: It’s Time to Strengthen Canada’s Environmental Laws

August 14, 2017 | By admin | Filed in: Environmental AssessmentWater and fisheries.

The federal Liberals came to power with a promise to restore
and strengthen Canada’s environmental laws. In June, 2016, the
government began a sweeping review of key environmental laws
and asked concerned individuals, communities, and organizations
to contribute.

They did – and we did, too. People from across the country,
including grass-roots activists, academic experts, Indigenous
governments and grassroots people alike – all pitched in.
MiningWatch helped organise some of those contributions, and
made our own as well. We’ve been working for years with
mining-affected communities and Indigenous peoples to use the
law to protect their lands, waters, and livelihoods, whether
through the Fisheries Act, the Canadian
Environmental Assessment Act.
Even the Navigable
Waters Protection Act
came into play. We went all the way
to the Supreme Court of Canada – and won – trying to protect
the the integrity of the environmental assessment process. We
have a pretty good idea by now of what does and doesn’t work,
and in whose interests.

Now it’s your turn. We need your help to keep the pressure on
our elected officials. They’ve heard what needs to be done, and
they’ve promised to do it, but they are under immense pressure
from outside, from industry and vested interests – and from the
inside, from captured regulatory agencies and hide-bound
bureaucracies. That’s why we are asking you to join us in
pressing the government to do the right thing – to
meaningfully strengthen Canada’s environmental laws. “Business
as usual” is no longer an acceptable option.

Members of Parliament also tend to care what voters in
their ridings have to say. So we’re asking you to send your MP
a personalized e-letter that lets them know that you want them
to do their jobs, to strengthen and modernize Canada’s
environmental laws. Cabinet ministers need to hear from us
loud and clear, too, so the letter will also be copied to the
relevant ministers.

Here’s how you can take action:

Tell your MP: I want a next-generation environmental
assessment law for Canada

We need stronger, fairer environmental assessment law that
respects Indigenous rights and authority, protects nature, and
empowers communities. But for this to happen the federal
government needs to make some serious changes to the law— like
making sustainability the core purpose of assessments, ensuring
a meaningful role for the public, and implementing the UN
Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples’
and the right to Free, Prior, Informed Consent as
highlighted by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s
Calls to Action.

Urge the federal government not to squander
this once-in-a-generation opportunity to fix environmental
assessment law and give us the tools we need to face
the future. 

Tell your MP: Protect wild
fish and their habitats for future generations

Despite being Canada’s oldest piece of environmental
legislation, the Fisheries Act, does not do
nearly enough to protect oceans, water and fish habitat. And it
does not address modern realities like climate change and fish
farming.

Now’s your chance to ensure the federal
government gets the Fisheries Act right and
protects wild fish, their habitats, and the communities that
depend on them
.

Write your local newspaper: Don’t
let 99% of Canada’s waterways go unprotected

Amendments to the Navigable Waters Protection Act, now
called the Navigation Protection Act, eliminated
oversight and approval requirements for work impacting
navigation on more than 99 per cent of Canadian waterways. It
also axed the requirement for environmental assessment on the
remaining waterways. These protections need to be restored.

You can help get the word out by telling your
local newspaper why protecting all navigable waters
matters.

Then, share these sites with your networks and
encourage your friends and family to take action!

If you like, use these Twitter hashtags to help
build momentum: #GetEARight – #GetFisheriesRight –
#GetNPARight

Let’s make sure government gets it
right
.


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