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Will the City of Mississauga support the right to a healthy environment?
BY KELLY ROCHE
A local push to stand up for the right to a healthy environment in Canada is being spearheaded by a Lorne Park resident and a Streetsville business owner.
“Let’s open up the Charter of Rights and make this happen,” said Cameron McCuaig.
Advocating the right to clean air and water, safe food, a stable climate and a say in decisions affecting our health and well-being, it’s a project from the David Suzuki Foundation.
Municipalities nationwide are being asked to pass declarations respecting residents’ right to live in a healthy environment.
“We, as the City of Mississauga, we don’t have to wait for the province, for the federal government to tell us what to do. We have the capability of leading,” said McCuaig.
The next step is to have provincial and federal decision-makers follow suit and pass environmental bills of rights.
The Blue Dot movement is gaining momentum nationwide, with 119 municipalities passing local environmental rights declarations since its fall 2014 launch.
The United Nations’ 1972 Stockholm Declaration on the Human Environment proclaimed people have “the fundamental right to freedom, equality and adequate conditions of life, in an environment of a quality that permits a life of dignity and well-being.”
At least 110 countries have passed laws since, however, Canada isn’t among them.
McCuaig said they have the support of the city’s environmental action committee, and the matter will be brought forward at the Mar. 23 general committee meeting.
Ward 1 Coun. Jim Tovey said Blue Dot is something he endorses.
“Anytime we can create more awareness for the environment and the importance of sustainability, period, is a good thing,” said Tovey.
But complexities surround defining healthy air and water, said McCuaig.
Once determined, “it will then stimulate the writing of new laws and regulation to up our game,” he said.
Our country has 7 per cent of the world’s renewable fresh water, according to Environment Canada.
McCuaig added he’s shocked a binding agreement hasn’t yet been adapted in Canada.
“It can’t be something that we wish to do,” he said.
Their goal is to have council enact a declaration before Earth Day, Apr. 22.