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South Okanagan-West Kootenay MP tables Environmental Bill of Rights

Canada is not taking bold enough steps to address environmental crisis — Cannings
MP Richard Cannings. (Contributed)

Local NDP MP Richard Cannings introduced two pieces of legislation into the House of Commons this week. One that creates a new Canadian Environmental Bill of Rights, and another protecting local lakes and rivers.

“A healthy environment is an integral part of what makes Canadians proud of our country. We need to enshrine the right to a healthy environment in our legal systems. The wellbeing of our communities—and ourselves—depends on it” said Cannings.

Cannings introduced his Environmental Bill of Rights on Thursday, Dec 16.

The Bill would bring Canada into line with more than 100 countries that have similar legislation and amends the Canadian Bill of Rights to add the right to live in a healthy and ecologically balanced environment. It would also provide the right to public participation in decision-making regarding the environment and the right to access information regarding the environment.

Earlier this week, Cannings introduced a bill that would restore protection to lakes and rivers that were protected under the Navigable Waters Protection Act but were stripped of that under the Harper Conservative government. The bill would restore protection for most waterways in South Okanagan-West Kootenay riding, including the Okanagan, Kettle, Granby and Slocan rivers and Osoyoos, Skaha, Slocan, Christina and Vaseux lakes.

“Canada is not taking bold enough steps to address the environmental crisis we’re facing. The government promised action and I’m hopeful that will mean these two measures will be embraced and passed into law” said Cannings.

Cannings ran on fighting for climate action. His Private Member’s Bill on the use of wood in government buildings has been, in a rare scenario, revived by Senate and is expected to make it back to the House of Commons in spring.

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