Mike Bossio, the Member of Parliament for Hastings—Lennox and Addington, called on the government today to strengthen environmental protection legislation in order to safeguard human and environmental health.
“I believe that people have a right to a healthy environment, and that should be enshrined in the Canadian Environmental Protection Act,” said Bossio.
Bossio is a member of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, which presented a report today entitled “Healthy Environment, Healthy Canadians, Healthy Economy: Strengthening the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999.”
The report calls on the government to recognize and protect environmental rights – the right to clean air and water and a healthy and ecologically balanced environment; the obligation of non-discrimination in environmental protection; and procedural rights, including access to information, public participation in environmental decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters.
“As a strong environmentalist, I have fought against the expansion of a mega-dump in our community for almost 20 years now,” said Bossio. “Protecting our drinking water from contamination is what drove me to become a community organizer, and then pushed me to take the next step to run to be a Member of Parliament. Pushing for these kinds of protections is one of my top legislative goals as a Member of Parliament.”
The existing legislation has now been in place for almost three decades.
“We are long overdue to update this legislation and take into account new science and ideas around environmental law,” said Bossio.
The Committee made 87 recommendations to the federal government, including prohibiting substances of very high concern unless industry can prove the substances can be used safely and there are no feasible substitutes; ensuring that vulnerable people are taken into consideration when the government assesses and manages new substances; implementing timelines throughout the Act to oblige action on toxic substances; and facilitating public participation in environmental decision-making and in enforcement of the Act.
“We are not done yet,” said Bossio. “This is an important step in the legislative process, and I will keep pushing to ensure that we get the environmental protection we need to protect human health and have a healthy environment now, and for future generations.”
The full report can be read here: http://www.ourcommons.ca/Content/Committee/421/ENVI/Reports/RP9037962/envirp08/envirp08-e.pdf