On International Human Rights Day, MPs representing all major parties in Canada support recognizing environmental rights as human rights
OTTAWA — Today, 32 federal members of Parliament showed their support for a growing movement to recognize the legal right to a healthy environment in Canada, by signing the David Suzuki Foundation’s MP Pledge for Environmental Rights. The first MPs to sign the pledge were announced today, in honour of International Human Rights Day.
“In less than two months, 32 MPs from across Canada have signed on, representing all major parties,” David Suzuki Foundation environmental rights campaign manager Peter Wood said. “We invite all remaining MPs to join and help make history.”
Globally, environmental rights are the fastest-growing body of human rights, now recognized in law in more than 150 countries. Canada is not on that list.
“Countries with environmental rights tend to perform much better environmentally and take bolder steps to fight environmental crises like climate change,” Wood said. “Considering what we’ve seen in the recent UN IPCC report, it’s clear we’re in the midst of a worldwide, massive environmental crisis. Today, on International Human Rights Day, let’s take the next step in strengthening our basic human rights in Canada by establishing the right to a healthy environment. It’s a no-brainer.”
A growing body of research suggests that environmental rights — including the right to clean air, safe water and a stable climate — are required to uphold other human rights, such as the right to “security of the person.” For example, Health Canada estimates that 14,400 Canadians die prematurely due to air pollution every year, a clear violation of that right.
“Recently, here at home and abroad, we’ve seen how quickly progress toward protecting the environment can be undone by new governments with differing priorities. We need to create a new paradigm in which environmental rights are considered basic human rights, so that key environmental protections are guaranteed, for the well-being of the planet and ourselves,” Wood said.
The David Suzuki Foundation’s Blue Dot movement launched the MP Pledge for Environmental Rights on October 20 — one year before the 2019 federal election — with the aim of securing public commitments from federal politicians to support environmental rights in Canada. Over the past four years, 172 municipalities have passed environmental rights declarations, representing nearly half of Canada’s population.
Both the federal Liberals and NDP adopted resolutions in 2018 that make supporting environmental rights party policy.
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