By: Sana Ahmed
The City of Brampton has officially passed a declaration in support of environmental rights for all Canadians.
The motion was brought forward by Councillor Doug Whillans during a recent Planning and Infrastructure Committee meeting, which was passed just after members of the Brampton Blue Dot Movement, Peel Environmental Youth Alliance (PEYA), and James Linn, a Brampton Blue Dot volunteer, spoke about the urgent need to recognize environmental rights, as not all citizens have access to a clean environment.
The dedicated group of volunteers spent over a year speaking with residents about their right to live in a healthy environment through social media, canvassing and local events, which helped the movement raise over 600 signatures. With such a strong backing from the community, the group turned their attention to City Council.
The declaration was championed by Councillor Whillans and Councillor Jeff Bowman, and further supported by the Planning and Development staff, including Manager of Environmental Planning, Susan Jorgenson, and Environmental Policy Planner, Michael Hoy. Guidance and support was also generously given by David Laing, Co-chair of the Brampton Environmental Advisory Committee, who delegated on behalf of Brampton Blue Dot stating that environmental rights is crucial to preserving ecological balance so that future generations can live full and healthy lives.
By passing the declaration, the City of Brampton has taken a stand for clean water, fresh air and healthy food for all Canadians, and has further supported the municipality’s own vision of environmental sustainability outlined in the Brampton Go Green Environmental Master Plan.
Brampton is now the 143rd municipality to join David Suzuki Foundation’s Blue Dot Movement, which is working towards adding environmental rights to the Canadian Constitution. The right to a healthy environment is recognized by over 110 nations and passing the declaration is the first step to achieving this goal.
The Blue Dot Movement has moved on to phase two of the plan, which is to strengthen and/or implement Environmental Bill of Rights in each province. Ontario has had an Environmental Bill of Rights (OEBR) since 1993; however the Bill is outdated and in need of considerable improvements.