Federal and Provincial Greens Join Forces To Call For Premier Houston To Support Environmental Racism Bill C-226 from Elizabeth May
HALIFAX – The Green Party of Nova Scotia and the Green Party of Canada joined forces today to call on Nova Scotia Premier, Tim Houston, to help end environmental racism, not just here at home but across the country.
Ending environmental racism, the disproportionate location of polluting or hazardous sites near Indigenous, racialized or other marginalized communities, is at the heart of Bill-C-226 which was introduced by Green Party parliamentary leader Elizabeth May MP in the last session of Parliament.
This bill would develop a national strategy to assess, prevent and address environmental racism. The Interim Leader of the GPC, Amita Kuttner, joined Green Party of Nova Scotia leader, Anthony Edmonds in Halifax today to help draw attention to this issue that Nova Scotians know so well.
Bill C-226 carries on the legacy of the earlier, similar Bill C-230, which was put forward in 2020 by then Liberal MP Lenore Zann and enjoyed multi-partisan support but did not become law before the 2021 election. On June 22, Bill C-226 passed second reading and will need broad support in the House of Commons.
Interim Green Party leader Amita Kuttner says environmental racism is an issue that needs to be addressed urgently : “ For many reasons, marginalised communities are the first to feel the impacts of climate change and environmental destruction. Directly addressing environmental racism is more than necessary, both past and present and working diligently to prevent future instances. “
Green Party of Nova Scotia leader Anthony Edmonds calls this an issue that transcends politics: “Lenore Zann saw environmental racism as both a rural and urban issue. Dr. Ingrid Waldron saw it as both a healthcare and environment issue. I see it as an issue that must be above politics. Clean air and water aren’t just fundamental to our health; they are a birthright. By putting a stop to environmental racism, we are defending our birthright, and this means a better future for all of us.”
The Green Party of Nova Scotia calls on Premier Tim Houston to speak out in support of Bill C-226, in the spirit of his own government’s Bill 57, the Environmental Goals and Climate Change Reduction Act. That act included an opposition amendment to establish a panel on environmental racism by the end of this year. Working alongside the federal government to address environmental racism could deliver better results for Nova Scotians.
Environmental racism has affected a number of communities in Nova Scotia, many of which have been extensively catalogued by the ENRICH Project. Dr. Ingrid Waldron’s book, There’s Something In The Water, drew wide attention to a tragic part of Nova Scotia’s record on this issue. Waldron’s book and the documentary film that it inspired, directed by Elliot Page and Ian Daniel, tell the stories of communities like Shelburne, where water can be unfit even for bathing.
“It’s time for all orders of government to put people and planet before politics and work together to end environmental racism and create a livable future for everyone.”
Elizabeth May sees this support in a good light : "As Premier Houston seems to put the "progressive" into Progressive Conservative, I really appreciate any support. Every single Nova Scotia Conservative, in fact every Conservative MP in parliament voted against C-226. Fighting for environmental justice must not be partisan. As the abuser of environmental rights, Northern Pulp fights Nova Scotia in court, trying to claim hundreds of millions of dollars in damages, let's take a stand. The toxic pollution of Pictou Landing First Nation must not be forgotten. We need C-226 and environmental justice. "
For additional information or to arrange an interview, contact:
Fabrice Lachance Nové
Press Secretary – Green party of Canada