Green Party Leader Elizabeth May Testifies Before Senate Committee: Advocates for Bill C-226 to Combat Environmental Racism

OTTAWA - On March 19, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May answered questions on Bill C-226 at the Senate energy, the environment and natural resources committee. C-226 is a pivotal piece of legislation aimed at combating environmental racism in Canada. May’s testimony marks yet another milestone in the journey of the bill. The legislation has garnered widespread support and recognition.

Bill C-226 is inspired by the grassroots activism of communities in Nova Scotia and the academic work of Dr. Ingrid Waldron. It has its roots in the struggles of the African Nova Scotian community in Shelburne. The bill was first introduced by former MP Lenore Zann. Its revival and sponsorship by Elizabeth May exemplifies the power of working together. The bill is now in its final stages in the Senate, thanks to the backing of Cree Senator Mary Jane McCallum.

Once passed into law, C226 will create  a framework to create access to environmental justice. It will ensure that marginalized communities have the tools and help they need to protect their health and well-being. Bill C-226 mandates government action to fix the disparities in exposure to environmental hazards. It paves the way for a fairer and more sustainable future.

Elizabeth May's advocacy on environmental racism predates her sponsorship of Bill C-226. It is rooted in her work fighting environmental injustices as the Executive Director of Sierra Club Canada. In 2001 she went on a hunger strike on Parliament Hill in to demand action on the Sidney Tar Ponds clean-up.

"When I started it, I had no idea it would take 17 days to get Health Minister Alan Rock to act and commit to the clean-up," Elizabeth May remarked. "All that activism and work with communities may soon be dealt with through governmental action."

Once enacted into law, Bill C-226 will empower Environment Canada to fund programs aimed at leveling the playing field for marginalized communities. It will ensure fair access to scientific studies to restore local ecosystems.

"Environmental justice is not just a slogan; it's a call to action for tangible change," said Elizabeth May. "With Bill C-226, we are advocating for more than just words on paper. We want concrete tools and mechanisms. The power imbalances that perpetuate environmental injustice in our society must be remedied with access to meaningful legal tools."


For more information or to arrange an interview : 

Fabrice Lachance Nové

Press secretary