Green Party votes against long-awaited but deeply flawed update to environmental legislation

May 30, 2023 at 2:50 pm  Federal, Politics

OTTAWA – For more than 20 years, Canadians have asked for updates to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act that would improve the management of toxic substances and protect Canadians from corporate practices that are a danger to our environment and human health. Today, Green MPs were forced to vote against the Government’s proposed updates as they are overall a step backward.  

“S-5 weakens our regime to manage toxic chemicals, while failing to update the sections of CEPA dealing with air pollution, ocean dumping or control of genetically modified organisms, and only pretends to create the right to a healthy environment,” said Green Party Leader Elizabeth May.  

Ms. May, who worked on the original bill in 1988, consulted extensively with NGOs like The Canadian Environmental Law Association and Nature Canada to introduce 26 amendments at the Committee and Report Stages of the Bill. The changes would have notably maintained a List of Toxic Substances for elimination, included a right to a healthy environment that was enforceable, and ensured the opportunity for meaningful Indigenous and public participation in review processes. However, there was heavy industry lobbying against the changes and the Liberals and Conservatives ultimately joined forces to vote all the amendments down. 

“The right to a healthy environment needs to be more than a bumper sticker,” said Mike Morrice, Green MP for Kitchener Centre, “We have waited more than 20 years for this opportunity, so it is deeply disappointing that the governing party rejected every effort we made to turn the bill into one that would have been a step forward.” 

The Bill will now be sent to the Senate where it will likely receive quick passage, given that the Government already rejected the Senate’s previous attempt to improve the legislation in a similar manner.

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For more information or to arrange an interview : 

Fabrice Lachance Nové

Press secretary

514-463-0021

[email protected]

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