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Letter: Citizens' right to clean air, clear water and safe food

To the Editor:
 
More than 110 countries in the world recognize their citizens' right to clean air, clear water, and safe food. Unfortunately Canada is not one of them . . .. Yet.

Last year a federal committee recommended changes to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) including that the federal government formally recognize the right to a healthy environment. The CEPA is Canada’s primary law on toxins and pollution, but is badly outdated.
 
In 2015, poor air quality resulted in the premature deaths of 7,700 people in Canada. Smog alone cost Canada $36 billion in 2015. According to a recent UNICEF report, Canada ranks 25th among rich countries on children’s well-being, due in part to deteriorating air quality. 
 
I have written to Wayne Stetski, Minister Ginette PetitpasTaylor and Minister Catherine McKenna urging them to do the right thing and ensure the government accept the recommended changes to CEPA before the October 15 deadline.
 
I urge everyone to contact their Member of Parliament and the Ministers of Health and Environment and Climate Change to ensure Canadians get the right to a healthy environment.
 
Michael Jessen, Nelson BC