A guest blog by Lynn Daoust.
When I decided to take my concerns about the environment to my local member of Parliament, Carla Qualtrough, I didn’t feel much hope.
I was worried about the questionable air quality in South Delta, B.C., from coal shipments; the industrialization of agricultural lands; and the recent discovery that fugitive methane emissions from natural gas wells in Northern B.C. are much larger than estimated (read the David Suzuki Foundation report, January 2018).
But happily, when I left my meeting with Minister Qualtrough, I felt validated, heard and understood!
My journey to the MP’s office began with my passion for the environment, which comes from my commitment to living lightly on the planet. I love nature, and so does my grandson, and I want to protect the earth that sustains us.
It was my love for nature that led me to become involved with the Blue Dot movement, and it was through this work that I became aware of the recent opportunity to update the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.
The Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development had recently recommended strengthening the act to include environmental rights. This news gave me the chance to take charge of my despair and turn it into hope. So I learned more about the act and dropped by Minister Qualtrough’s constituency office to arrange a meeting. Her constituency manager, Bernadette Kudzin, was wonderful and the meeting was arranged for the following week.
I was worried and nervous about going to the meeting, but I was happy to learn that we hold many of the same values. We expressed our shared concerns over the potential loss of the rare sandpipers’ feeding habitat at the mouth of the Fraser River due to the proposed expansion of Port Metro Vancouver’s shipping port. We both felt deeply that Delta is a special place. Between the Burns Bog Delta Nature Reserve, Fraser River estuaries, Boundary Bay ecosystem, farmlands, migratory bird sanctuaries and proximity to the Salish Sea, there is a uniqueness to Delta that is worth protecting.
Then we discussed the Standing Committee’s recommendations to strengthen the Environmental Protection Act. Eventually, I asked Minister Qualtrough directly, “Do you support the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development’s recommendation to include environmental rights in the Canadian Environmental Protection Act?”
She replied with an unequivocal “Yes.”
I thought, “My gosh, maybe there is hope after all for our kids, grandkids and ourselves!”
Minister Qualtrough’s leadership and commitment to environmental rights energized me. I left her office feeling grateful for the open and frank discussion that we had and hopeful once again that we can protect our environment for future generations.
I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to my member of Parliament, Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement, and her constituency manager, Bernadette Kudzin, for their commitment to ongoing environmental stewardship.
If you would like join me in taking action to protect our communities and future generations, please reach out to your MP and the Environment Minister Catherine McKenna using our call your MP page!
A concerned Delta resident