Today, Canada is a less democratic country ...
Yesterday the federal government took away our right to participate in environmental assessments. Today, Canada is a less democratic country. Big oil has more say about the future of Canada than you and I. I did a pile of media interviews yesterday but that's not enough. We have to wake up Canada's Parliament and alert them to what is happening.
Unfortunately, we’re going to have to make a very big noise.
Your Member of Parliament (MP) is home in your riding this week. The Easter break following the budget is an important opportunity for them to gauge the mood of the country.
Please call your MP’s constituency office and request a meeting or drop-off/mail a hand-written letter explaining your concerns about this government's record on protecting and strengthening Canada's environmental protection laws.
You can send an email, but this is really, really important so please submit a hand-written letter. Here's why: Former Environment Minister David Anderson once told me hand-written letters and meeting requests from constituents were valued “a 1000 times more important” (his words, not mine) than just an email – no matter how well-written.
Please donate generously to help us fight this battle. It's going to be expensive and we're going to need every penny to win.
It’s important all MPs hear from us!
The environmental assessment laws were not changed to streamline the granting of permits. They were changed take away our right to participate in decisions that affect all Canadians – present and future. We all have a right to be heard.
Even if your MP is a Conservative, don't despair. Many are concerned about their own government's anti-environmental stance and only need evidence of public disapproval to take a stance in caucus. Opposition MPs need to hear from you too! After all, we need them if we’re going to keep the environment on the agenda and front burner of national affairs.
Sample Messages for MPs:
- Environmental assessment laws are not rubber stamps. All projects, big and small, must be designed to be sustainable and to cause the least harm and disruption to nature. We need them to ensure we learn from past mistakes, identify new problems and improve a design—which is so much better than developing asthma or cleaning up dead fish.
- Smart policy decisions take time. Haste makes waste. Environmental assessments must be thorough, consultative and science-based. Hard time limits and rushing the environmental review process will lead to runaway development. Projects will be approved without having explored alternative options or having best possible understanding of the social, economic and environmental impacts. Truncated processes will also greatly hurt the public's right and ability to participate.
- Name-calling and Republican-styled McCarthyian accusations by any MP are intolerable. There is no place for it in Canadian politics. We live in a democracy and all citizens have the right to be heard and to voice their objections, whatever they might be.
REMEMBER to express your points and arguments in your own words as much as possible. The more unique your letter, the higher its value will be to your MP.
Let me know how it went. Send me a note about your meeting and/or a copy of your hand-written letter! A photocopy (our address is below), scan or photo would all be great. We’ll be sure to share the results once the numbers are in.
There's one more thing and that's money. Strategically speaking, this is the time to give generously. The reality is the Canadian environment and its critters need you now.
I realize this is asking a lot more work than the usual quick email. But the stakes this time are distressingly high and you will be making an important, timely contribution.
Last week David Suzuki told The Globe and Mail that the environmental movement “has been going backward for 20 years”. Like all of us, he's feeling down. Let's give him a boost and ourselves too!
Thanks for the courage, inspiration and support that keeps me fighting each and every day.
PS – You can Donate $10 to help defend and protect Canada's environmental protection laws by simply Texting SIERRA to 45678. To donate $20 do it twice! To donate $30, do it 3 times. It's easy!