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Regina chapter celebrates City Council approving Blue Dot designation

Regina chapter activist Jim Elliott (in the back row) with Blue Dot Regina.

The Council of Canadians Regina chapter is celebrating Regina becoming a Blue Dot community.

Blue Dot Regina reports, “Regina City Council unanimously passed the Regina Blue Dot Movement’s municipal declaration for the the Right to a Healthy Environment. This declaration reaffirm’s the City of Regina’s commitment to protecting and fulfilling the #R2HE for its citizens and will encourage other levels of government to also take action on environmental rights. Thank you to the volunteers, supporters, and the City of Regina administration and council for your diligent work and belief that all Canadians should have equal access to clean air, water, and food. Let’s continue until every Canadian has the guaranteed right to live in a healthy and safe environment.”

Yesterday evening, chapter activist Jim Elliott posted on Facebook, “An amazing night. Tonight, we stepped forward.”

As noted on the Blue Dot campaign’s website, “Across the country, Canadians believe in our inherent right to a healthy environment – clean water, fresh air, healthy food and a say in decisions that affect us. This growing movement of Canadians calls upon their local communities to pass municipal declarations respecting people’s right to live in a healthy environment.”

It adds, “With so many communities calling for action from all levels of government, the next step is to have our provinces follow suit and pass environmental bills of rights. When seven out of 10 provinces representing more than 50 per cent of the Canadian population have recognized our right to a healthy environment we turn toward the ultimate goal: amending the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Recognition in the Charter is the final step in protecting the right to clean air, fresh water and healthy food for all Canadians.”

This has been a long struggle. In January 2016, Regina City Council failed to support the Blue Dot resolution.

At that time, Regina Leader Post columnist Greg Fingas commented, “Unlike corporate rights agreements, the Blue Dot Declaration doesn’t provide any mechanism to challenge a violation of the right to clear air, water or food. So there’s no plausible argument to be made that it would somehow tie the city’s hands in weighing competing priorities. [It simply signals that a municipality] intends to at least recognize the importance of environmental considerations and evaluate the effect its policies might have on that crucial issue. And more than a hundred Canadian municipalities have been willing to go that far to date. Somehow, even that minimal level of recognition and reporting was seen as unacceptable by a majority of Regina’s city council.”

In February 2015, our Hamilton chapter supported the successful campaign for Hamilton to become a Blue Dot community and in June 2015 our Sudbury chapter expressed support for Sudbury becoming a Blue Dot community as a way to protect Ramsey Lake from the impact of the building of the Keast Drive 54 single-family home, 93 condominium subdivision. Ramsey Lake is a downtown lake historically stressed by smelter emissions from mining in the area, was considered dead for many years before a major reclamation effort, and now provides 40 per cent of the city’s drinking water.

The Council of Canadians congratulates all involved in helping Regina to become a Blue Dot community.

For information on our sister campaign – the Blue Communities Project – which calls on municipalities (both in Canada and around the world) to recognize the human right to water (which can include watershed protection), promote publicly financed, owned and operated water and wastewater services, and ban the sale of bottled water in public facilities and at municipal events, please click here.

There are now 18 blue communities in Canada:  District of Lunenburg (in our Atlantic region), Ajax, St. Catharines, Niagara Falls, Tiny Township, Thorold, Welland, Bayfield, Tay Township, Thunder Bay, and Amqui (in our Ontario-Quebec region), and Burnaby, Victoria, North Vancouver, Comox, Cumberland, Nanaimo, and Tsal’alh, St’át’imc Territory (in our Pacific region).

This year our focus will be on supporting efforts to have Montreal, Toronto, Prince Albert, Brandon, Saskatoon, South Shore, Charlottetown, Stratford, and St. John’s designated blue communities.