RDN director from Errington/Coombs questions the motives of Suzuki initiative

"I suspect this proposal was put together by a group of people sipping merlot in a hot tub," said Julian Fell.

Regional district director Julian Fell says the “international motives” of David Suzuki’s Blue Dot initiative “could compromise Canada’s sovereignty over its own resources.”

Fell, who represents Coombs/Errington, urged fellow Regional District of Nanaimo directors at Tuesday evening’s regular meeting not to support a national campaign to enshrine the right to a healthy environment in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The Blue Dot movement was brought to the RDN in May by Nanaimo-Ladysmith Green Party candidate Paul Manly, one of many individuals in Canada calling upon local governments to pass municipal declarations respecting peoples’ right to live in a healthy environment. It would see people have the right to live in a healthy environment including: the right to breathe clean air, drink clean water, consume safe food, access nature, know about pollutants released into the local environment and participate in decision-making that will affect the environment.

But Fell called the movement “flawed. I suspect this proposal was put together by a  group of people sipping merlot in a hot tub,” he said. “This motion is a knee jerk response to what sounds like a pretty good idea… upon considered review it is flawed and has serious, in my opinion, potential consequences… until the floor is fixed it should not be approved.”

According to Fell, “as an international right, anyone on the planet could demand access to, and a share of, Canada’s water and I suspect California will be first in line along with Nestle.”

He said he’d like to see provisions protecting Canada’s ownership and control of Canadian sourced air, water and food.

Furthermore, he called the David Suzuki Foundation, who is spearheading the movement, “a group that’s beginning to become extremist and exhibiting environmental tunnel vision… a group I wouldn’t take my leadership from.”

Fell pointed out the Blue Dot movement’s “unclear, ambiguous” intentions and asked directors not to support their initiative.

A resolution regarding the Blue Dot movement will be on the agenda at the 2015 Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) Conference in September. At that time, the RDN’s delegates will have the opportunity to support or reject the motion.

The objective of the Blue Dot initiative is to amend the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to include the right to a healthy environment with local communities encouraging movement at the provincial level.

When seven of 10 provinces representing more than half of Canada’s population support an amendment to the Charter it will be possible to move forward with the amendment.

At UBCM, the province will have the opportunity to endorse the declaration.

If the resolution is successful at UBCM, it may advance the goal of the movement to amend the Charter.

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