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Citizens to Ottawa: We will not be shut out of environmental decisions

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

New mini-documentary series highlights what is at stake if rollbacks to Canada’s environmental laws continue in Bill C-45


VANCOUVER. Living Democracy from the Ground Up, a new mini-documentary film series released today is part of the latest wave of pushback from concerned citizens and organisations to the federal government’s reckless gutting of Canada’s environmental safety net. Its release comes as Bill C-45, another massive ‘omnibus’ bill that weakens protections for our land and water is expected to return to the House of Commons for final stages of debate.

Living Democracy from the Ground Up takes an up close and personal view of what is at stake if the federal government continues its rollbacks of Canada’s environmental laws, including the exclusion of concerned citizens from environmental assessment hearings.


The three part series features striking on-location and archival footage in telling the stories of people who have participated in environmental assessments, including members of the Tsilhqot’in First Nation, a small business owner in the interior of BC, and former BC Supreme Court Judge Thomas Berger, in his role as Commissioner of the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry.

I think the emphasis should be on consulting people who are, so to speak, in the way. They’re entitled to be heard,” says Thomas Berger, who acted as the Commissioner of the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry in the 1970s. “If you consult local people, if you consult the people affected, you get better projects. That’s a lesson in democracy. That’s why it is so important that we provide for the fullest possible consultation in any major project.”

West Coast Environmental Law has documented how legal changes in Bills C-38 and C-45 put the interests of big oil and mining companies ahead of the interests of Canadians, and seek to silence concerned citizens in order to pave the way for resource development.

Bill C-45 further demonstrates a pattern of recklessness by the federal government that puts the long-term safety and health of Canadians in jeopardy,” said Jessica Clogg, executive director and senior counsel of West Coast Environmental Law. “The voices featured in Living Democracy from the Ground Up highlight the impact of gutting our environmental laws. If not stopped now, these changes will ripple out across communities -- putting our water, air, food and our voices at risk.”


All three parts of the series are available at


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For more information contact West Coast Environmental Law Association:

Rachel Forbes, Staff Lawyer, 604.601.2508; 604.345.9129 (cell);

Jessica Clogg, Executive Director & Senior Counsel, 604.601.2501; 778.327.8964 (cell);

See the November 21st Open Letter from First Nations and environmental groups in opposition to Bill C-45 and Backgrounder at