Bill C-38 inflicts first significant blow to environmental justice in Canada

Dear Friend,

I am writing to let you know that, as a result of the new anti-environment Bill C-38 (the Bill we recently opposed and protested with our #BlackOutSpeakOut campaign), Sierra Club Canada has been forced to withdraw our application for a judicial review of the decision to allow 1600 tonnes of nuclear waste from Bruce Power Inc. to be shipped through the Great Lakes and on to Sweden without conducting an environmental assessment.

You'll remember we launched legal proceedings in 2011. We were seriously concerned that a mishap could result in devastating radioactive contamination of the natural environment and water supplies, and it was our position that the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) erred in law and jurisdiction when approving the shipment.

Bill C-38 repealed the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act in its entirety and replaced it with new, far narrower environmental assessment legislation (now in force) which does not require a federal environmental assessment for this type of project. If we had proceeded with our legal case it would surely have been thrown out, leaving us saddled with significant court costs. Therefore, we had no choice but to withdraw the application.

Back in 2011, Sierra Club Canada was able to alert communities along the route of the radioactive shipments AND YOU sent hundreds of emails urging the CNSC to hold a public hearing. That hearing was eventually held and over 70 individuals and organizations came forward to speak out against the shipment, and the Association of Great Lakes Municipalities and the Mohawk First Nations also joined us in opposition.

Shipping highly radioactive material (including plutonium) through the Great Lakes is not a smart – or popular, apparently – idea. But there’s a bigger more dangerous issue: the policy-changing precedent being set will likely lead to thousands of tonnes of radioactive waste being shipped on a regular basis. This would not only be a huge new environmental threat, but a terrorist-seeking-plutonium threat too! Bad idea all-around. #Fail.


Our lawyer advised us the only avenue remaining was Environment Canada’s ongoing ‘consultation’ on the types of projects which should trigger an environmental assessment under the new Act. Environment Canada is only accepting submissions until August 24th – just a few days away – so we need to act now if we’re going to convince the federal government to change course.

Please CLICK HERE to send an email submission to CNSC that says you want radioactive waste shipments to require an environmental assessment! It only takes a minute so please click here and do it today!

We generated hundreds of email submissions back in 2011 and made a huge impact. Please share this action alert with your friends and family and maybe we can generate a thousand this time!

Sincerely and in solidarity,

John Bennett, Executive Director
Sierra Club Canada
John on Twitter / Bennett Blog

P.S. - Did you know you can donate $10 to Sierra Club Canada by texting SIERRA to 45678 on your mobile phone? To donate $20 just do it twice, etc. You can also donate online via our secure website. We need you more than ever! Make a small donation today. I promise I’ll make every dollar count.