Heroes are what Ada Lockridge calls Ecojustice and its supporters.
“I am so grateful for the people who [support] Ecojustice, from the bottom of my heart,” she says. “If it wasn’t for [the Canadians who support Ecojustice], we wouldn’t be able to do any of this.”
We’re representing Ada in our Chemical Valley Charter challenge case. She’s contesting the Ontario government’s ongoing approval of air pollution in Sarnia’s Chemical Valley, home to 40 per cent of Canada’s petrochemical industry. Chemical Valley exposes Ada’s community, the Aamjiwnaang First Nation, to a range of harmful air pollutants, including cancer-causing benzene and chemicals known to cause respiratory and cardiovascular problems.
Before we started working with Ada, and before we explained her legal rights, she says she was lost. Our involvement has helped reduce her anxiety and our legal action has filled her with hope that one day the government will ensure the air she’s breathing won’t harm her family — a right every Canadian should enjoy.
“I could never afford to hire a lawyer to do any of this stuff,” she says. “If it wasn’t for Ecojustice putting in the reports or comments on our behalf, I would never know what to write, what to look for or how to fill out the forms or anything. I’d still be lost.”
Last year, lawyers from the Ontario government and Suncor
attempted to dismiss our case and much of the evidence we had filed. Ultimately, the Court rejected the motion to strike the entire case but decided that we had to remove some evidence. We re-filed our evidence at the end of November and expect the Court will hear the case in 2014.
Meanwhile, we’re also partnering with the David Suzuki Foundation to introduce Canadians to our Right to a Healthy Environment campaign. We believe that getting governments to legally recognize your right to a healthy environment will protect the basic elements of our survival, such as clean air, safe water and unpolluted land.