Media Release

Environmental law group disappointed at abolition of Ambassador position, program cuts

Oct 03 2006

Toronto – The Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) was disappointed to learn from recent media reports that the position of Canadian Ambassador for the Environment has been abolished. “The Ambassador for the Environment position has been extremely useful in raising the profile of global environmental problems, and Canada’s role in addressing them”, said Hugh Benevides, CELA counsel. “The current Ambassador, Karen Kraft Sloan, has been a tireless advocate on various initiatives in Canada’s interest, particularly in promoting an agenda in light of the various threats to both the circumpolar and Canadian Arctic.” CELA noted that a previous Ambassador, the Hon. John Fraser, had also been a great environmental advocate during his tenure. “In light of the good work that some Environment Ambassadors have done in advancing environmental protection among nations, it’s a shame that the government has abolished the position,” said Ramani Nadarajah, CELA’s Acting Executive Director. CELA is also alarmed at the abrupt termination by the federal government of the Court Challenges Program and the Law Commission of Canada, two institutions that were effective in furthering justice and equality in Canada. The Canadian Environmental Law Association is a non-profit, public interest organization established in 1970 to use existing laws to protect the environment and to advocate environmental law reforms. It is also a free legal advisory clinic for the public, and will act at hearings and in courts on behalf of citizens or citizens’ groups who are otherwise unable to afford legal assistance. Funded by Legal Aid Ontario, CELA is one of 79 community legal clinics located across Ontario, 15 of which offer services in specialized areas of the law. CELA also undertakes additional educational and law reform projects funded by government and private foundations.  -30- For more information: Ramani Nadarajah, Acting Executive Director and Counsel 416-960-2284 ext. 217 Hugh Benevides, Counsel ext. 218