Fighting Climate Change with the Charter: An Inquiry into the Effects of Litigating the Right to a Healthy Environment
Berk, Kevin Patrick
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This thesis examines whether the litigation of the legal right to a healthy environment can adequately advance the values of its supporters. This question is answered through examining scholarly arguments in favour of the right, promotional material from Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations (ENGOs) litigating the right, court documents, as well as the results of a select number of interviews with senior members of Canadian ENGOs. It is ultimately argued that the intervention of lawyers and the interpretation of judges will narrow the intended scope of the right. Additionally, it is argued that the act of choosing to litigate implicitly affirms the settler states assumed authority over environmental governance in Canada. The narrowing of the scope of the right would likely then result in the potential legal right not fully reflecting the values that its proponents sought to advance, and thus would limit its efficacy.