Today, prominent and respected environmental activist Elizabeth May
enters the 14th day of a hunger strike to force the federal government to relocate the families on Fredrick Street, next door to the Sydney Tar Ponds
--which has been called Canada's Love Canal
Existing only on Gatorade, May was yesterday wheeled to a news conference, carried on the CBC, among a few other outlets, to protest the government's continued inaction; it claims there is no evidence of acute effect, though chronic effects are undoubted; a stance ridiculed by May as it isn't OK if it kills you tomorrow, but if it kills you in 6 months, well, that is OK.
The executive Director of the Sierra Club of Canada, May has had a long, distinguished career of working the system from the inside. She is well-known for her intimate knowledge of issues, and willingness to work with those on all sides if there is a willingness to work for a good result--an attitude I found difficult, as did others in the movement.
This current campaign is unlike anything May has ever done; she has befriended the families of Fredrick Street, and is unable to watch the children of her friends die.
I met, and worked, with Elizabeth many years ago when I was a political organizer for the NDP and environmental activist with the Public Interest Reasearch Group at Carleton University and she was a young lawyer associated with the Public Interest Advocacy Center in Ottawa. It was a priviledge and a pleasure, and I have followed her career since with great interest.
And I can only imagine her frustration and anger, as through 14 days of sitting by the West entrance to the Main Block of the Parliament of Canada, with media coverage just a trickle now--as torrents of attention follow every plot twist in the soap opera that is Stockwell Day.
Further reading:"Fredrick Street Life and Death on Canada's Love Canal" Maude Barlow, Elizabeth May - ISBN 0-00-200036-9