Environmentalists Welcome PM Justin Trudeau. Beseech Him to Leave Behind a “Gift of Justice” (Civil Society Leaders Pin Hopes on Canada’s New Prime Minister to Resolve Trash Issue)

Civil society leaders opposed to the illegal shipment of some 103 container vans of garbage from Canada renewed their call for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to rectify a blatant case of environmental injustice.

Trudeau arrived yesterday for the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting that will take place today and tomorrow, which has “building inclusive economies, building a better world” for its theme.
“We warmly welcome Prime Minister Trudeau to Manila and we remain optimistic that he will soon make a historic statement confirming Canada’s decision to re-import their garbage,” said Aileen Lucero, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“This will be a ‘gift of justice from Justin’ that a grateful Filipino nation will cherish and remember,” she said.   

“It’s a ‘new day’ in Canada with the election of Trudeau, a young, culturally-sensitive, gender-fair and change-oriented leader. We hope it will be a ‘new day’ too for Canada-Philippine relations with the former unhesitatingly taking back their trash to bring an awful dumping scandal to a close,” she said.  

Abigail Aguilar, Toxics Campaigner, Greenpeace Southeast Asia told Trudeau: “Your predecessor, Stephen Harper was blind and deaf to the plea of Filipinos. Now, all eyes are on you as we look for a leader who will take a stand and have the heart to make a decision on this ugly issue of petrifying waste that has been festering in the Philippines for so long now.”

“The Canadian waste issue is a test on how you treat your allies. It is a test of how you honor your international obligations, as this waste dumping issue violates the tenets of the Basel Convention, which both our countries have signed,” she emphasized.

For his part, Rene Pineda, Vice-President of the EcoWaste Coalition said:  “Long-held by Canadians as the kind of politics that earned for them global admiration and respect, and that his father, former and late Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau, had upheld for a long time and taught him early as a kid, Canada's true-to-form governance that is anchored on respect for human dignity is expected of their new leader.”

“The Filipino people deserve respect. They are hopeful that the new Canadian government will treat them equally, not as an inconsequential member of the global community,” he further said.

Romy Hidalgo, NGO Representative to the National Solid Waste Management Commission, reminded Prime Minister Trudeau that the reeking Canadian garbage have nowhere to go but Canada. 

“No local officials in their right frame of mind will agree to be a dumping ground for Canada’s rubbish,” he said.

From July to September this year, Hidalgo said that government officials from Bulacan and Tarlac Provinces, as well as from Navotas and Quezon Cities, have issued pronouncements or resolutions banning foreign waste disposal in local landfills.

Among the many groups asking Canada to take back their garbage are the Akbayan Party List, Ang NARS Party List, Associated Labor Unions – Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, Ateneo School of Government, Bangon Kalikasan Movement, Ban Toxics, Bayan Muna Party List, Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines – Permanent Committee on Public Affairs, EcoWaste Coalition, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Green Convergence, Greenpeace, Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment, Mother Earth Foundation, Piglas Kababaihan,  Pimentel Institute for Leadership and Governance, Public Services Labor Independent Confederation, Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa and Zero Waste Philippines.