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How extending personhood to Canada’s rivers could help reconciliation – CBA National Magazine

by ahnationtalk on April 18, 201711 Views

April 18, 2017

In March, governments in India and New Zealand independently extended personhood rights to rivers, making them the first jurisdictions in the world to do so. Is it possible that Canada could follow suit? Likely not in the foreseeable future. Not that it’s impossible. The Canada Business Corporations Act grants corporations the rights and privileges of a natural person. But we have yet to have a serious debate in this country as to whether these rights should be extended to components of the environment, such as rivers and forests, as there is little political will among federal and provincial leaders.

In both New Zealand and India, the expectation is that by extending person-hood rights to rivers, they will be deemed to be legal entities and, via their human interlocutors, be able to advocate for their own needs. In doing so, the governments are attempting to use a legal tool to reconcile the spiritual beliefs of its people with the necessity of using natural resources for economic development.

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