Legal firms in Canada, like MyDefence.ca, might have to learn how to deal with natural locations’ legal rights, as Quebec is trying out a new environmental strategy that may soon spread.
Northern Quebec legally declared Cote-Nord’s Magpie River a person, with approval coming from two resolutions, one from the local Innu council, with the other from the local municipality of Minganie. That unity, along with the Magpie River’s popularity makes it a good test case for the country, according to the Montreal organization that specializes in this particular legal move.
According to the groups involved in this particular legal matter, Magpie River has nine distinct rights, while also allowing the possibility of having legal guardians. Innu Council of Ekuanitshit Chief Jean-Charles Pietacho says that the people closest to the Magpie River will be responsible for watching over the river.
The idea of legalizing classifying flora and fauna as people have become popular in certain places in the world, particularly in New Zealand, where the Maori and the federal government have banded together for these legal proceedings.
One particular case in 2017 was when the New Zealand parliament legally classified the Whanganui River as a person, considering it an indivisible, living being, and conferred the river the same rights and responsibility a person has to deal with.
In doing so, it ended several long-running claims arguments that were going on between the government and the Maori people.
One of the leaders behind this move, International Observatory on the Rights of Nature President Yenny Vega Cardenas, says that it’s a notable paradigm shift, with the idea being providing flora and fauna these rights, and recognize that people aren’t the masters of the universe and nature and that the relationship between humans and the environment is far more complicated than people think.
As for the Magpie River is a whitewater river, known for its rapids that have made it popular across the world for whitewater enthusiasts, with National Geographic ranking it among one of the Top 10 Whitewater Rivers of the world.
That same energy is why Hydro-Quebec, the province’s state-owned energy company, looked to the river for hydroelectricity. Legally declaring the Magpie a person might mean that firms like MyDefence.ca have to deal with it but ensures the long-term protection of the whitewater rapids.