Blog: Faces of CELA with Rhonda Gagnon

Blog posted by Pelly Shaw, CELA Communications Intern

What is your role and how long have you been involved with CELA?

My professional role is as a policy analyst for the Anishinabek Nation, and have been in that role for 14 years. I have been involved with CELA for the past year and a half.   

What inspired you to get involved in environmental law and public policy?

The Anishinabek First Nations have inspired me to get involved with environmental law and public policy due to these policies impacting the rights of First Nations and their citizens.  

What’s the most rewarding part of working/volunteering with CELA?

Ensuring the opportunities are extended to the Anishinabek First Nations and not just the general public or non-government organizations. 

What do you think is Canada’s biggest environmental challenge today?

Implementing the new Impact Assessment Act, and Canada keeping its promise to end all boiled water advisories.  I say this as Canada can not do such a large task on their own.  

How do you think we can best approach this challenge?

Get Ontario involved with the Drinking Water aspect with First Nations, meaning Ontario needs to step up and take some responsibility as they are the regulators that allow contamination and pollutants into the environment, ultimately impacting water quality.  

If you were the Leader of the World, what environmental law or policy would you implement?

Close loop system for industry as a requirement.  This would not only conserve water, but illustrate innovative thinking and the promise to the environment that we all made to keep it clean (conserve water, address climate change, energy, etc).  

When you’re not working on Great Lakes issues, what do you like to do?

Spending time at my camp in Temagami with my family. I love being outdoors either fishing, hunting, or gathering medicines for those who need or request them. Having connection to the environment as a whole is pretty special and sacred, and it is something I respect and honour.