Re: Human rights first step to clean air (Oct. 29). The account of the terrible air quality in China is alarming, but Jane Cohen is mistaken if she thinks human rights and democracy is the key to solving these environmental problems. Just ask the people of the Athabasca region of Alberta.
The Conservative government and the oil industry have created our very own "cancer village" in Fort Chipewyan, thanks to the toxins leaching into the Athabasca River from oilsands development. They have even produced enough industry-led junk science to attempt to fool the general public that the world's largest open-pit mine has no impact on the region.
Last time I checked, we had human rights enshrined in our constitution, so I don't think they are the panacea. In fact, democracy is probably the system least suited to dealing with environmental problems.
It is slow, plodding and subject to the whims of an electorate that neither understands the depth of the problems nor is willing to make the sacrifices to truly solve our environmental problems.
China is arguably better able to deal with their problems as its politicians do not have to pander to the masses. The brutal but necessary one-child policy is a good example.