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'Leave my river alone'

Kent Driscoll
Northern News Services

Iqaluit (July 25/05) - Cedric Buhemier is a bright four-year-old, but you can't blame him for being confused.

Cedric Buhemier put up these posters around Iqaluit asking people not to litter in "his river." The four-year-old is upset he found so much garbage in the stream next to his home in the spring.

After the snow melted, Cedric went to play by the stream next to his Iqaluit home. The once clean waterway was plugged up with litter.

His mother Elise explains that Cedric sees it as "his river."

The concept of litterbugs didn't make any sense to the boy. "I don't know why. Why wouldn't they just put it in the garbage," said Cedric, who seems to be following the political footsteps of his stepfather, MLA Hunter Tootoo.

She is proud of her boy's concern, but isn't a pushy parent. Cedric makes his own comments to the media -- in French and English -- and when he made up his own plan to confront the litterbugs, she helped him. She was strictly the assistant. Young Cedric calls his own shots.

First, there was the stream; Cedric filled two bags with trash. Then, he decided to cut off the pollution at the source: people. He made posters that show a polluted stream with two people standing beside it. One is crying and the other is screaming.

The message is simple: "Don't throw garbage in the river. We don't need to yell or argue, we can talk."

He put the message in French and English, and would like to do them in Inuktitut as well, so "everyone can read them."

"I hope people read it (the poster), and they clean everything. It's not all my garbage," he explained.

The posters can be seen on bulletin boards around the capital.