OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Nov. 16, 2013) - As world leaders gather in Poland to discuss international climate obligations, today more than 100 communities rallied to oppose the Harper government's push for tar sands expansion and refusal to address climate change.
"Today, the wall of opposition in the west is uniting with mounting opposition in the east and the north," said Maggie Knight of Leadnow. "This is just the start. The people who are standing up today are creating a cross-country movement for real action, not empty promises".
Community members from Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador to Mackenzie Beach, Tofino to Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories, including parents and grandparents, First Nations, community leaders, and scientists, organized and took part in local events. They carried the common message that Canada's political leaders are abandoning us and our children and grandchildren with inaction, by letting the oil industry dictate the level and growth rate of greenhouse gas emissions in this country.
"Prime Minister Harper has been promising to do something about greenhouse gas pollution from the tar sands for seven years and all we've got to show for it are broken promises and pipeline proposals," said Graham Saul, Executive Director of Ecology Ottawa. "Instead of working to get off fossil fuels we're allowing the oil companies to dictate Canada's climate change policy."
The rallies come as new revelations show that tar sands oil companies have successfully pushed back on federal attempts to curb emissions, claiming that tougher regulations would slow production. Harper's government acquiesced despite overwhelming public support for Canada to be a climate leader.
Meanwhile, catastrophic weather events are already wreaking havoc across the globe. In the summer, Canada watched the city of Calgary experience devastating floods requiring the federal government earmark $2 billion to help with the clean up. However, this pales in comparison to the devastation seen in the Philippines, where thousands of people have been killed and entire cities flattened by a super typhoon fuelled by warming oceans.
"We are challenging new projects that threaten our traditional homelands, our people, and all life in the Athabasca Delta. All of our futures are at stake if we don't stop the expansion and work together to keep the oil in the ground and prevent catastrophic climate change," said Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation in Fort Chipewyan, Alberta. "We will hold our ground and protect Mother Earth by working to stop out of control tar sands expansion right here, at the source."
In Ottawa, a wall of sandbags was built near Parliament Hill, signifying what will be needed when rivers, such as the Rideau, flood from climate induced catastrophic storms. In Edmonton, participants built a wall of 116 barrels - the equivalent of the amount of carbon dioxide that will be released every second if the new Shell Jackpine mine goes ahead. Near Montreal, members of the Mohawk First Nations stood ground to protect their traditional territory from the Energy East pipeline along with hundreds of supporters.
To see where events are happening across Canada visit: www.defendourclimate.ca/map.
To contact the spokesperson for an event in any of the other 100+ communities please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 604-396-1226.
To reach to a spokesperson at a rally in a major cities please contact:
National spokesperson: Maggie Knight, Leadnow 1-855-LEADN0W (1-855-532-3609) ext. 4
Halifax: Katie Rae, 902-478-9948
Quebec: Genevieve Puskas, 514-792-5222
Toronto: Adam Scott, 416-347-3858
Ottawa: Ben Powless 613-601-4219
Winnipeg: Janelle de Rocquigny 204-470-6196
Edmonton: Mike Hudema 780-504-5601
Vancouver: Ben West 604-710-5340
Victoria: Caitlyn Vernon 250-386-5255