OTTAWA, Sept. 26, 2011 /CNW/ - Hundreds of people from across North
America have gathered this morning on Parliament Hill for a rally
followed by a mass civil disobedience sit-in. Participants are
delivering a resounding message to Harper: "We want to build a green
energy future that respects Indigenous rights and prioritizes the
health of our environment and communities."
Participants are responding to a call to action following two weeks of
civil disobedience in the U.S. opposing the Keystone XL pipeline which
would bring tar sands crude from Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico.
"It is morally justifiable to risk arrest if you see and witness a crime
occurring or about to occur. We are saying the tar sands industry is
unlawful. We need to stop it before the damage is done. It's worth
getting arrested to send that warning out to the rest of Canada," said
Louisette Lante, a housewife from Waterloo.
The action began at 10 a.m. with a solidarity rally in front of the
Centennial Flame on Parliament Hill featuring a number of speeches from
environmental and social justice organizations, union representatives
and prominent individuals of Indigenous communities directly impacted
by the tar sands. Following the speeches, those willing to risk arrest
will separate from the solidarity rally and, in slow waves of six
people, walk toward the main doors of Parliament Hill for a sit-in in
the foyer of Centre Block.
A broad spectrum of people at Parliament Hill support the action
including grandparents, elected and grassroots Indigenous leaders
directly impacted by tar sands operations and pipelines, students,
workers, environmentalists and union representatives. More than 20
environmental and Indigenous organizations along with over 20
high-profile individuals and a dozen Canadian celebrities have endorsed
the call to action.
"The tar sands represent a path of broken treaties, eroded human rights,
catastrophic climate change, poisoned air and water and the complete
stripping of Canada's morality in the international community, said
Clayton Thomas-Muller of the Indigenous Environmental Network. "Our
communities should not be sacrificed on the alter of Canada's addiction
to dirty fossil fuel; we want a new economic paradigm that protects our
relationship to the sacredness of Mother Earth."
"I've spent more than a decade writing reports about the benefits of a
green energy and asking politely for action on climate change, while
tar sands companies worked the back rooms and pollution levels went up.
I'm here today to send a message about the urgency of stopping the tar
sands and building a green economy in a way that can't be ignored,"
adds Keith Stewart, Ph.D.
For HD video, photo and audio, please visit: http://bit.ly/qut3iK
For further information:
- Andrea Harden-Donahue (English), Energy and Climate Justice Campaigner, Council of Canadians, 613.218.5800 email@example.com
- Melina Laboucan-Massimo (English), Climate and Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace Canada, 780.504.5567 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Clayton Thomas-Mueller (English), Canadian Indigenous Tar Sands Campaigner, Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), 613.297.7515 email@example.com
- Daniel Cayley-Daoust (français), Public Education and Outreach Coordinator, The Polaris Institute, 819.593.4579 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mike Hudema (English), Climate and Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace Canada, 780.504.5601 email@example.com