Today's move triggered by omnibus federal budget bill
TORONTO, June 4, 2012 /CNW/ - Websites of more than 500 Canadian
organizations and businesses will be blacked out today, and tens of
thousands of individuals are expected to send messages to party leaders
in defence of nature and democracy via email and social media, as part
of the nationwide Black Out Speak Out/Silence, On Parle campaign.
News conferences are being held in Ottawa, Vancouver, Montreal, Winnipeg
and St. John's today, where spokespeople representing the campaign's
founders and allies are speaking about the threats to nature and
democracy posed by the current federal budget bill.
Launched May 7th by the country's leading environmental organizations in response to the
government's concerted smear attacks on environmental charities and
omnibus budget bill, C-38, the campaign has grown rapidly to include
major not-for-profit and social justice organizations, trade unions,
scientists, businesses and Canadian icons like author Margaret Atwood
and musician Bruce Cockburn.
Support for the campaign has also spread to the United States, with
several American organizations - including National Wildlife
Federation, Sierra Club USA, 350.org, and Natural Resources Defense
Council - also blackening their websites on June 4th.
"The darkening of web sites and the thousands of letters, blogs, tweets
and other actions by landowners, businesses, First Nations, trade
unions, scientists and citizens, reflect the grave concern and deep
frustration Canadians feel about the direction the federal government
is heading," said Alex Neve, Secretary General, Amnesty International
Canada. "Fundamental human rights such as Freedom of Expression are at
"The continued survival of B.C. icons like migratory salmon and
steelhead are put at risk through this far-reaching omnibus bill. It's
bad policy and it's bad democracy," stated John Fraser, Conservative
fisheries minister in 1984-5. "I'm speaking out today because I'm a
Conservative and nobody can pretend to be a real Conservative if they
are not a conservationist."
Over 500 groups including Oxfam, Amnesty International, the Canadian
Labour Congress, faith groups, First Nations and all four opposition
parties (NDP, Liberal, Green and Bloc Quebecois) are participating in
Black Out Speak Out. The campaign is also supported by Canadian
community leaders and cultural icons, including Nobel Prize winning
scientist Dr. Andrew Weaver, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of
the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs and tens of thousands of other
"Today, hundreds of organizations and individuals -- representing
millions of citizens -- are speaking out in support of two core
Canadian values: the protection of nature and democratic discussion,"
said scientist and activist Dr. David Suzuki. "These values are the
foundation of the peace, order and good government that define our
nation, yet they are threatened by the federal government's omnibus
budget bill, C-38."
The budget bill, C-38, replaces the Canadian Environmental Assessment
Act, empowers the federal government to crack down on charities,
including environmental groups, that advocate for better laws and
policies, overrides National Energy Board decisions, rushes projects
through a weakened environmental review process to speed up approvals,
and shuts citizen groups out of environmental reviews for pipelines.
"People don't want only the most powerful, polluting voices to be
heard," said Rick Smith, Executive Director from Environmental
Defence. "They value public input into risky, huge projects and want
charities to protect our land, water and air. We hope the government
agrees that it's never too late to respect nature and democracy."
The bill also includes $8 million to fund Canada Revenue Agency audits
of charities, widely perceived as a move to silence advocacy and free
speech on key environmental issues.
Black Out Speak Out was founded by leading environmental organizations:
Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE), Canadian
Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), David Suzuki Foundation,
Ecojustice, Environmental Defence, Equiterre, Greenpeace, Nature
Canada, Pembina Institute, Sierra Club Canada, West Coast Environmental
Law, and WWF Canada.
SOURCE Black Out Speak Out
For further information:
To arrange an interview or find out more about the news conferences taking place in Ottawa, Vancouver, Montreal, Winnipeg and St. John's today, please contact below. NOTE: Spokespeople are also available in Toronto, Calgary and Yellowknife.
Toronto - Stephanie Kohls, Environmental Defence, email@example.com, 416-323-9521 ext. 232, 647-280-9521 (cell)
Ottawa - Gillian McEachern, Environmental Defence, firstname.lastname@example.org, 613-292-4416
Vancouver - Kimberly Shearon, Ecojustice, email@example.com, 778-988-1530
Montreal - Nadine Légaré, David Suzuki Foundation/Fondation David Suzuki, firstname.lastname@example.org, 514-969-3158
Winnipeg - Eric Reder, Wilderness Committee, email@example.com, (204) 997-8584
Calgary / Yellowknife - Dan Woynillowicz, Pembina Institute, firstname.lastname@example.org, 250-551-2072
St. John's - Chris Hogan, Newfoundland and Labrador Environment Network, email@example.com, 709-753-7898