Harper dances around the issues, gives away billions

OTTAWA, June 17 /CNW Telbec/ - Stephen Harper will lead a procession of bankers through the streets of Toronto Thursday morning as part of a Global Day of Action on the G8 and G20 summits. Organized by the At the Table Coalition, an umbrella group of leading non-profit organizations, development agencies and environmental groups, Harper's parade will be tailed by a Human Oil Slick and will come to an end at Union Station, where the "fossil fools" will dance around the issues and give away billions.

The action is a tongue-and-cheek commentary on spending for the G8 and G20 summits when foreign aid has been frozen and our fair share on climate adaptation has yet to be paid.

"How far can $1 billion go? It can pay for three days of security or it can help millions of people adapt to the impact of climate change over the next three years," said Robert Fox, Oxfam Canada's Executive Director. "That's Canada's fair share of climate costs and we owe it to the world's poorest, who are being hit first and hardest. They can't live with broken promises or wait for the next summit for adaptation financing to finally flow."

The bankers will be handing out a new $1 billion bill, designed as a spoof of the Canadian five-dollar bill which features children playing hockey and tobogganing. While the cash that's being distributed Thursday can't save the world, the At the Table Coalition has identified changes the Canadian government can make to help keep its commitments.

"This government must stop putting $2 billion per year towards subsidizing the oil and gas industry, and invest much more in the clean energy economy," said Graham Saul, Executive Director of Climate Action Network Canada. "Canada must also step up and put at least $1 billion over the next three years towards supporting poorer countries as they cope with climate change."

The group is calling on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to commit to the Robin Hood Tax, a 0.05 per cent Financial Transaction Tax on speculative trading that could raise billions each year for fighting climate change and poverty both at home and abroad.

    What: "Harper, his dancing Fossil Fools and the Human Oil Spill"
                     When: Thursday June 17th, 12:15 pm

    (preparations will begin around 10 a.m. at 410 Adelaide St. W.,
                                 Suite 210)
          Where: Union Station, on Front between University and Bay

Come get a taste of the creative events in store for Toronto during the G8 and G20 summits as the At the Table Coalition demands that world leaders Invest in the Future - Now. The June 17th event is part of a Global Day of Action calling on G20 leaders to tackle climate change, fight poverty and inequality, and rethink the global economy. For more information or to view the billion dollar bill, please visit www.atthetable2010.org/dayofaction

For high resolution images, please visit http://www.oxfam.ca/

The following spokespeople are also available:

Climate change: Graham Saul, Executive Director - Climate Action Network Canada

Poverty: Robert Fox, Executive Director - Oxfam Canada

Economy: Fraser Reilly-King, Executive Director - Halifax Initiative


For further information: For further information: before, during or after this event please contact: Karen Palmer, Oxfam Canada, 613-240-3047, karenp@oxfam.ca; Hannah McKinnon, Climate Action Network Canada, 613-266-7791, hmckinnon@climateactionnetwork.ca; Meg Murray, At the Table, 613-889-2497, megm@oxfam.ca

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