Stop Harper Now, say Environmental, Labour, Arts, First Nations, Anti-Poverty Leaders

    TORONTO, Oct. 9 /CNW/ - Eight leaders representing diverse organizations
joined together to convey the need to defeat the Stephen Harper Conservatives
in the October 14th federal election.
    Each of the eight delivered messages reflecting Harper's poor record on
child poverty, First Nations issues, the environment, the economy and Canadian
culture, while urging Canadians to recognize that they deserve better in a
federal government. The press conference, which took place downtown Toronto,
was moderated by journalist and best-selling author Linda McQuaig.
    Marvyn Novick, Professor Emeritus, Ryerson University and co-founder of
the national anti-poverty group Campaign 2000 (,
emphasized the need to elect a government that will reflect Canadians'
concerns about poverty, especially among children. "Four of the five federal
parties are committed to poverty reduction. Mr. Harper stands alone in his
indifference to the 800,000 Canadian children currently living in poverty."
    Naomi Campbell, founding central committee member of The Department of
Culture, a new grassroots group formed to promote the arts,
( said that the Harper Conservatives are out of
sync with the majority of Canadians, who don't want to see Canada's cultural
heritage destroyed.
    Chief Isadore Day, Serpent River First Nation Chief and Huron Treaty
Commissioner spoke about government inaction in addressing First Nations
concerns, even following the historic apology on June 11. "Let me remind the
Prime Minister and the Canadian public that real apologies are sustained by
the acts of amending wrongs and efforts correcting wrong doing," said Day.
    David Martin, Climate & Energy Coordinator, Greenpeace Canada
( said that all parties with the exception of the
Conservatives have adopted a Kyoto Plus platform which would see a 25 per cent
reduction in green house gas emission levels. "The United Nations climate
conference in Copenhagen in December 2009 will make a historic decision on
whether to strengthen and extend the Kyoto Protocol. Canada should be part of
the solution, not part of the problem."
    Alice Klein, Editor and CEO of Now Magazine and co-founder of strategic
voting site said: "Harper's deceptive climate
politics have aroused a new citizen's movement empowered by new 21st century
tools like The grassroots are not letting Harper's
climate crisis denial go unanswered."
    Ken Lewenza, National President of the Canadian Auto Workers union
( said that Canadians are worried about a future under another
Harper government, which over the last two and a half years has demonstrated
real callousness towards the Canadian people. "The crisis that economists are
predicting is already here and has been for the last number of years in the
country's manufacturing sector - working people, their families and
communities are paying the price for the Harper Conservatives' poor economic
    Garry Neil, Director, Council of Canadians ( spoke
about the necessity of electing a government that negotiates trade deals that
don't erode the quality of life for Canadians as well as domestic industry.
"Stephen Harper can't be given a blank cheque to negotiate a sweeping new
trade deal like he's now proposing with the European Union, which is based on
NAFTA. And he can't be trusted to fix the grave errors in NAFTA either."
    Ricken Patel, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Avaaz (
(sponsor of the Stop Harper anthem performed by K-OS, Ed Robertson, Sarah
Harmer and other artists) said that their recently released Stop Harper video
and song is just one example of how Canadians are mobilizing to ensure Stephen
Harper doesn't get a second mandate. "Canadians are shocked at the
irresponsible record of Stephen Harper - we don't recognize our country under
this leader."
    The eight leaders also outlined their plans to mobilize an anti-Harper
vote in the remaining days of the campaign, including in swing ridings.

For further information:

For further information: Shannon Devine (CAW) at (416) 302-1699; Kristen
Ostling (Avaaz) at or (613) 222-2573, or Michael Wheeler
(Department of Culture) at (416) 939-2173

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