QUEBEC CITY, April 11, 2015 /CNW/ - Thousands of people united today in the streets of Quebec City as part of the Act on Climate march to demand Canada's political leaders act swiftly and smartly on climate change when developing their provincial energy agreement, which means stopping the expansion of the tar sands, the country's largest source of emissions growth.
"Today's march is undeniable proof that people in Quebec and across Canada want meaningful action on climate change," said Christian Simard, General Director of Nature Québec, the march's main organizer. "Our political leaders must accept this responsibility, put in place ambitious measures to combat climate change and keep tar sands pressure out of provincial climate talks."
Representatives of First Nations, unions, environmental organizations, student associations, citizen's groups, social movements and regular Canadians from as far away as Fredericton, Toronto, Edmonton and Northern BC took part in the march days before the first ministers meeting that will bring together premiers of all provinces and territories to discuss our changing climate.
"While our prime minister continues to impede real action on one of the largest and most urgent issues facing Canada and the world, people across this country are making it clear they want climate leadership," said Joanna Kerr, executive director of Greenpeace Canada. "Our provincial leaders must do what's essential by supporting renewable energy and not tar sands pipelines."
The family-friendly march took place through the streets of Quebec City culminating in a crowd-made image of a giant thermometer, visible from the sky and concluding with a concert featuring a mix of English and French musicians such as Les Respectables, Yann Perreau and Sarah Harmer. Local Act on Climate solidarity events also happened in cities across Canada, including Calgary, Peterborough and Vancouver, where organizers in swing ridings across BC ran a door-knocking day to collect signatures for climate action.
"There is no way around it, Alberta's tar sands are the greatest source of Canada's emissions growth and cannot be counteracted in the short-term by reductions elsewhere because the growth would be just too big," said Adam Scott, climate and energy program manager at Environmental Defence. "
First Nations from Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec came together to lead the march with environmental, social and citizen movements.
"Resistance by First Nations to the Energy East project is growing by the day. The more our peoples learn about the Energy East project, including the risks of toxic dilbit spills, the project's contribution to catastrophic climate change, how the tar sands have ravaged the lands, waters, air and health of our indigenous brothers and sisters, and especially how brave and unified First Nations out West have beaten back their own pipelines, the more our peoples are saying that they do not want the project and will fight to stop it. First Nations are not against all forms of development but they are certainly against irresponsible forms of development like tar sands expansion, which jeopardizes the future of both indigenous and non-indigenous peoples alike," said Grand Chief Serge 'Otsi' Simon of the Mohawk Council of Kanesatake.
Organizers of today's march: Association québécoise de lutte contre la pollution atmosphérique, Équiterre, Environmental Defence, David Suzuki Foundation, Greenpeace Canada, Nature Québec, Regroupement vigilance hydrocarbures Québec
To download photos from the march and solidarity events, visit www.act-on-climate.ca.