When you see a bully in action, the best response is to peacefully, but firmly, stand up to them.
And right now, the Harper government is acting like a bully in its desperation to get new tar sands pipelines built through British Columbia. It has cancelled nearly 3,000 environmental assessments, gutted our environmental laws and labelled anyone who expresses concerns about these energy megaprojects as a “radical.”
I intend to stand up to this bullying and hope that you will join me and hundreds of others at the Defend Our Coast sit-in at the provincial legislature in Victoria on October 22nd.
Victoria was chosen because Premier Christy Clark clearly needs some encouragement to stand up to the bullies. Even though the majority of British Columbians are opposed to new tar sands pipelines and tankers because of the risks they pose to the environment and jobs in the fisheries and forests, Ms. Clark has said “let’s make a deal.” She wants to sit down with the federal and Alberta governments to negotiate her government’s support for these pipelines in exchange for a larger share of the royalties.
Such a deal would ignore the voices of over 100 First Nations who have said NO to these mega-projects. It would ignore their right to free, prior and informed consent. And of course, it would put our communities and our environment at risk from the on-going threats of tankers, pipelines and runaway tar sands development.
That is why I was proud to join over 80 leaders from Canada’s business, First Nations, environmental, labour, academic, medical and artistic communities to launch the Defend Our Coast sit-in, where we will send a clear message to political leaders in Victoria and Ottawa that our coast is not for sale. We want a future that respects First Nation rights and leads us away from the climate crisis, not deeper into it.
The planned sit-in follows on similar actions last year in Washington, which put the Keystone XL pipeline on hold and raised public awareness of pipeline proposals in Canada. On September 26th of last year, hundreds of Canadians came together to participate in a sit-in on Parliament Hill in what was then (but probably not for long) the largest act of civil disobedience on the climate issue in Canadian history.
Since then, the movement has continued to grow, making it very clear that Canadians are fed up with how our governments are siding with the oil industry at the expense of the environment, and refusing to deal with the climate crisis.
I hope to see you there. You can sign-up today at defendourcoast.ca.
P.S. If you want to organize or participate in a supporting action in your community, there will be a BC-wide Defend our Coast Day of Action on Wednesday October 24th at the constituency offices of our provincial politicians. Our goal is to show the once-in-a-generation breadth, depth and diversity of opposition by hosting support actions in all 85 ridings across the province. Email to learn more and get involved.