Three days before the federal government is possibly slated to move forward with spending $4.5 billion of public money to buy the Trans Mountain and expansion infrastructure (TMX), activists called out Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, by hanging a banner that reads, ‘Don’t dirty our money’.
July 19, 2018 (MONTREAL) – Starting at 6:00 AM this morning five activists with Greenpeace Canada climbed Montreal’s Olympic Park tower, the world’s largest inclined tower, deploying a giant (10 x 25 meter) banner which reads, ‘Don’t Dirty our Money: Stop Pipelines’, sending a powerful message to Prime Minister Trudeau.
The action takes place ahead of the July 22 deadline for Prime Minister Trudeau to start final negotiations on a $4.5 billion deal to purchase with Canadian taxpayers’ money the existing Trans Mountain pipeline and infrastructure related to the proposed expansion pipeline (TMX) if no buyer is found. The expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline violates the rights of Indigenous Peoples who have not given their consent for the project since the pipeline passes through their territories. The seven-fold increase in oil tanker traffic from the project also puts marine ecosystems at risk of an oil spill and threatens to drive the endangered Southern Resident Orca whales to extinction.
Today’s action is more evidence of the growing national and international resistance against the pipeline project. Two weeks ago, seven climbers with Greenpeace Canada scaled Vancouver’s Ironworkers Memorial Bridge, blocking the path of a tar sands oil tanker, the Serene Sea, that was docked at Kinder Morgan’s Westridge Marina terminal. Since March, more than 200 people have been arrested in British Columbia, and thousands of people have demonstrated in Canada, the United States and across the world, to protest tar sands pipelines.
The Olympic Park tower is also the new home to the calling centers of the Desjardin Group, which has rented five of the fifteen floors. The action also sends a resounding message to banks financing controversial toxic oil pipelines in North America, including Desjardins which had provided Kinder Morgan $145 million on a line of credit for the purpose of building TMX. In total, Desjardins has made more than $200 million in credit available to Kinder Morgan, TransCanada and Enbridge, all of which are companies that have been seeking to build controversial new tar sands pipelines.
Quotes of the climbers:
Michèle Lavoie, a special education teacher and activist who has volunteered with Greenpeace Canada for more than 10 years:
“Irrespective of who owns this pipeline, new tar sands pipelines are deeply unpopular. The lives and health of thousands of Indigenous Peoples and coastal communities will be affected if this pipeline goes through. Trudeau must make decisions in the best interest of a sustainable future for everyone, not for the immediate self-interest of a few. I invite everyone to join this fight for the common good and against these great injustices.”
Jesse Richman, a carpenter who has volunteered with Greenpeace Canada for 10 years, added:
“Real climate leaders don’t use taxpayer’s money to build pipelines. Justin Trudeau must take serious action to fight climate change and needs to understand the resistance movement in Quebec and across the country isn’t backing down. Funding toxic tar sands oil pipelines is not only going against his commitments under the Paris Agreement but it’s dangerous for the planet and for our people.”
Loujain Kurdi, Greenpeace Canada spokesperson:
“The courage of these activists gives a voice to Quebecers and people around the world who do not want new pipelines built in their name or with their money. With $ 4.5 billion Justin Trudeau could install 3 million electric charging stations. For roughly $ 3.2 billion, he could ensure that every Indigenous community in Canada has access to clean water. Surely that would be money well spent, as would investing in renewable energy to accelerate the transition to a sustainable economy.”
Earlier today, 40 Greenpeace UK volunteers took action in the main entrance to the corporate headquarters of Barclays Bank in London to protest the bank’s refusal to stop funding tar sands pipelines. Barclays had been providing financing to Kinder Morgan for the construction of the TMX pipeline, and is the only UK bank still choosing to fund the three proposed tar sands oil pipelines.
Notes to editors: Recently, more than 350,0000 people have joined Greenpeace’s global campaign urging 12 major banks to stop funding tar sands pipeline projects including TMX, TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline and Enbridge’s Line 3. They are also calling on banks to cut all financial ties with Energy Transfer Partners which launched a USD $900 million lawsuit against Greenpeace entities and other advocacy groups in the United States with the aim of silencing protest.
- For continuous updates on the ongoing action, check our Twitter and Instagram pages.
- Listen to our livestreams.
- Photos will be uploaded here throughout the day: https://media.greenpeace.org/collection/27MZIFJWD7PX8
Biography of climbers
- Who are the activists of this action? Read their stories here