2009: December 2nd Sidney, British Columbia sit-in
Press coverage –
A Peninsula News Review video and write-up – “Protesters occupy Saanich Gulf Islands MP Gary Lunn’s constituency office in Sidney”
Colleen Kimmett in Tyee -“Protesters target Lunn’s office”
Cindy E. Harnett for the Times Colonist – “10 people stage sit-in at federal minister Gary Lunn’s constituency office in Sidney”
Part of a press release posted on the Direct Action in Canada for Climate Justice web site –
ISLANDERS STAGE PEACEFUL SIT-IN FOR CLIMATE LEADERSHIP AT THE OFFICE OF MINISTER LUNN
Dec 2, 2009 (Victoria, BC) — The fourth of a series of peaceful sit-ins targeting elected officials, tar sands financiers, and the coal and tar sands industries began at Canadian Minister for Sport Gary Lunn’s Sidney constituency office (9843 Second Street) today. 10 people entered the office just after 10:00 AM this morning. They are calling for the Harper government and all parties to immediately commit to world-leading cuts to greenhouse gas emissions. They are also requesting that Lunn participate in an on-camera town hall forum with constituents and local youth representatives prior to the end of the UN climate negotiations in Copenhagen to explain his party’s position and lack of leadership on the issue.
“We are speaking up to demand that Canada stop obstructing a global climate deal,” said Kimi Hendess, a constituent of Lunn who is part of the sit-in. “Gary Lunn and the Harper government must listen to Canadians and push for a just, ambitious, and binding climate deal that is based in the science and led by the voices of those who are most directly impacted by the climate crisis.”
The UN-established Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that Canada faces serious threats to human health, major displacements of people and destruction of coastal infrastructure, chronic water shortages, major loss of species, habitat, and ecosystem diversity, with poorer regions and people shouldering the brunt of the damage. Worldwide, the Global Humanitarian Forum states that every year climate change causes over 300,000 human deaths, 325 million people to be severely affected, and economic losses of US$125 billion.
Yet Canada continues to obstruct the next round of climate negotiations in Copenhagen. “While many of the world’s leaders are determined to make Copenhagen a success, our government has been blocking progress all along,” said Jackie Larkin. “Continued failure constitutes an inexcusable crime against humanity, against our children and grandchildren, and against all forms of life, in Canada and around the world.”
“We are calling for what leaders around the world, including UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, are demanding of Canada: stronger climate leadership and stronger targets”, said Eric Swanson, one of the participants inside the office. “We call on the government to commit Canada to ambitious, binding targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and to shift to a green economy.”
It’s obvious to many Canadians that the Harper government’s prime objective is to protect the expansion of the Alberta tar sands,” said Swanson. “Harper and his Ministers speak of the need to be ‘realistic’ and consider the economy. But in reality, it is inaction that will be our economic downfall. We have the technology and blueprints to shift to a green economy. All it takes is political will to make the shift.”
The sit-in at Gary Lunn’s office is still ongoing.
Updates on actions taking place across Canada are online at: http://canadaclimatejustice.wordpress.com.
Another action update on the posted on the Direct Action in Canada for Climate Justice web site –
UPDATE: MINISTER LUNN TOO “BUSY” TO MEET WITH CONSTITUENTS
Dec 2, 2009 (Victoria, BC) — While staging a peaceful sit-in for climate leadership at the office of Minister Gary Lunn today, representatives from the group Islanders for Climate Justice spoke with the Minister on the phone. They invited Lunn to participate in an on-camera town hall forum with constituents and local youth representatives prior to the end of the UN climate negotiations in Copenhagen, to explain why the Canadian government is not committing to a fair, ambitious and binding global climate treaty.
Lunn refused to come and discuss climate issues with his constituents, saying that he didn’t have the time. This is just one more example of how his government is not accountable to its people on the issue of climate change. 75% of Canadians are embarrassed by Canada’s lack of action on climate change. It’s time for the Canadian government to stop blocking the international negotiations and commit to a fair and binding treaty.
Supporters outside the sit-in handed out information and spoke with local residents throughout the day. Over 80% of the residents spoken to on the streets of Sidney want to see more climate leadership from the Harper government.
The offer is still open to host a town-hall dialogue with Minister Lunn. Islanders for Climate Justice will continue to call on Lunn to be accountable to his constituents.
LETTER TO MINISTER LUNN
FROM ISLANDERS FOR CLIMATE JUSTICE
December 2, 2009
Honourable Minister Lunn:
We are holding a sit-in at in your constituency office today because the Conservative Government is stalling progress to build a just, meaningful, and binding climate treaty this December in Copenhagen.
Inaction on climate change is already displacing and killing millions, and sending many into poverty. The UN estimates there will be 150 million climate refugees by 2050. In Canada, warmer temperatures have already ravaged BC’s pine forests. Our Arctic peoples face the complete transformation of their landscape and way of life. Across the country, the increasing severity and frequency of climate caused events like droughts and flooding will impact our food production and livelihoods. Canada’s children face a future where much of our living systems have collapsed, and they will be forced to shoulder a burden of immeasurable injustice.
We call on you Minister Lunn to publicly commit to do everything in your power to meaningfully and fairly address the global climate crisis.
We call on you Minister Lunn to make sure the Canadian Government supports a just, meaningful, and binding climate treaty this December in Copenhagen.
We call on you Minister Lunn to publicly commit to pass the Climate Change Accountability Act, which calls on Canada to drastically reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and do its’ part to solve climate change.
We call on you Minister Lunn to be accountable to your constituents. We invite you to participate in an on-camera town hall forum with constituents and local youth representatives prior to the end of the UN climate negotiations in Copenhagen, to explain why the Canadian government is not committing to a fair, ambitious and binding global climate treaty.
Finally, we call on you to publicly commit to getting your government to sign the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. Climate change is a human rights issue, and First Nations in Canada are feeling climate change worst and first.
The global climate crisis is threatening our future, and humanities’ future. We have passed the time for inaction. We demand change. Our struggle for climate justice will continue.
Islanders For Climate Justice