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2009: November 23rd Calgary sit-in

A CBC TV interview

A set of photos

Press write-ups –


A press release posted on the Direct Action in Canada for Climate Justice web site


November 22, 2009 (Calgary, Alberta) — The first of a series of citizen-organized peaceful sit-ins targeting elected officials, tar sands financiers, and the coal and tar sands industries began today at Canadian Environment Minister Jim Prentice’s Calgary constituency office. Six people – five of whom are constituents of Minister Prentice – entered the office just after 10:00 AM refusing to leave, demanding that the Harper government and all parties act to combat the climate crisis and stop the millions of deaths and displacements that will result from more inaction on global warming pollution.

“While our government delays, millions of people will die or become displaced as a result of global warming. People are already dying and losing their homes due to the impacts of global warming. By continuing to block progress on a global deal to solve climate change, the Harper government and many of Canada’s other political leaders are saying they don’t care about the lives of those currently and most affected by the climate crisis,” said David Wilson, a constituent of Minister Prentice who is part of the sit-in. “Jim Prentice and the Harper government, as well as opposition leaders, must listen to Canadians and push for a just, ambitious, and binding climate deal that listens to the science, and is led by the voices of those who are most directly impacted by the climate crisis.”

The participants are calling for Minister Prentice to commit Canada to taking a first step toward climate justice be pledging to reduce global warming pollution by at least 25% below 1990 levels by 2020 – the minimum the science says is necessary to have a chance at avoiding the worst impacts of global warming. This pledge must come before the UN climate negotiations in Copenhagen this December to ensure that Canada stops blocking a global climate deal.

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.

“Despite the growing crisis, the Harper Government is trying to sabotage efforts to solve the challenge of global warming, expanding the tar sands rather than leading the push for real solutions,” said Russell Charlton. “Letter writing, rallies, meetings, and phone calls are all important actions, but our Government’s inaction indicates that these tactics are not enough. We must step up the pressure, so we are engaging in peaceful civil disobedience, like those before us in the civil rights and other great movements, to ensure we do our part to solve the biggest environmental and economic threat of our time.”

The sit-in of Jim Prentice’s office is still ongoing. There is the potential for arrests.

Information about the call for civil disobedience for climate justice, as well updates on actions set to take place across Canada in the coming weeks is online at:


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