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2009: November 30th Whitby, Ontario sit-in

Multimedia –


Videos have been posted here and here

This CBC video segment mainly is about the November 30th Whitby sit-in

Photos have been posted here

Parvaneh Pessian for newsdurhamregion – “Protesters take over Flaherty’s Whitby office, demanding action on climate change

Chris Doucette for Sun Media – “Protesters occupy Flaherty’s Whitby office

Part of a press release posted on the Direct Action in Canada for Climate Justice web site

THIRD OCCUPATION BEGINS

PEACEFUL SIT-IN FOR CLIMATE JUSTICE OCCURRING AT FINANCE MINISTER’S OFFICE

POLICE ISSUE ULTIMATUM TO PROTESTERS ORDERING THEM TO LEAVE BY END OF DAY OR BE FORCIBLY REMOVED

November 30, 2009 (Whitby, Ontario) — Police have issued an ultimatum to the seven climate activists inside Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s Whitby office, stating they must leave by the end of the day or else be forcibly removed.

The third of a series of peaceful sit-ins staged by a coalition of concerned individuals targeting elected officials, tar sands financiers, and the coal and tar sands industries began at Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s office today, located at: 701 Rossland Road East- Unit 204, Whitby. Seven members of the People for Climate Justice coalition entered the office just after 9:30 refusing to leave, demanding that the federal government act to combat the climate crisis and stem the millions of deaths and displacements that will result from more inaction.

“While our government stalls, millions of people will die or become displaced due to the climate crisis,” said Greenpeace Climate and Energy Coordinator, Dave Martin from inside the office. “If they fail to reach an agreement the Canadian government is saying it does not care about the lives of those currently and most affected by climate change. Minister Flaherty must put pressure on the Government to act and push for a just, ambitious, and binding deal in Copenhagen with science based targets, that is led by the voices of those who are most directly impacted by the climate crisis.”

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 this global problem, expanding the tar sands rather than leading the push for and financing of real solutions. We will not let our government delay any further while millions die and are displaced. Their behaviour is unacceptable, we need governmental leadership for climate justice now,” said participant, Indra Noyes.

The individuals inside have multiple affiliations. They presented a letter addressed to Finance Minister Flaherty outlining their concerns and demands (Attached). The sit-in of office is ongoing. The police have been called and there is the potentials for arrests. A group of local and regional supporters have also gathered outside of the Finance Minister’s office.

“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, to ensure we do our part to solve the greatest environmental threat of our time,” stated former constituent Janet McNeill.

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

DEMAND LETTER:

Honourable Minister Flaherty:

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. In Canada, climate change is harming the land and lives of indigenous communities in the Far North.
Globally, recent declines in food production due to climate-catalyzed droughts, is causing food shortages in some poor countries and escalating global hunger. Climate caused events like floods, melting glaciers, and sea level rise, are forcing millions to permanently flee their homes, from Pacific islanders to subsistence farmers in India. The UN estimates there will be 150 million climate refugees by 2050.

We call on you Minister Flaherty to publicly commit to do everything in your power to meaningfully and fairly address the global climate crisis.

We call on you Minister Flaherty to make sure the Canadian Government supports a just, meaningful, and binding climate treaty this December in Copenhagen.

We call on you Minister Flaherty 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.

Finally, we demand that you publicly commit 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.

Yours,

People For Climate Justice

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

PEACEFUL SIT-IN FOR CLIMATE JUSTICE CONCLUDES AT FINANCE MINISTER FLAHERTY’S OFFICE WITH SEVEN ARRESTS

November 30, 2009 (Whitby, Ontario) — At approximately 4.30pm, police arrested seven people who had occupied Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s constituency office at 701 Rossland Road Rast in Whitby since 9.30am this morning to protest the Canadian Government’s failure to address the climate crisis. The seven people have been charged with mischief.

This protest was the third of series of peaceful sit-ins targeting elected officials, tar sands financiers, and the coal and tar sands industries across Canada. Additional protests are expected over the coming days to protest Canada’s failure to commit to a binding, meaningful, and fair climate treaty to be negotiated in Copenhagen, from December 7th to December 18th.

“While our government stalls, millions of people will die or become displaced due to the climate crisis,” said Greenpeace Climate and Energy Coordinator, Dave Martin from inside the office earlier today. “If they fail to reach an agreement the Canadian government is saying it does not care about the lives of those currently and most affected by climate change. Minister Flaherty must put pressure on the Government to act and push for a just, ambitious, and binding deal in Copenhagen that is in keeping with the science and is led by those who are most directly impacted by the climate crisis.”

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 this global problem, expanding the tar sands rather than leading the push for and financing of real solutions. We will not let our government delay any further while millions die and are displaced. Their behaviour is unacceptable, we need governmental leadership for climate justice now,” said participant, Indra Noyes.

The individuals inside have multiple affiliations. They presented a letter addressed to Finance Minister Flaherty outlining their concerns and demands (Attached). A group of local and regional supporters, including a local Canadian Auto Workers, also gathered outside of the Finance Minister’s office.

“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, to ensure we do our part to solve the greatest environmental threat of our time,” stated former constituent Janet McNeill.

 
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