Today, a group of Canadian youth in Durban decided they had enough. As Minister Peter Kent began to deliver his opening address at the United Nations climate negotiations in Durban, six youth stood and sent a clear message to other delegates and media.
As reported in the Globe and Mail,
“As he [Kent] was speaking, six Canadian activists stood up and turned their backs on him in a silent protest. They wore T-shirts saying: “Turn your back on Canada” and “People before polluters.”
Security guards quickly rushed over and escorted them away, leading them through a narrow corridor at the back of the room and evicting them from the conference. They won louder applause than Mr. Kent, whose speech was greeted by a brief smattering of polite applause from the delegates.
The protestors, members of the Canadian Youth Delegation, said the Harper government is blocking international progress in the climate talks.
“The actions of this government put the future of our country and our generation in danger,” they said in a statement. “We won’t take that sitting down. As long as Canada is at the negotiation table promoting industry over human rights, we will never see the climate agreement the world needs. It’s time to leave Canada behind.”
The group received an ovation from the crowd watching the Minister’s address and were escorted out of the International Convention Center’s plenary hall and removed from the premises, their accreditation was revoked upon their removal.
Bridgette Depape, the ‘rogue page’ and author of a paper on civil disobedience “Thinking Outside the Ballot Box “ for the Council of Canadians was one of the six youth involved in this act of civil disobedience.
You can see pictures of the action here.
The Council of Canadians is a proud member of the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition. Maude Barlow, National Chairperson for the Council of Canadians, when asked by youth organizers, agreed that this action is needed and that she supports it.
December 7, 2011
CONTACT Emilie Novaczek
Media Liaison, Canadian Youth Delegation to COP17
CANADIAN YOUTH EJECTED FROM COP17
TURN THEIR BACKS ON CANADIAN GOVERNMENT DURING OPENING SPEECH
High Resolution Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cydcancun/
Durban, South Africa – Members of the Canadian Youth Delegation were ejected from COP17 today as Canada’s Environment Minister Peter Kent delivered his opening address at the United Nations climate negotiations in Durban, South Africa. Just as Kent began his speech, six youth stood and turned away from the Minister revealing the message “Turn your back on Canada” prominently displayed on their shirts.
“Our so-called Environment Minister entered these talks by going on record that he would be defending the tar sands. I have yet to hear him say that he’s here to defend my future,” said James Hutt, one of the youth delegates who participated in the action.
The six youth, including Brigette DePape (the “Rogue Page”) received an ovation from the crowd watching the Minister’s address. They were escorted out of the International Convention Center’s plenary hall and removed from the premises at 12:30 p.m local time. Their accreditation was revoked upon their removal.
“This extraction-happy government hasn’t limited their reckless behaviour the climate talks here in Durban,” said Tasha Peters. “Canada has been called out for lobbying to lower EU fuel quality regulations to allow the expansion of world’s largest and most destructive mega-project – the Alberta tar sands.”
As the negotiations have progressed in Durban, Canada has won 12 ‘Fossil of the Day’ awards due to their action in Durban. Over the past week and a half youth have challenged Canada’s irresponsible Canadian negotiation strategies, indicative of the close relationship between Canada’s climate policy and dirty fossil fuels.
“By stalling international progress, the actions of this government put the future of our country and our generation in danger; we won’t take that sitting down,” said James Hutt. “As long as Canada is at the negotiation table promoting industry over human rights, we will never see the climate agreement the world needs. It’s time to leave Canada behind.”
The Canadian Youth Delegation to COP17 is a united front of youth from across Canada tackling the biggest challenge of our generation: the climate crisis. Acting locally, provincially, federally, and internationally, we combine our forces to educate and empower youth. We represent the voice of Canadian youth at the UN Climate Negotiations. For more information, see cyd-djc.org.