Various actions are now being organized in Quebec City by different groups to protest the G7 summit that will take place in a luxury hotel in La Malbaie (about 150 kilometres north-east of Quebec City) behind a $3.8 million 10-foot high, 3.7 kilometre long fence anchored in cement posts sunk 18 inches into the ground:
Thursday June 7, 6 pm – Popular and unitary march against the G7 and for the opening of all borders – Parc des Braves
Friday June 8, 7:30 am – Perturbation Action – location to be announced
Friday June 8 – Perturbation Day – the Montreal Gazette reports this as “unspecified summit disruption activities” – everywhere in the National Capital Region
Saturday June 9, 10 am to 3 pm – an Alternative Forum – this will happen in front of the National Assembly building
Saturday June 9, 3 pm – Unitary protest – National Assembly building
The Anti-G7 Resistance Network/Réseau de résistance anti-G7 (RRAG7) website is a good source of information including about buses from Montreal to Quebec City, housing, dates of organizing meetings, and more! Other organizing groups include the Coalition for an alternative forum to the G7 and Regroupement d’éducation populaire en action communautaire des régions de Québec et Chaudière-Appalaches (RÉPAC).
The Council of Canadians has long argued that these G-summits are undemocratic, neo-liberal, an infringement on free speech, and outrageously expensive. We are also noting this G7 summit would be US president Donald Trump’s first visit to Canada.
1- Undemocratic: The G7 summit will only include the richest countries in the world (and not, for instance, the 54 countries in Africa or the 12 countries in South America). We have argued that G-summits should more inclusively be G-195 summits (all countries represented in the United Nations General Assembly).
2- Neo-liberal: The G7 is a forum, like the World Economic Forum or the World Trade Organization, that serves to reinforce neo-liberalism. George Monbiot has written, “So pervasive has neo-liberalism become that we seldom even recognize it as an ideology. [It includes] massive tax cuts for the rich, the crushing of trade unions, deregulation, privatization, outsourcing and competition in public services” and investor-state provisions in ‘free trade’ agreements. RRAG7 says, “The G7 is proving to be one of the neo-liberal states’ symbolic meetings that legitimize the richest 1% of the world’s population by creating and maintaining social and economic inequalities.”
3- An infringement on free speech: The RCMP has confirmed that a so-called ‘free speech area’ will be located in ‘a vacant lot’ beside the Musée de Charlevoix which is almost 2 kilometres from the Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu, the luxury hotel where the G7 will be meeting. Our argument is that all of Canada should be considered a ‘free speech zone’ and that it’s a violation of democratic rights for people who want to protest on key issues of our day to be kept out of sight of leaders making decisions about their lives (notably, G7 decisions about climate change that affects us all).
4- Expensive: The two-day summit in La Malbaie will cost about $605 million, with $259 million to be spent on security. We have said it would be more cost-efficient for them to take place at the UN Secretariat Building in New York (where the costs of security measures would be minimized because of a consistent location). The Toronto Star editorial board agreed with us in 2010 when it wrote, “At root, the G8/G20 summits are about a handful of leaders pressing the flesh together. That needn’t cost the earth, or require legions of retainers. These affairs are sinking under their own weight. It’s time to lighten the load.”
5- Trump in Canada: Justin Trudeau’s objectives for the summit include “advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment” (it defies credibility that Trump could contribute to this discussion); working together on climate change, oceans and clean energy (Trump has described climate change as a hoax, has submitted formal notice to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement and has opened almost all US coastal waters for oil and gas drilling), and “building a more peaceful and secure world” (Trump has tweeted his nuclear-launch button is bigger than the North Korean leader’s button).
The Council of Canadians will be releasing information about the actions we will be undertaking at the time of the G7 summit in the weeks to come.
To join with the 23,097 people who have signed our petition against Trump attending the G7 summit, please click here.