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Unprecedented number of Canadians to take part in world’s largest political demonstration against climate change

For Immediate Release
October 22, 2009


Canada 2nd only to U.S. in number of activities planned for global day of action

Ottawa – Tens of thousands of Canadians from all walks of life and from every province and territory will hit streets, auditoriums and Capital Hill this Saturday, joining millions of people taking part in more than 3000 events registered worldwide, in support of stronger federal action and a global agreement on climate change in the weeks before the landmark UN summit in Copenhagen.

Canada is second only to the United States in terms of the number of events planned.

“We are sending a simple message to Canada’s political leaders that with mere weeks before Copenhagen, the time for games is over,” said May Boeve from 350.org. “Canadians want bold action to force down Canada’s greenhouse gas pollution, with real targets and real timelines that respect the safe limits on greenhouse gases established by the world’s scientists.”

The campaign, 350.org, is networking thousands of actions in iconic places around the world to take place on October 24th. Their namesake is 350 parts per million, which leading scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Events range from underwater demonstrations in the Maldives to a “circle of hope” at the White House in Washington.

In Canada, 350 local residents of Whitehorse will join hands and form a circle around the Yukon Legislature. In Vancouver, the Cambie Bridge will be closed to cars as 350 people take part in a salsa dance for the planet. In Calgary, the “Nightmare Before Copenhagen” costume parade will travel along the Bow River, while other events are planned in Montreal, Halifax and in communities across Canada.

“October 24th is for every person who is concerned about the direction Canada is taking on the environment and wants to show it,” said Tzeporah Berman from PowerUP Canada.

In Ottawa thousands of young people from across the country will converge on Parliament Hill (many arriving in buses, paid for by door to door donations and bake sales) to demand stronger action on climate change and they will be joined by an additional 1000 youth who will be attending the Power Shift Canada conference in Ottawa organized by the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition.

“Canadian youth are embarrassed by our federal government’s do-nothing approach to climate change,” said Gracen Johnson, Director of C-Day: Fill The Hill. “On Saturday we’ll make our voices heard on parliament hill, and the time after that, at the ballot box.”

“At Power Shift Canada we are going to send a message to our elected officials that if they don’t support action on climate change, we’ll elect politicians who do,” said Amber Church, National Director of the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition.

“Effective climate action means addressing Canada’s tar sands and coal fired power while building an equitable green energy economy,” said Andrea Harden of the Council of Canadians.

Canada is among the top 10 polluting nations in the world and has the worst record on reducing domestic emissions among G8 nations. Consecutive federal governments have failed to grapple with the challenge and the current government continues to put off rules to control Canada’s expanding emissions.

Partner organizations taking part on October 24: 350.org, Canadian Youth Climate Coalition, Powershift Canada, Council of Canadians, Green Party of Canada, KYOTOplus, C-Day: Fill the Hill, Climate Action Network-Canada, Oxfam Canada, Kairos-Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives, PowerUP Canada, Sierra Youth Coalition, West Coast Climate Equity, Cowichan Carbon Busters, Ontario Council on International Collaboration, Institute for Sustainability Action and Education, Vegetarians of Alberta, Step It Up Alberta, Sisters of St. Joseph, David Suzuki Foundation, Indigenous Environmental Network, Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network

Joanna Dafoe, 350.org, 1.416.985.7558
Hannah McKinnon, Climate Action Network, 1.613.241.441