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Massive anti-tar sands protest to greet PM Stephen Harper in London

Stop Harper London June 13 2013

By: Obert Madondo Twitter: @Obiemad

Stop Harper London June 13 2013 300x225 Massive anti tar sands protest to greet PM Stephen Harper in LondonA massive anti-tar sands protest will greet Prime Minister Stephen Harper when he arrives in London on Thursday en route to the June 17-18 G8 summit in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland.

The UK Tar Sands Network and a coalition of environmentalists hope to show Harper “that there is huge opposition to tar sands in the UK”. And that Canada’s lobbying against the EU’s fuel quality directive is unacceptable.

The organizers also argue that Harper is unworthy of the honour of addressing the UK Parliament.  Harper is scheduled to deliver the first speech by a Canadian PM to the British Parliament since 1944. An honour “normally reserved for the most highly-respected dignitaries, such as Aung San Suu Kyi, Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama”, the organizers argue.

The details:

When: Thursday 13th June, 11.15am
Where: Parliament Square, opposite Parliament, Westminster, London
Why: to show Harper, as he drives past, that there is huge opposition to tar sands in the UK and he does not deserve the honour of addressing Parliament!
Bring: placards with your message to Harper. We are expecting a lot of interest from the Canadian media so please take the time to figure out what you want to say!

Message from the organizers:

Canada’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, is coming to London, en route to the G8 summit. He’s been invited to give a prestigious address to Parliament. This rare honour is normally reserved for the most highly-respected dignitaries, such as Aung San Suu Kyi, Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama.

Harper does not deserve this honour. He has spent the last few years promoting the destructive tar sands industry, eroding Indigenous rights, weakening environmental regulations, muzzling scientists, and helping keep the world fixed on a collision course with runaway climate change by pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol. His government is currently mired in scandal and sleaze. What was the UK thinking in extending this invitation?

Perhaps it’s a sign of how close our two governments have become in recent years. When David Cameron visited Canada in 2011, the two Conservative leaders got on like a house on fire, and have been buddies ever since. This is important, because Canada is desperate to start exporting its toxic tar sands oil to the rest of the world – even though, if we are to have any hope of avoiding runaway climate change, we need to leave tar sands in the ground. At the moment, the EU is standing in Canada’s way, by attempting to pass a piece of climate legislation that will label tar sands oil as much more carbon-intensive than conventional oil, and discourage its import into Europe. Harper’s government has responded by orchestrating an unprecedented lobbying campaign in the EU, with the energetic support of the UK government and British oil companies like Shell and BP. It stalled the legislation, and may yet kill it off completely.

We need to challenge this destructive ‘special’ relationship, and make sure Harper does not get the warm welcome he is hoping for in London. We will stand in solidarity with First Nations in Canada whose territories and communities are being devastated by tar sands extraction. We will make it clear that we are determined to keep tar sands oil out of Europe. We will protest together for a cleaner fairer energy future. We hope you will join us.

Bring: placards with your message to Harper. We are expecting a lot of interest from the Canadian media so please take the time to figure out what you want to say! Find ideas here: http://no-tar-sands.org/events/tell-harper

More information here: http://no-tar-sands.org/events/tell-harper

Supporting organisations:

  • UK Tar Sands Network
  • Greenpeace UK
  • World Development Movement
  • Earth Peoples
  • Campaign Against Climate Change
  • Healthy Planet UK
  • PLATFORM
  • Occupy London Energy, Equity and Environment Group
  • Quaker Peace and Social Witness
  • Lush Cosmetics
  • Council of Canadians
  • The Canadian Youth Climate Coalition
  • Sierra Club Canada
  • People & Planet
  • Push Europe
  • UK Youth Climate Coalition
  • Shift Campaign
  • Earth in Brackets
  • Pembrokeshire Friends of the Earth
  • 350.org
  • Greenpeace Canada
  • Canadian Indigenous Tar Sands Campaign
  • Extreme Energy Initiative, HRC, University of London
  • Climate Justice Collective
  • London Rising Tide
  • Climate Rush

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About

Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based activist and progressive political blogger. He's the founder and publisher of The Canadian Progressive blog and numerous other online publications.

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