Greens call on politicians to respect civil disobedience

March 12, 2020 (le francais suit)

OTTAWA – Green MP’s held a press conference today to denounce the growing trend to demonize Canadians taking part in non-violent civil disobedience for climate action. On the floor of the House of Commons recently, the Leader of the Official Opposition, Andrew Scheer, said: “These are radical groups, like Extinction Rebellion, an organization that has been listed as a terrorist organization in the United Kingdom.” (February 26, 2020)“In using words like ‘terrorist’, Mr. Scheer increases the risk to non-violent climate activists. It is completely untrue that the Extinction Rebellion has been listed as a terrorist organization anywhere,” said Parliamentary Green leader Elizabeth May (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands). In fact, the UK’s senior national coordinator for counter-terrorism, deputy assistant commissioner Dean Haydon confirmed to The Guardian, ‘We do not consider them (Extinction Rebellion) to be a counter-terrorism risk.’”

“The truth is, as governments drag their feet in taking action to confront the climate emergency, more and more average citizens are deciding to put themselves at risk of arrest. Leading climate experts, such as Christiana Figueres, have identified non-violent civil disobedience as perhaps the most effective way to move governments.” “The rhetoric coming from Conservative provincial governments echoes the themes of polarization and demonization we hear daily in parliament,” added Jenica Atwin (MP Fredericton). “We need to focus on respectful discourse. We know that the fossil fuel industry must be phased out. We need to speak up for the impacted workers and share the necessity of action.” Similarly, Paul Manly (MP, Nanaimo-Ladysmith) decried Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s branding of legitimate protest as “left-green-urban-radicals” and “foreign funded activists.”

“The truth is the tens of millions of dollars that have been spent on climate propaganda come from foreign multinational fossil fuel companies. That foreign funding far outweighs relatively small grants given to conservation organizations in Canada,” said Mr. Manly