On September 26, hundreds of people from across Canada risked arrest in Ottawa to send a message to Prime Minister Harper that we must turn away from the tar sands, respect treaty and Indigenous rights, and start building the green energy future all our communities deserve. CUSJ President Rev. Frances Deverell and Board Member Ahti Tolvanen participated in the action, while many other Board members and Unitarians supported it.
On September 16th, the CUSJ Board voted to support this campaign and have its banner present on parliament hill for this action for change. We allied ourselves with Greenpeace, the Council of Canadians, and the Indigenous Environmental Network in this action.
Board members were concerned about:
- The increase in greenhouse gases associated with tar sands production and the threat to accelerate climate change.
- The terrible pollution associated with the tar sands and the creation of toxic tailings ponds instead of cleaning up their mess when they are done.
- The medical problems showing up in aboriginal communities downstream.
- The uncontrolled use of water from the Athabasca watershed and the threat to the habitat of fish and birds
The risk to our beautiful British Columbia coastline if the gateway pipeline goes through.
The coalition hopes:
- For a moratorium on the growth of the tar sands.
- To stop both the Keystone XL and the Gateway pipelines.
- To commit to maintaining the right and the ability of First Nations peoples to safely live a traditional lifestyle of hunting and fishing.
- To eliminate the huge subsidies to the oil and gas industry and put that money into renewable energy and green jobs.
The CUSJ board believes that as a society, we should focus our energy and our money on making the transition to renewable energy instead of spending our resources developing dirty oil. Our priority is to oppose tar sand expansion and the gateway pipeline. We encourage our members to write letters and to suggest other actions CUSJ might take to further these objectives.
Media Release: Nobel Peace Laureates Call on Harper to Stop Tar Sands Expansion