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YOUTH CLIMATE STRIKERS DEMAND RIGHTS AGAINST TRANS MOUNTAIN PIPELINE
June 10th, 2019
*** FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ***
London (ON), Hamilton (ON), Lindsay (ON), Winnipeg (MB), Edmonton (AB), Victoria (BC) - Today, climate strikers from six communities across Canada delivered a detailed legal demand to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet to not violate the constitutional rights of youth to a healthy and safe environment by approving the Trans Mountain Pipeline. The letter was hand delivered in Ottawa this morning by a lawyer representing seven climate strikers.
Once Canada purchased the pipeline project, all greenhouse gas emissions related to it became subject to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The youth and their lawyers point out that the oil transported by the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion will produce more emissions than all of Ethiopia, significantly increasing global and Canadian climate risks and violating the youths’ rights.
Dr. James Hansen, former head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and a globally recognized climate scientist, has volunteered his time to prepare an expert report supporting the submissions. The climate strikers are also grateful to their lawyers Patrick Canning, Erin Gray, and Andrew Gage who volunteered their time and effort to write the legal submissions pro bono.
‘I fear for my children because they will arrive into this world with high hopes only to have them crushed by ignorant politicians who didn’t act when they needed to.’
- Alexis Benns, 13, Lindsay Ontario
“Whether we believe in it or not climate change affects all of us. So far climate change has had a more physiological effect on me then a physical one. I really wish that I did not have to organize walkouts to get politicians attention. I am very anxious about my future. I have big aspirations but I don’t even know if I will get to fulfill them. There is a massive security threat on my future and the government is not taking it seriously. The science is clear, we can't rely on fossil fuels for any moment longer and a transition is needed as soon as possible. The government's actions are telling millions of young people like me and generations yet to come that we don’t matter. If we don’t put into action the solutions we have, then what are we teaching our children and what kind of world are we handing to them?”
- Emma-Jane Burian, 16, Victoria British Columbia
“The government knows all of the detrimental factors that go along with their choice to push this expansion forward. They know about the risks, and the destruction and the unfair choices they are forcing the original inhabitants of the land to make. For some reason they do not feel the fear because they think money can solve everything. I urge our government to come to the same realization that I have about the dire state of our only home, and the fact that money is not worth more than life or my future. You should feel the fear and impending doom that I do, because it is real and it will lead to irreversible results.”
- Christina McCarvell, 19, London, Ontario
“Property and casualty insurance payouts in Canada averaged $405 million per year between 1983 to 2008. In the last nine years leading up to 2017, catastrophic losses averaged at $1.8 billion per year. The Insurance Bureau of Canada estimates that for every $1 insurers pay out, the government pays $3 in infrastructure repairs. When climate inaction leads to compounding monetary losses, how will you be held accountable for the deficit future generations must make up?”
- Nina Tran, 18, Hamilton, Ontario
“Adults seem to want kids who are worried about climate change to do “educational” projects, projects that talk about basic, easy stuff on climate change – turning off our lights and bicycling. But by themselves, those accomplish nothing. We need the government to take urgent action - recognizing the climate emergency.”
-Rebecca Wolf Gage, 13, Victoria, British Columbia
“What were you most worried about when you attended school? If anything, especially in the final years of our schooling, the education system evokes in us a concern for our career-defining decisions. Naturally, at this point in time, our primary concern is what career path we wish to follow. But when we learn that an irreversible, catastrophic change looms on the horizon and that we have a window of just eleven years to halve global greenhouse gas emissions or face life in an uninhabitable world, how could we possibly care about whether or not we want to be an engineer, or a musician, or doctor; these are insignificant decisions that are now sinking in the cesspool that is the climate crisis. In a province where all four major political parties have virtually the same position on the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion, simply voting is no longer a means to deal with this crisis. As our governments are failing to act meaningfully to rein in the climate crisis, the only thing left for us students to do is to strike and mobilize in other ways to make them take the necessary actions. We can not focus on school when our futures are at stake. This is why I strike.”
-Olivier Adkin-Kaya, 18, Edmonton, Alberta
”I am inspired to strike because I believe it is unconstitutional of the Canadian government to be putting profit and pipelines, before its people. Our elected leaders have a responsibility to protect; a responsibility that they have failed in and we as young people have stepped up. I am so incredibly proud of what we have been able to accomplish so far in Winnipeg and cannot wait to see what comes next for our local hub. I believe that it is imperative to have young leaders at the front of the pack, leading the fight to show this government what it is up against, we don’t back down.”
- Lena Andres, 17, Winnipeg, Manitoba
To view the submissions: