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Sit-in for climate change at B.C. M.P.'s Victoria office

The fourth of a series of peaceful sit-ins targeting elected officials, tar sands financiers, and the coal and tar sands industries began at Canadian Minister for Sport Gary Lunn’s Sidney constituency office (9843 Second Street) today. 10 people entered the office just after 10:00 AM this morning. They are calling for the Harper government and all parties to immediately commit to world-leading cuts to greenhouse gas emissions. They are also requesting that Lunn participate in an on-camera town hall forum with constituents and local youth representatives prior to the end of the UN climate negotiations in Copenhagen to explain his party’s position and lack of leadership on the issue.

"We are speaking up to demand that Canada stop obstructing a global climate deal," said Kimi Hendess, a constituent of Lunn who is part of the sit-in. “Gary Lunn and the Harper government must listen to Canadians and push for a just, ambitious, and binding climate deal that is based in the science and led by the voices of those who are most directly impacted by the climate crisis."

The UN-established Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that Canada faces serious threats to human health, major displacements of people and destruction of coastal infrastructure, chronic water shortages, major loss of species, habitat, and ecosystem diversity, with poorer regions and people shouldering the brunt of the damage. Worldwide, the Global Humanitarian Forum states that every year climate change causes over 300,000 human deaths, 325 million people to be severely affected, and economic losses of US$125 billion.

Yet Canada continues to obstruct the next round of climate negotiations in Copenhagen. "While many of the world's leaders are determined to make Copenhagen a success, our government has been blocking progress all along," said Jackie Larkin. "Continued failure constitutes an inexcusable crime against humanity, against our children and grandchildren, and against all forms of life, in Canada and around the world.”

"We are calling for what leaders around the world, including UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, are demanding of Canada: stronger climate leadership and stronger targets”, said Eric Swanson, one of the participants inside the office. “We call on the government to commit Canada to ambitious, binding targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and to shift to a green economy.”

It's obvious to many Canadians that the Harper government's prime objective is to protect the expansion of the Alberta tar sands," said Swanson. "Harper and his Ministers speak of the need to be 'realistic' and consider the economy. But in reality, it is inaction that will be our economic downfall. We have the technology and blueprints to shift to a green economy. All it takes is political will to make the shift.”

The sit-in at Gary Lunn’s office is ongoing.

Updates on actions taking place across Canada are available online.