Hundreds gather in Victoria to push back on dirty energy projects
Victoria, Coast Salish Territories – Today, hundreds of youth attending the PowerShift BC summit joined with local Idle No More organizers and frontline Indigenous organizers from BC and Alberta for a march and public civil disobedience training at the British Columbia Legislature. The action took place along with over 60 others across Canada, the US and beyond marking the 250th anniversary of the Royal Proclamation.
“Today we gather in mass numbers all across turtle island in solidarity and unity for one common cause – to commemorate the Royal Proclamation of 1763 in which land rights and title promises were made to the original peoples of this land, On this day we assert our rights to self determination and land title as per the CDN constitution,” said Crystal Lameman of the Beaver Lake Cree Nation. “As First Peoples of this land we are standing up with our brothers and sisters all across the land; in unity we stand together and we say no more will we say yes yes to dirty oil, pipelines, tankers, and poisoned water!”
Crystal spoke at PowerShift BC this past weekend about her nation which is currently involved in one of the country’s highest profile litigations against the Canadian and Alberta governments for the over 17,000 treaty violations from the expansion of the Tar Sands.
“Projects like the tar sands and their pipelines through BC are driving climate change and devastating communities,” said Kelsey Mech, an organizer with PowerShift BC. “We’re taking action in solidarity today to stop climate disaster, but while climate change may be the call that brings us together, justice is the goal.”
The action ended with a mass public blockade training at the provincial legislature, and a message to Christy Clark and Stephen Harper – “If you build it, we will block it”.
“Today we’re not just saying no to pipelines, we’re showing Christy Clark and Stephen Harper what’s waiting for them if they cross our lines,” Mech continued.
PowerShift BC was the first regional PowerShift gathering in Canada, after two national events in 2009 and 2012. With over 1000 people participating over the weekend, it was the largest climate conference in BC history.
“This weekend young people from communities across BC and beyond came together and sent a clear message, we won’t stand idly by while the fossil fuel industry threatens our future,” said Cameron Fenton, National Director of the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition. “Youth are working with First Nations to build a movement for a just and sustainable future and politicians should be worried.”