Canadian Groups Respond to Canada’s Bad Faith and Blocking Role at Rio+20

Rio de Janeiro/Ottawa – Following Peter Kent’s statement to Canadian and international media and his address to the Rio+20 plenary, Canadians in Rio and back home issued the following statements.

“Canada has been trampling our rights here in Rio and back home by expanding the controversial tar sands into our homeland and poisoning our water, air and earth, and negotiating on their behalf here at Rio+20. Our First Nation Rights are protected by both the Canadian constitution and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. They guarantee our access our lands to hunt, fish, and forage, as well as our rights to clean air and water. Canada has just been singled out for these horrible environmental and social abuses at the final assembly of the People’s summit here in Rio. It was the only country to be named in the portion of the assembly dealing with Energy and Extractivism.” Said Crystal Lameman member of Beaver Lake Cree Nation and Member of the Indigenous Environmental Network.

“Canada does not attend international environmental conferences in good faith. They pulled out of Kyoto immediately after returning from COP17 and have derailed progress here in Rio, all while gutting environmental regulations at home. Calling that good faith is an insult to people and the planet” – Amara Possian, PowerShift Canada

“With regards to blocking an agreement on protecting 45% of the planet, the high seas – Canada, already a party to the UN Law of the Sea Convention and an active participant in the past six years of discussions at the United Nations on protecting areas beyond national jurisdiction, has no excuse for its position at Rio.” – Susanna Fuller, Ecology Action Center.

“After it received 5 consecutives Fossils of the years at U.N.’S climate change conference, Canada was the only nation singled out for its destructive policies on energy and extraction at the People’s Summit here in Rio. What the Harper Government doesn’t realize is that its abdication of environmental leadership and its commitment to a ‘greed economy’ has put Canada in the bulls eye of international social movements being mobilized through the Peoples’ Summit here in Rio,” says Tony Clarke, director of the Polaris Institute.

“Our minister celebrates increased engagement in sustainability issues over the last 20 years, yet how is our federal government supporting civil society in this? It has not consulted with Canadians in the lead up to the Earth Summit as it did in 1992 and 2002, nor has it included civil society representatives on its official delegation like it did in the past. We have gone back 20 years on public participation.” – Marie-Pierre Daigle, Director of We Canada

“20 years ago, our government played a pivotal role in helping foster a new era of international cooperation. Today, our government has become a liability for the reputation of our country. Despite the weak agreement adopted in Rio, we will continue to hold the Harper’s government feet to the fire on matters of sustainabiltiy, climate change and fossil fuel subsidies.” said Steven Guilbeault of Équiterre.