Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands

" Earth to Harper: Get your Head Out of the Tar Sands"

Earth Day rallies target politicians
Apr 23, 2007 04:30 AM

Earth Day celebrations across the country yesterday turned the heat on politicians as environmentalists await the launch of a made-in-Canada global warming plan.

In Toronto, hundreds of people, carrying signs with slogans like "Earth to Harper – get your head out of the tar sands," paraded in the streets.

"We're trying to get back to the original Earth Day of 1970, which was a wake-up call to the U.S. government about the need for environmental change," said Kim Fry, of Greenpeace, adding that the day has morphed into a corporate event, with companies buying advertising to show they're green.

"Every politician is an environmentalist now. They all want their picture taken planting trees or changing a light bulb."

With Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government poised to set its own course to cut greenhouse gas emissions, thousands marched in Montreal with smaller crowds gathering across the country to demand the Conservatives honour the targets of the Kyoto treaty.

Under a blazing sun, Shannahn McInnis, pushing her toddler in a stroller, said since her family decided to go without a car, she's noticed the many little ways governments could encourage people to put the environment first – such as decreasing subway fares and making them accessible to strollers and wheelchairs.

"I don't think it's at all a priority to any of the parties except the Green party and the NDP, she said. "It wouldn't seem to be a priority for the public, either, because they're not electing the parties that consider this the priority."

In Ottawa, about 300 people, mostly youth activists, turned up on Parliament Hill.

The Conservative government was notable by its absence at the events, but Environment Minister John Baird defended the Conservatives' decision to abandon emission targets in the Kyoto protocol in a CTV interview.

"We'll come forward with a tough approach, a balanced approach," Baird said.

Star staff, Canadian Press

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