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Canada Day celebrations in London, England call for an end to tar sands destruction

July 2, 2010

July 1st 2010 – Canada’s international reputation took a further beating     today as Canada Day revelers in London, home of at the largest celebration outside Canada, raised their voices against tar sands development. The UK Tar Sands Network issued a call to the Canadian community in London to join them at the celebrations to help ‘Save Canada from the Tar Sands’ [1]. The group strung banners and collected video messages from Canadians against the tar sands, which will be sent to the Canadian High Commissioner to the UK, James Wright.

“We are here to send a clear message to the Canadian government that the world is now aware of the environmental destruction being caused by the tar sands, and that there is a growing international movement of solidarity with the First Nations communities who are experiencing the devastating impacts of extraction”, said Iman Kaur of the UK Tar Sands Network.

The gala event featured performances by musicians such as Sarah Harmer and the Canadian Tenors, and is sponsored by companies involved in the tar sands, including Royal Bank of Canada and Nexen Energy [2]. Mike Johnson, a Canadian expat who joined the celebrations in Trafalgar Square,
said: “This Canada Day I would rather be celebrating the incredible biodiversity and communities that make up Canada. But with Canada now becoming known abroad as the home of the tar sands – a project that devastates the environment and tramples indigenous rights – it’s getting harder and harder to be a proud Canadian”.

The Canadian government has a long history of promoting Canada in London as a green nation with a commitment to diversity and human rights. However, the world’s largest and most destructive industrial project is currently taking place in the pristine Boreal forest of Western Canada, on the traditional territories of First Nations communities. Tar sands development is creating a sprawling network of toxic lakes and contaminating drinking water and traditional food sources of indigenous people. First Nations communities, together with Canadian and international environmental organisations, have called for a moratorium on new projects until there is a full assessment of the health and environmental impacts of tar sands [3].

At the G8 in Toronto last week, 1,500 indigenous activists demanded political recognition of treaty rights and an end to the environmental destruction of their land for tar sands and other forms of resource extraction [4]. A network of pipelines and refineries is planned to stretch across Canada and the US,
shipping tar sands oil as far as Russia and China.

ENDS

For interviews, photo and video footage contact:
UK Tar Sands Network – 07708 794 665 / tarsandsinfocus@googlemail.com

www.tarsandsinfocus.wordpress.com
www.no-tar-sands.org
www.ienearth.org/tarsands

NOTES FOR EDITORS

  1. www.tarsandsinfocus.wordpress.com
  2. www.canadadaylondon.com
  3. www.ienearth.org/tarsands
  4. www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2010/jun/25/g20-g8
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