Sudbury resident Cathy Orlando is in Ottawa today to take part in what the Citizens Climate Lobby is saying could be the largest act of climate civil disobedience in Canadian history.
Orlando is the national manager of Citizens' Climate Lobby Canada and she joins a group of First Nations and Métis people who will march to 24 Sussex Drive, the official residence of the Prime Minister of Canada, where participants will stage a sit-in to demand that newly elected Justin Trudeau commit to a freeze in tar sands expansion and begin the transition to a justice-based, clean energy economy.
“I'm hoping to deliver gifts to 24 Sussex Drive,” Orlando told NorthernLife.ca. “Broken treaties, petitions, a solar panel and water samples from across Canada. There's a theme every day.”
The four-day event runs from Nov. 5–8, though Orlando is only planning to be in Ottawa for one day.
“Once you're arrested you can't go back; the action is highly choreographed between the organizers and law enforcement agencies as per other events like this that have taken place,” said Orlando. “The act of crossing over on to the Prime Minister's property could result in an arrest for trespassing.”
While her actions could land her a misdemeanour charge, Orlando said her actions are not a protest.
“This is not a protest, it's more of a rally of support for real climate action in Canada,” said Orlando.
“I'm personally doing it from a place of love, I'm cheering for the climate not protesting against Prime Minister Trudeau.”
These actions come just weeks before the Trudeau is scheduled to appear at the United Nations summit on climate change.
According to a press release sent out by Orlando, scientists say that 85 per cent of tar sands reserves must stay in the ground to keep within the two-degree Celsius limit for a safe climate. The world is currently on track to blow well past that limit of warming by the end of the century and Canada is one of the countries yet to put forth significant national legislation to meet our national targets, CCL has said.
Orlando explained why she’s risking arrest at the Climate Welcome.
“The Election 2015 results showed that Canadians of all walks of life are 'Idle No More,' ” she said.
“The politicians need our help. All we lack to transition away from fossil fuels is political will. PM Trudeau needs us, the grassroots, to create political will for a livable world for the sake the sake of our children and the First Nations directly impacted by tarsands exploitation.”