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      "When The So- Called Leaders Stop Leading..."
      Climate Justice Movement Grows In Vancouver & Beyond

      By Thomas Davies

      Want to know how out of touch Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is with regular people? When he held his second fundraiser in Vancouver at $1500 a plate, he was 'gracious' enough to offer a discount price of $750 for those under 35. Earlier in the day, for the bargain of $250, you could listen to him to speak at a hotel downtown. Who can afford that?

      That's not the only thing he's out of touch with. Elected as a 'climate leader”, the Prime Minister's decision to bail out Texas oil giant Kinder Morgan by buying the Trans Mountain pipeline and Expansion project for $4.5 billion flew in the face of what he had promised. As the worldwide climate crises becomes more apparent every day – the consequences of his attempt to put the Alberta Tar Sands on life support with billions of our tax dollars become more outrageous by the minute. It's for that reason that more people were protesting outside the fancy downtown hotel than listening to Trudeau inside, and why climate justice and anti-pipeline events continue to grow.

      As the June 18 deadline for the Trudeau government's decision on re-approving the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion approaches, the activity before should give them something to worry about.

      The highschool student-organized group “Sustainabiliteens” held two actions in one week. Starting with a “Mourn for Our Future” mock funeral in front of a large Canada Gas & LNG Conference in downtown Vancouver, and then a “die in” with hundreds of students in front Canadian mining corporation Teck Resources' offices in Vancouver. This was part of the international student climate strikes which took place in more than 1600 towns in over 125 countries – even larger than the 1.6 million people who participated in the record protests in March.

      The Mountain Protectors have kept up a consistent presence at the 'Watch House' outside of the Trans Mountain tank farm on Burnaby Mountain, where the pipeline would terminate. They organized a public ceremony on May 13. This was followed by a town hall with Burnaby mayor Mike Hurley - with residents continuing to express huge concerns about the safety of the 65 year old oil storage tanks, as well as the lack of fire access and escape route for the more than 6000 residents who would be trapped on the mountain in case of a fire.

      Climate Convergence Vancouver continued its ongoing bi-weekly campaign to stop the Trans Mountain Pipeline, holding a busy information table in downtown Vancouver and then a loud banner drop while Trudeau was in town on May 22. The banners covered both sides of the overpass during rush hour in New Westminster, and the supportive honks were basically non-stop from every type of vehicle possible – from bicycles to semi-trucks!

      Climate Convergence also supported the large protests on May 22 outside of PM Trudeau's downtown Vancouver fundraiser. Tsleil Watuth nation member Will George confronted Trudeau inside the event, while protesters chanted outside. An elderly woman was shoved to the ground and another indigenous man violently detained. A truck saying “Trudeau: No Pipeline in a Climate Emergency!” also followed the Prime Minister wherever he went.

      Want another example of how out of touch the Prime Minister is? As Will George was being pushed outside the room, Trudeau smugly told him to, “Please give everyone outside my best.” Martin Lucther King Jr observed, “The ultimate measure of man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in time of challenge and controversy.” The Trudeau administration might be great for beautiful social media posts and inspiring empty slogans, but we're in the middle of a climate crisis and the world demands more. As we've seen in Vancouver, when the so-called leaders stop leading, it's up to poor and working people to step up instead. This is happening around the world, and Climate Convergence and other climate justice organizations continue to play a vital role in building the better future Trudeau refuses to take responsibility for.

      Build Our Future Not a Pipeline!
      Not Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion – Not Now, Not Ever!

      Follow Thomas Davies on Twitter: @thomasdavies59

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