27 youth banned from Canada's House of Commons after staging climate protest
A group of precocious Canadians have earned themselves a month-long ban from Parliament Hill in Ottawa after sneakily staging a sit-in during a visitors' tour.
A total of 27 people representing a youth organization called Our Time snuck into the House of Commons on Monday morning to ask that Canada's newly-elected MPs "come together, put partisan politics aside, and govern for a Green New Deal."
Young folks in Ottawa demanding that new elected officials push for a #GreenNewDeal for Canada. Mandate letters are being delivered to all MPs! pic.twitter.com/lnXsS5iLRI— Daniel Cayley-Daoust (@DanCayley) October 28, 2019
The climate-change activists accessed the site by joining a free tour, but halted mid-way through to sit down and "occupy" the parliamentary building.
The movement for a #GreenNewDeal is rocking Canada too!— Varshini Prakash 🌅 (@VarshPrakash) October 28, 2019
Terrific work. #OurTime2019 https://t.co/2xewQWjM8P
"We have less than 10 years to stop irreversible damage to the planet," shouted one of the group's leaders as others unfurled yellow signs and sat down. "Are we just going to sit here and let our political leaders steal our future? We're not!"
A livestreamed video from the event shows demonstrators singing as their compatriots are escorted by security from the building — some of them dragged by their arms across the floor.
Today 27 young people were dragged out and arrested while occupying the House of Commons. They brought 338 mandate letters for all Members of Parliament calling on them to govern for a #GreenNewDeal. #OurTimeToLead #OurTime2019 #cdnpoli— 350 Canada (@350Canada) October 28, 2019
Learn more: https://t.co/vysNmmEuIG pic.twitter.com/hVq17tNPXU
The protesters were cleared out within 15 minutes and all 27 were issued trespassing tickets, as well as 30-day bans from Parliament Hill.
"We brought 338 mandate letters — one for every MP in the house of commons," reads a statement on Our Time's website. "We want every MP to accept their letter and pledge to make a Green New Deal a top priority when the House resumes."
To any MP who is ready to accept their mandate from our generation:— Amara Possian (@amarapossian) October 28, 2019
You can meet us outside West Block to pick up your letter. Or print a copy and take a photo with it, then share on social media with the hashtag #OurTimetoLead. pic.twitter.com/MXeDk4NBov
The protesters continued their demonstration offsite, chanting "I believe that we will win!" while jumping up and down holding signs with messages such as "Good work for all," "Our time to lead" and "Be brave."
hopeful action > despair. #climatecrisis #ourtimetolead #ourtime2019 feeling climate angst? you're not alone. (audio: "I believe that we will win!") @CJusticeTO @350Canada pic.twitter.com/mnGzzDjNg9— 🌱 (@emmatghansen) October 28, 2019
Several took to Twitter and invited Members of Parliament to come by for copies of the mandate letter.
Hey @Carolyn_Bennett I’m a constituent from Toronto-St Paul’s who was arrested alongside 26 other young people in Ottawa demanding that the 43rd parliament will work to create bold climate action. Will you sign our mandate letter for? We’re in Ottawa right now and ready to meet. pic.twitter.com/6pbnqylsxe— Niklas Agarwal 🌅🌹 (@niklas_ag) October 28, 2019
Their efforts paid off in at least one case, when NDP MP elect for Hamilton Centre, Matthew Green, came by to support the movement.
A true champ, @MatthewGreenNDP, just showed up to accept his mandate letter and has agreed to govern for a #GreenNewDeal.— Emma Jackson 🌅 (@EmmaJackson57) October 28, 2019
But we know better than blind trust, we’ll hold him accountable to tackling growing inequality and the climate crisis every step of the way. #OurTimetoLead pic.twitter.com/BgbgWwPJ8H
NDP leader Jagmeet Singh voiced his support for the protest from afar via Twitter, writing late Monday morning that "we need to fight the climate crisis like we want to win."
"To young people across Canada demanding action: Our NDP caucus will be coming to Ottawa determined to fight for a #GreenNewDeal for climate action and a future that leaves no worker behind," he continued. "Count on us."
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