Toward an Assembly of Social Movements on Climate Change

Friday, June 6, 2014 (All day)


Peoples Social Forum 2014

Before and Beyond Ottawa

More than 10 000 people are expected at the Peoples’ Social Forum taking place in Ottawa from August 21st to 24th. This will be a historic gathering as it will be the first time that activists and progressives from French and English Canada as well as First Nations will come together to discuss the future we want. The issue of how we protect our environment is already a defined theme of the Forum and an Assembly of Social Movements on that specific theme is taking shape. Now more than ever, our movements are active on the issue.

  • First Nations are at the forefront of many struggles against the petro and mining industry in Canada;
  • Citizen movements have generated massive opposition to each and every attempt by the Government of Canada to export its petrol via the South, West and now East;
  • Environmental organizations, targeted by the very same government, have launched new campaigns and have gained more and more support against climate change in general and extractive industries in particular;
  • Scientists and institutions, also under attack, are continuing to denounce the climate obscurantism of this government and all also calling for action now.

These conditions create a momentum and we believe that together, we can achieve much more to stop climate change. Canadian industries and policies need to be changed now.




Climate Change: A Key Struggle for the PSF 2014

Cuts at Environment Canada, Omnibus laws affecting hundreds of thousands of lakes and rivers to allow pipelines, attacks on environmental groups, grants to the petro-industry, Free Trade Agreements enabling the extraction of fossil fuels, and way more, are all pieces of one larger and unique strategy of capitalizing the Alberta Tar sands, or any natural resource, to the very last drop while not considering any negative effect on climate change. 


The exploitation of Tar Sands, expected to triple production in coming years, are already Canada’s fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions, responsible for climate change. First Nations living downstream from the tar sands, one of the largest industrial projects on Earth, are facing front line impacts including significantly higher rates of rare cancers. The tar sands are causing serious water and air pollution and destroying large tracts of boreal forest.


As the government of Canada is pursuing its pro-petrol strategy, Canadians will suffer important negative effects from climate change AND are now more responsible than never for the global effects of climates change all over the world. Those policies are doing harm at both local and global levels. What kind of nation is built on reckless expansion of tar sands?


Why an Assembly?

  • We know we need to work together but we don’t know how!
  • We know we are working on common issues, but we are working alone!
  • We know none of us can do it alone.
  • We know together, we can engage way more new people.
  • We know we need to propose a strong social, citizen and indigenous opposition to this government and all those who succeed it who will want to pursue the same policies.
  • We know that an alliance between the West and East movements would be so unprecedented that it would destabilize the government and the industry.
  • We know we’ll be stronger!

The objectives of the Assembly:

The Assembly of social movements on Climate wants to stop climate change. We know that the policies and actions of our government and industry are highly responsible for climate change and we want to act together on those issues. The Assembly should adopt and follow a common action plan to reach that goal.


The Process:

The Assembly of Social Movements on Climate should NOT be a mere two-hour gathering. We are not only beginning before the PSF in August in order to reach Ottawa with a more advanced plan of action, but we are also aiming at building an Assembly that will last in time and help us to continue to work together on this fundamental issue for the coming years.


The Assembly should be inclusive of all interested parties, involved or not in the PSF, but active on the issue. Climate and fossil fuel activists, First nations, environmental organizations, labour unions and social movements should be invited to participate.


Systematically, any organization proposing an activity for the PSF within the theme of climate change and the environment should be invited to join the Assembly on Climate. Alternatives and the Council of Canadians are spearheading the process to facilitate a first meeting that will launch the Assembly. Both organizations want the process to be inclusive on the basis of the Peoples’ Social Forum Charter and are inviting any interested groups to also join them in the preparation of this initial meeting.


Montreal, June 6, 2014

The meeting will be held in Montreal on June 6, 2014 as the Peoples for Mother Earth March (700 km following the Energy East pipeline route from Cacouna to Kanesatake) is reaching Montreal the day before. Please also consider staying with us as the Marchers for Mother Earth will walk through the city on June 7th, en route toward Kanahsatake.



Signatories include André Bélisle of the Association québécoise de lutte contre la pollution atmosphérique (AQLPA), Philippe Bourke from the Regroupement national des conseils régionaux de l’environnement (RNCREQ), Bruno Massé from the Réseau québécois des groupes écologistes (RQGE), Marie-Josée Béliveau, Nicolas Mainville of Greenpeace, Brent Patterson from the Council of Canadians, Michel Lambert from Alternatives and seasoned First Nations activists Melissa Mollen-Dupuis of Idle No More Quebec and Ana Collins.


Contact and info

Alternatives: Michel Lambert (514) 982-6606 x2001

Nairi Khandjian (514) 982-6606 x2278

Council of Canadians: Brent Patterson (613) 233-2773

Toll-free: 1-800-387-7177

Peoples for Mother Earth March: