Roughly 50 Greenpeace and Extinction Rebellion Quebec activists have occupied the offices of Minister of Canadian Heritage Steven Guilbeault in Montreal.
The occupation began Friday afternoon to protest against oil sand projects in Alberta.
“Mr. Guilbeault sits in the cabinet of ministers: he has a crucial role to play in ensuring that this project is rejected by the deadline of February 28,” said Greenpeace in a press release to La Presse.
A number of the activists are seen wearing orange jumpsuits reminiscent of the jumpsuit Guilbeault himself wore while climbing the CN tower in Toronto.
Guilbeault—a former Greenpeace activist himself—is the latest in a number of civil servants who have had their offices and spaces occupied by environmental activists, such as the #ShutDownCanada/Wet’suwet’en protestors, a cut of the same cloth.
Organizers say the demonstration is to remind Guilbeault of “his old allegiances to the climate,” pressuring the MP to publicly reject Teck Resources, a mining project the federal government is still deciding on, despite heavy support from Jason Kenney, the Albertan premier.
“CEVES opposes Teck because it is in itself the point of no return,” said Albert Lalonde to La Presse, in a statement translated from French.
“It threatens the security of all by making our water and air toxic, in addition to violating the fundamental rights of indigenous communities on the front line.”
The project is set to be the largest oilsand mine in the country, and would create thousands of jobs for the area which has been battling unemployement rates since at least 2008.
“We are asking Cabinet to reject Teck and ensure a just transition to clean energy and the creation of new sustainable jobs for workers in the oil sector,” said Patrick Bonin, Greenpeace Climate-Energy campaign manager. Canada, the position previously held by Steven Guilbeault.
Guilbeault is reportedly not at his office at the moment, according to police on the scene. The situation is reportedly calm.
Guilbeault to censor media (?)
Recently in an interview with the CTV, Guilbeault told reporters that he would be in favour of journalistic licensing.
“If you’re a distributor of content in Canada and obviously if you’re a very small media organization the requirement probably wouldn’t be the same if you’re Facebook, or Google. There would have to be some proportionality embedded into this.”
“We would ask that they have a licence, yes,” Guilbeault continued.
Guilbeault later walked back the comments, stating that the government had “no intention to impose licensing requirements on news organizations,” nor will the government “regulate news content.”
The Trudeau government also appears to be set to force streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime to pay tax and create and stream a set quota of Canadian content.
“As far as the GST or PST, depending where you are in the country, is concerned, it’s about fairness. Companies aren’t paying PST or GST in Canada, and there’s no reason that the wealthiest companies in the world who are operating on Canadian soil shouldn’t pay for it,” said Guilbeault in the CTV interview.
Protests from Halifax to British Columbia
Protestors have swarmed offices and city halls from Halifax to Toronto in recent weeks. On Wednesday, deputy PM Chrystia Freeland was blocked from entering the Halifax city hall by climate protestors with a similar kinship.
Videos posted had Wet’suwet’en protestors blocking the entrance as Freeland attempted to enter.
Her office was previously blocked a month prior for the same cause.
A total of 19 activists from Climate Justice Toronto occupied Freeland’s constituency office with signs that read “No violence against Indigenous people” and “No trespassing on Wet’suwet’en land.”
“Chrystia Freeland did not answer at all,” said Dafna Cohen, a protestor, to CTVNews.ca. “We really hope that she got the message clear, but we will continue and continue to be in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en.”
Protestors also recently blocked British Columbian politicians from entering the building.
The video was posted from the province late Tuesday morning, eventually showing video of politicians entering the building with the help of security personnel.
Protestors have recently left Canada in a full halt, as Via Rail trains and cargo trains were stopped by blockades throughout Ontario.
Additionally, anti-pipeline protestors took over the offices of the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, Carolyn Bennett, in downtown Toronto on Monday.