On Friday, high school students behind street protests seeking more urgent climate action raised their concerns directly with Canada’s environment minister, asking him to reject Bay du Nord, a massive proposal offshore oil and gas exploration project.
The group of about 15 young activists then joined a larger march through Montreal calling on Steven Guilbeault and the rest of the federal Liberal cabinet to reject an offer from Norwegian energy giant Equinor and its local partner Husky. Energy to drill for oil about 500 kilometers off eastern Canada. Rating.
“We disrupted the conference. It was a bit of an April Fool’s joke, to send a message that Steven Guilbeault needs to say no to Bay du Nord,” said Shirley Barnea, spokesperson for Pour le Futur Montréal, which planned the protest with La CEVES, a coalition of student climate activists.
“The science is clear that if we really want to meet our climate goals, we can’t invest in new oil and gas projects,” said the 17-year-old grade 12 student.
Guilbeault, himself a former climate activist, spoke to Barnea and another representative of the group after their protest saying he understood their concerns but a decision was yet to be made.
On March 4, the federal government gave itself an additional 40 days to decide whether or not to approve the project, which includes the creation of a floating oil production station and the drilling of up to 40 wells in the basin of the Flemish pass. If approved, it would become the first deepwater drilling site in Canada.
Montreal student groups resumed their weekly climate strikes a few weeks ago, including as part of a global day of action last Friday, after the major disruption in momentum caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. They are also planning another for next Friday.
“This is our last chance before the decision is made,” Barnea said.
Young climate activists from @PourlefuturMtl and @La_CEVES are targeting federal environment minister (and former climate activist) @s_guilbeault in Montreal, demanding that he reject the Bay du Nord offshore drilling project.
“If they approve Bay du Nord, it’s a huge step backwards,” she said, noting that Canada has failed to meet any of its previous climate targets.
If built, the project could extract up to a billion barrels of oil, Sierra Club Canada said, in direct opposition to International Energy Agency (IEA) roadmap recommendations to Net Zero and 1.5°C World Energy Outlook.
Expanding Canada’s oil and gas production would also make the goals of Canada’s new emissions reduction plan impossible, according to an analysis by the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives released last June.
Morgan Sharp / Local Journalism Initiative / National Observer of Canada