"We’re here to clean up the oil so that we put people’s interests before those of polluters,” explained Gabrielle Arkett, a member of the Clean-up Crew.
Ottawa (1 Dec 2011) - As Canadian negotiators meet in Durban, South Africa for COP 17, an Oil Clean-up Crew visited the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) this morning with mops and cleaning supplies in hand, to clean up the oil industry’s influence on the Canadian government.
Wearing hazardous waste suits, a group of youth stage a humorous action, but bore a serious message. The crew claimed they were here to clean up the mess of an oil lobbyist that was found on the premises. The clean-up crew also feigned to discovered evidence of severe oil contamination at DFAIT, indicating the prioritizing of oil industry interests over those of Canadian citizens, the green-washing of the tar sands, and the billions of dollars leaking in the form of subsidies to oil corporations.
“Since the start of COP 17, it was announced that Canada plans to back out of their Kyoto commitments, as well as promote the tar sands and oil industry interests at these negotiations. The world is trying to negotiate a second phase of Kyoto and Canada is hindering that process. We’re here to clean up the oil so that we put people’s interests before those of polluters,” explained Gabrielle Arkett, a member of the Clean-up Crew.
“The influence the corporate sector has over government policy is unacceptable. We’ve seen past Canadian COP delegations include representatives from the oil industry and today civil society is completely ignored by government. This tendency is worrisome. Given the billions the oil industry generates in profits and the billions the industry receives in subsidies, there needs to be a clearer separation between government policies and industry,” said Daniel Cayley-Daoust of the Polaris Institute, and member of the Clean-Up Crew.
Oil Contamination Prevention Guidelines were also mailed ahead of time and posted at DFAIT. These guidelines stress the importance of keeping our government accountable to the people of Canada and transparent, as well as emphasize the need to put the public interest before that of oil corporations.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE