Climate activists in Vancouver were able to bypass tight security at a Monday speaking event featuring Prime Minister Stephen Harper as they delivered a simple message to Canada’s head of state: ‘Climate Justice Now.’
Two individuals, Sean Devlin and Shireen Soofi, dressed as waiters in order to gain access to the stage where Harper was being interviewed, holding up small printed signs.
Devlin stood silently behind Harper holding a sign that read “Climate Justice Now,” while Soofi’s sign read, “The Conservatives Take Climate Change Seriously,” with the sentence crossed out.
Neither made a move to touch or engage the Prime Minister and only stood behind him a moment before security personnel intervened and hauled them off the stage.
As the Globe and Mail reports, “groans of disapproval could be heard from the business audience on hand for the event at the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel.”
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The protest was motivated by opposition to Harper and his government’s continued push for fossil fuel expansion, including his support for tar sands mining and new pipeline projects designed to carry the “world’s dirtiest fuel” to export terminals in Canada and the United States. Those pipelines project include the Keystone XL pipeline that would run south through the central U.S. to the Gulf coast as well as the Northern Gateway pipeline that would run East to West from Alberta to the coast of British Columbia.
Subsequent to the event, Devlin spoke with local media explaining how he and Soofi were able to breach security and why they took the action they did:
Devlin also said that Harper and other government and industry officials should expect more such actions in the future.
“If we have to put on an apron to get our message heard, and get those voices heard, that’s what we’re going to do,” he said.
“We won’t stop until the Conservative government is out of power, we won’t stop until the Enbridge pipeline is stopped, and we will continue to find creative ways to make our message heard.”
Following the incident, Harper told the audience he believes the Keystone XL pipeline, a key focus of protest for environmentalists and climate activists on both sides of the border, would ultimately be approved.
“I am confident that in due course – I can’t put a timeline on it – the project will one way or another proceed,” he said.