Youth Get Expelled, Government Stays to Ruin Another COP
By Robin Tress
This blogpost represents the opinions and views of an individual and does not necessarily represent the views of the Canadian Youth Delegation and related organisations.
Members of the CYD had their badges revoked today for speaking out against Canada, a pariah in the international climate negotiations. Following the action we received a huge amount of support from onlookers, environmentalists, media, and friends, for which I am truly thankful. However, the CYD continues to be chastised by our government for being “uninformed and idealistic,” and the six who took action today are being punished by being stripped of their accreditation to the conference. The action that got them removed from the conference was simple and clear. They stood up in plenary during a speech by Canada’s Environment Minister and showed a message on their t-shirts: Turn your back on Canada.
Meanwhile in Canada, our government subsidizes the oil industry, whose products are the root cause of climate change. Our government pushes right wing ideologies through in crime, climate, health care, and economic policies. These ideologies are evident in the way they treat activists, NGOs, and anyone who is generally dissenting of the current majority government. If they are going to reprimand us for being ideological, they should be prepared to accept the same criticism.
Here in Durban our government has misled its constituents and called other parties liars, refuses to accept scientific realities, shirks moral responsibility onto countries not responsible for climate change, and bars the public from meeting with federal representatives. Multiple countries have spoken out against Canada (like China, South Africa, and Ethiopia) and there is a general rumbling under of general disagreement with Canada’s climate policy. I can’t think of many more undiplomatic things than to call someone a liar and then back out on promises made in good faith.
For the sake of diplomacy, all parties are barred from speaking out against one particular party or group. This translates into people being forced to choose diplomacy over truth. Diplomacy over equality, over human rights, over millions of lives and livelihoods.
So, today six members of the CYD were removed from the UN for making a simple request of the world. Turn your back on Canada. It has certainly turned its back on our futures. Turn your back on our government’s policies and their desire to stop the rest of the world from taking action on climate change. Our government shouldn’t be allowed into these negotiations with such bad intentions.
If members of the CYD are going to be kicked out for being undiplomatic and for interrupting negotiations, then so should the Canadian Government. It is no surprise that they are among the most unruly and unproductive group here in Durban.