Canadian Climate Protesters Disrupt House of Commons Question Period
A loud protest in the visitors gallery of the House of Commons resulted in several arrests and the brief shutdown of question period on Monday.
Around 200 young protesters chanted slogans to support Bill C-311, an NDP private member's bill on climate change. Six people were reported to have been detained.
The protesters yelled, "I say 311; you say 'Sign it'."
Parliamentary security guards eventually cleared the public gallery by removing the demonstrators in small groups.
Activist Jeh Custer, who was part of a group protesting the delay of a review of a climate change bill, says he was roughed up by security guards.Activist Jeh Custer, who was part of a group protesting the delay of a review of a climate change bill, says he was roughed up by security guards. With his face still covered in blood, environmental activist Jeh Custer told CBC's Power & Politics that once he was removed from the gallery he was taken to a stairwell by bodyguards and roughed up.
"Once I was taken to a stairwell, my face was smashed on the floor," he said, adding that the incident was filmed by an unnamed person.
Fellow environmental activist Eriel Deranger said she witnessed the incident and that she "watched four security guards jump on him" and "started to smash him into the floor."
"There was blood all over the floor," she said. "And as they continued to drag him through the hallway, there was blood on the walls as they smeared his face on the walls."
Last week, the House voted to extend the deadline for the environment committee's review of the bill.
C-311 would set strict targets for greenhouse gas emissions. The bill calls for Canada to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 25 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050. It also gives the government the authority to make regulations to meet the targets, including penalties for contravention.
The NDP had wanted the bill to move to the next stage of the approval process in the hopes that it might become law and compel the government to act to address global warming before the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, which begins Dec. 7.
The Bloc Québécois agreed with the NDP, but the Conservatives did not. The Liberal caucus was split, with 42 Liberals voting to extend the review and 14 supporting the NDP and Bloc.
"The youth in the gallery showed more leadership than the MPs on the floor," Green Party Leader Elizabeth May said at a news conference on Parliament Hill on Monday afternoon following the demonstration.