For Immediate Release


Dylan Penner, Media Officer, Council of Canadians, 613-795-8685,

Andrea Harden-Donahue, Energy Campaigner, Council of Canadians, 613-218-5800, (can be contacted directly while in Bolivia).

Brent Patterson, Director of Campaigns and Communications, Council of Canadians, 613-882-4408, (can be contacted directly while in Bolivia).

Council of Canadians

UN Backs Climate Conference, Harper Snubs Gathering - Press Conference Today

OTTAWA - The Peoples' Conference on Climate Change and Rights of Mother Earth in Bolivia has received the backing of the United Nations. Al Jazeera now reports that, "the United Nations has backed (the) Bolivian sponsored summit on climate change." Alicia Barcena, a representative of UN secretary-general Ban Ki Moon, said today that, "Sometimes at the global level, as with what happened with the recent climate change debate, many groups felt excluded and I think it is right to address this."

Canadian participants will hold a press conference by phone today to report on the key outcomes of this conference for global solutions to the climate crisis, and ask why the Harper government has shunned the significant gathering. The Peoples' Conference anticipated 8,000 participants and representatives of 50 governments. It is being reported that the governments of more than 70 countries are present, along with civil society representatives of nearly 130 countries and an estimated 41,000 participants.

WHAT: Phone press conference with Canadian participants at the Cochabamba climate conference

WHEN: 2pm EST, April 22, Earth Day

WHO: Maude Barlow (National Chairperson, Council of Canadians), Andrea Harden-Donahue (Energy Campaigner, Council of Canadians), Kimia Gomeshi (G20 and Climate Organizer, Canadian Youth Climate Coalition)

CALL IN DETAILS: 613-230-4520 / 1-877-306-4565. Please RSVP to or 613-795-8685

The Council of Canadians had requested that the Harper government send a high-level official representative to this conference. Neither the prime minister nor the environment minister are at the conference. Not even Richard Lecoq, Canada's ambassador to Peru - who also has responsibility for Bolivia - is present.

This is further proof that - with emission reduction goals that actually mean emissions will increase, continued promotion of the tar sands, the gutting of the environmental assessment process, the ongoing destruction of water in Canada, no laws stopping the destructive actions of Canadian mining companies at home and abroad - the Harper government is an eco-outlaw with no commitment to acting responsibly to stop climate change.

Proposals under consideration at the conference include a global climate referendum and setting up an international climate justice tribunal. The worldwide referendum would seek to engage 2 billion people on 5 key climate change questions, with a proposed date of the next Earth Day (April 22, 2011). The draft text will be brought to next UN climate summit in Cancun, Mexico in November.


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