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Canadian civil society responds to Rio+20 final text, highlight lack of ambition and call out Canada as major obstructor at Rio+20

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Canadian civil society groups issued joint statements in reaction to the approval by Canada and other nations of the text of the Rio+20 talks in Brazil. Despite three days of remaining negotiations, nations are already declaring the text finished, despite major critiques from a wide range of civil society groups from around the globe.

"Countries have failed to step up to the plate here in Rio to protect the future of our children, our environment and to tackle the social challenges that result from an unjust economic system. World leaders are now arriving in Rio and have three days to fix this. It may sound ambitious but leaders have done this before. The world is watching.
In 1992, Canada, under a Conservative government, was a leader in this forum. We have now become an international rogue state when it comes to environmental issues."

- Steven Guilbeault, Equiterre - +1 514-231-2650

"We are troubled that Canada continues its role as a climate outlaw here in Rio by obstructing these negotiations. Their continued support of the Tar Sands and pipeline infrastructure over social, environmental and human rights costs Indigenous Peoples and all peoples on this planet."

- Ben Powless, Indigenous Environmental Network +55 (21) 8626 5336

"Here in Rio, Canada has been one of the worst countries, insisting to put polluters ahead of people and weakening the negotiation text which was already lacking ambition. Minister Kent must step up to protect the environment and the people or step aside if he plans to keep promoting the fossil fuel industry and destroying the oceans."

- Patrick Bonin with the Association québécoise de lutte contre la pollution atmosphérique (AQLPA) +55 (21) 84142491

"Rio+20 has sold out the people and the planet in the interests of big polluters. Without a serious shift in direction, Rio+20 will go down in history as a failure of epic proportions and Canada will be remembered as one of the chief architects of the failure. Canada's stand against strong commitments or timelines to end handouts to big polluters shows their unwillingness to do even the bare minimum on climate."

- Amara Possian, an organizer with PowerShift Canada. +55 (21) 8069 225

"Governmental delegations, with the Canadian delegation on the front, have decided to give up on a sustainable future. The Canadian government hasn't consulted anyone about this. Do you want to give up on a sustainable future? It's up to us now."

- Floris Ensink, a delegate with WE Canada

"Canada has three oceans - but you would never know it in Rio. Canada has been one of the few countries that has weakened the text calling for a new agreement to protect high seas biodiversity. Canada has gone from being a leader on oceans governance issues, to blocking important progress for the high seas. While some achievements were made on oceans issues, including good progress on subsidies, recommitment to restoring fish stocks by 2015, there are huge gaps that have not been filled."

- Susanna Fuller, High Seas Alliance, 055 21 8293 4536

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Eveline Trudel-Fugère