Article: Greens Hope Message Grows on PM

The Gazette, Montreal, May 31, 1997, Jeff Heinrich

Greens Hope Message Grows on PM

Photo: NDP candidate Tooker Gomberg leaves a message for the little guy from Shawinigan.

A dozen environmental activists who drove all the way from Montreal to Shawinigan yesterday showed up at Prime Minister Jean Chrétien’s home with a manifesto about global warming and a car that runs on used vegetable oil.

The group, including some Green Party and New Democratic Party candidates

from Montreal, travelled about 140 kilometres to tape their demands to the front door of the cottage-style home – much like Martin Luther in Wittenberg, minus the nails.

Then they pitched a tent and prepared to wait for the PM.

“We demand that the prime minister take the issue of climate change seriously,” declared the manifesto, written – unwastefully – on a reused piece of scrap paper. It then called on Chrétien to adopt four measure in the fight against global warming: retro-fit all buildings in the country for energy-efficiency, invest in public and bicycle transportation halt urban sprawl and stop subsidies to the fossil-fuel industry.

The group scanned Chrétien’s home on the shore of picturesque Lac des Piles, 20 km north of Shawinigan, looking for any signs of upgraded energy efficiency. There were no solar panels in view, but a large Canadian flag was spotted.

Climate change (the scientific term for global warming) is the “most important issue facing the country and it is astounding that the prime minister hasn’t touched it,” lamented one of the enviro-activists.

Then the heat showed up. Police officers from nearby Grand-Mére convinced the protesters that while the environment may be on their side, the law against trespassing was not. They packed their tent and departed in a cloud of vegetable-oil exhaust.

“We were actually thinking of staying for a while,” said one of the activists.

Perhaps mindful of the revolutionary change Luther wrought with his stunt, police took approach after the demonstrators departed: they left their four theses taped to Chrétien’s door.