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Students and youth across Canada flood Prime Minister's office with calls for an end to $1.4 billion in subsidies to oil companies

Demand "Federal government must end handouts to big oil"

by Canadian Youth Climate Coalition

Students and youth across Canada flood Prime Minister's office with calls for an end to $1.4 billion in subsidies to oil companies

Ottawa, ON/Montreal, QC –  Yesterday hundreds of youth from across the country began calling parliament hill asking to chat with our Prime Minister and calling for an end to the $1.4 billion in public money current given to oil and gas companies each year. The cross-country "phone mob" didn't get through directly to the Prime Minister, but shut down his answering service. Organizers are repeating the action today, with hundreds already having called in.

"A transition to a just and liveable future means getting off of fossil fuels, and that means eliminating the $1.4 billion in subsidies our government is giving to big oil each year," said Cameron Fenton, National Director of the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition (CYCC). "Our generation knows this, and we are creating the change we want to see, but we're still waiting for our politicians to join in."
Yesterday, organizers launched an online campaign to rally youth and students to call the Prime Minister. The launch video, “Student Loans vs. Big Oil”, was viewed over 1 600 times in the first 24 hours. The video highlights what could be done if the $1.4 billion currently going to oil companies was instead converted to student grants, potentially eliminating two-thirds of all student loans taken out last year.
“While tuition fees and student debt have hit record highs, the government continues to funnel billions to big oil,” added Shelley Melanson, National Deputy Chair of the Canadian Federation of Students,  “if these funds were redirected to student grants, we could cut student debt in half.”
"In 2009 Prime Minister Harper joined G20 leaders in pledging to end fossil fuel subsidies. Two years later, young Canadians are tired of waiting," Fenton said. "While one hand preaches austerity, the other hands billions of dollars to some of the world’s biggest polluters."
The action, a joint effort by the CYCC, Climate Action Network Canada (CAN-RAC) and student groups from across the country, is part of a campaign calling for an end to subsidies in this year's federal budget.

“It's rare to see youth so vocal about a policy issue” said Sean Devin, of Truth Fool Communications who produced the video.  “The question is will PM Harper live up to his promise and respond to their calls.  If not, he is bound to make this youth issue even hotter with an election looming."

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For media inquiries: 

Cameron Fenton


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