For Immediate Release: February 12, 2011
Environmentalists Scale Up Response to Tar Sands Comments with Ads, Canvassing, and Calling all 50,000 Households
Toronto, ON – Today Environmental Defence published in the local Thornhill newspaper The Liberal the winning letter to Environment Minister Peter Kent on “ethics” as part of a contest launched in the wake of the Minister’s calling oil from the tar sands “ethical oil.” The winner was Cheryl Shour from Toronto who drew on a question her daughter asked about Minister Kent: “Doesn’t the minister of environment have to care about the environment?”
The contest is one part of a multi-pronged response in Peter Kent’s home base in Thornhill, which includes ads, canvassing, and calling every household to identify citizens who disagree with the Minister’s tar sands comments.
“The job of the environment Minister is to protect the environment, not to provide taxpayer- funded public relations help to the tar sands industry,” said Gillian McEachern of Environmental Defence. “The citizens of Thornhill are now in a unique position to send that message.”
Over the next few months, Environmental Defence is actively reaching out to Thornhill residents about the tar sands. The first phase of the campaign includes:
– The ethics contest, where winning entries can be viewed at
– Street and door-to-door canvassing in Thornhill as part of a petition drive. Yesterday, the first few hundred signatures were delivered to his constituency office
– Calling all 50,000 households in Thornhill to identify those who disagree with the Minister’s tar sands comments
– Ads in local media
Peter Kent was appointed environment minister of January 4, 2011. In several media interviews since his appointment, he has called tar sands oil ‘ethical’ and ‘regulated’ despite independent panels concluding that Ottawa is not meeting its responsibilities in that industry. The tar sands are the fastest growing source of global warming pollution in Canada, are leaking 11 million litres per day of toxic tailings into the surrounding environment, and First Nations communities living downstream of tar sands development have repeatedly raised concerns about elevated cancer rates.
For more information, copies of the ads, winning entry or to arrange an interview, contact:
Stephanie Kohls, Environmental Defence, 416-323-9521 ext. 232; 647-280-9521 (cell)
Gillian McEachern, Environmental Defence, 613-292-4416 (cell)