On October 7, 2019, 18 members of Extinction Rebellion Toronto were arrested when they refused to clear the Prince Edward Vidauct during a protest drawing attention to the climate crisis and our government’s inadequate response.
“Why I am ready to be arrested.” I live in a world where humans plunder and poison the soil, water and air. I can no longer accept this morally corrupt, colonial, capitalist system. Mere words cannot fix the ecological crisis. I must sit in the street, blockade a bridge, or the doors of a fossil fuel funding bank. I choose to disrupt and disobey, while there is still hope for justice and food and shelter for all.
I was arrested on October 7th. Enough with petitions. Emissions are still going up (2017 and 2018), so government is not failing, it HAS FAILED at its part of the Social Contract. The more people are out there, the less they can arrest. I did this for my nieces and nephews and I did it with love to try to reduce world suffering that IS coming and is already here. Where is our government’s plan for the risk that this happens in 3 or 4 major world crop regions in the same year? They continue to prove themselves incapable of protecting us because it is impossible for them to vote against corporate interests. The latest predictions from the science are worse and worse, yet Canadian government does next-to-nothing, with a 2050 target. This is what Extinction Rebellion is calling a crime against humanity. I am not a climate activist, I am a citizen.
My arrest I would summarize as a day-and-a-bit of needing serious patience to handle extreme boredom and little bit of will power or zen or whatever you draw on to tolerate the negligible sleep you can manage by resting your head on your hands instead of on the hard steel cot. Mostly it reminds me that we’re fortunate (due to the sacrifices of veterans like my great-uncle, and legal principles embodied in our constitution and charter) to live in a country where at least some people (and I recognize this may not be everyone’s experience, especially if not white) have the freedom to object and report on political objections. While my experience wasn’t pleasant, I was not beaten, disappeared, or murdered, as I might have been in much of the world.
I’m a 72 year old criminal lawyer, and moved to Canada in 1968 to resist the Vietnam War. I have a daughter, and it was to support her right to a decent future that motivated me to get arrested on October 7. It’s obvious to me that it is past the time for us to act outside of our comfort zones.