News and Updates

3 Arrestee Profiles

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.

Penny – Retired Church Musician – 72

“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.

Martin – B.Sc. (computer science and mathematics) – 46 – Software Designer

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.

Some of the arrestees after their charges were dropped.

Justice for All: A New Demand for Extinction Rebellion Toronto


    A week ago, at our first general assembly we voted on and adopted a new demand for Extinction Rebellion Toronto. Under the header “Justice For All”, the demand reads: 

    “We demand self-determination for Indigenous communities both in Canada and around the world. The response to the climate crisis must centre the rights and needs of Indigenous peoples, people of colour, the economically disadvantaged, people with disabilities, migrants, and those of all genders and sexualities. Solutions must be actively decolonial and firmly safeguard the dignity of all.”

    Designed as a statement on XR Toronto’s commitment to the fight for climate justice as well and Indigenous self-determination, the demand is the product of months of education, debate and difficult conversations. This new demand is the first fruit born of the process of Extinction Rebellion Toronto developing our own collective consciousness of the greater forces which animate the climate crisis.

    This demand is not the culmination of this process; it’s just the beginning. At the assembly, rebels offered well-thought critiques of the demand. In the coming weeks and months we aim to incorporate those perspectives into the language of the demand and have it become a living document that evolves along with the group. In addition, we will begin a process of harmonising our language with our counterparts across Canada.

    What won’t change, though, is our steadfast commitment to justice. In adopting this demand we have given ourselves an explicit mandate in the realm of climate justice. A mandate which we must now act upon. It will be incumbent upon us to build relationships and alliances with groups from marginalised communities both locally and on the front-lines of the climate crisis, listen to the needs of these communities and assist in ways that might not bring the spotlight. In addition to fighting against unjust structures in the world, we must remain vigilant so that they do not reproduce themselves within Extinction Rebellion.

    This new demand is only the first step but it’s a crucial one.

Love, Rage & Solidarity,
Extinction Rebellion Toronto

Speakers Corner Live Stream (LIVE 11 AM – 3 PM, 29 November)

Can’t make it to the strike today at Queen’s Park? No problem! Tune in to a recreation of Speakers’ Corner that we’ve created in tandem with our friends at Fridays for Future where we’ll be asking climate strikers hop in the booth and speak to the world about why they’ve chosen to strike today!

We will be broadcasting live from 11AM – 3PM during the strike so do tune in!

Click Here to view the video!

CHARGES DROPPED!

ALL CHARGES HAVE BEEN DROPPED.

On October 7th, in Toronto, 18 members of Extinction Rebellion and Animal Rebellion were arrested on the Prince Edward Viaduct following a peaceful protest. Their choice to risk arrest is a direct response to the government’s inaction in the face of the climate crisis, and the severe impact it will pose to future generations and the life-supporting ecological systems that we all rely on.

They spent a night in jail and have faced many weeks of uncertainty about legal expenses and repercussions while the Crown reviewed the evidence against them.

We are so grateful for their courage and strength. 👊❤️

Today the Crown thankfully withdrew the charges, stating that pursuing them “would not be in the public interest.” We believe this is a sound decision – the State should not use public resources to punish its people for reacting to political inertia. Instead, the State should be focusing on confronting the impending ecological collapse which threatens us all.

We do not take getting arrested lightly. Choosing to be arrested is a reaction to the dire situation we will soon all be facing. We know that to be able to choose to be arrested is a privilege that many others do not have. We recognize that many communities face systemic harm and violence at the hands of police and the State because of their continued resistance to oppression. We stand in solidarity with countless Indigenous activists and hope to bring awareness to the ongoing harm experienced by land and water defenders all across Turtle Island.

We are committed to ongoing activism and disruption. Our demands are the following:

TELL THE TRUTH – The government must work with the media to tell the truth about climate change and declare a state of emergency
ACT NOW – The government must act now to reach net-zero carbon emissions and halt biodiversity loss by 2025
BEYOND POLITICS – That the government moves beyond politics and create a citizens’ assembly to guide this transition so that it works for everyone – not just wealthy lobbyists.

With Love & Rage,

XR TO Team

VAMPIRES VS. THE PEOPLE: AN EXTINCTION REBELLION TORONTO HALLOWEEN

DATE: October 31, 2019

LOCATION: Barbara Hall Park

TIME: Meet at Barbara Hall Park at 8:30PM for briefing and improv warm-up. Performance begins at 9:00PM.

FACEBOOK EVENT: Vampires Vs. The People

DESCRIPTION

Vampire (văm′pīr′): 3. a person who preys mercilessly upon others.

Extinction Rebellion Toronto will join Toronto’s biggest Halloween party in the Gay Village (Church and Wellesley) and perform a skit that is both haunting and close to home.

The skit pits the vampires, seemingly hell-bent on sucking every last drop of oil, water, and life out of this planet vs. the rest of us: the land, the plants, animals, and people who call this place home.

The situation seems dire. The body count at the vampires’ lair rises but, over the hill, in the sleepy village a motley crew of vampire hunters begins to form.

PERFORMANCE VOLUNTEERS WANTED

We’re actively seeking participants for the different roles in this skit. Vampires, Slayers as well as some victims (if your life goal ever was to be a dead body on CSI, this is your chance)!

Wish to come out but improv in the streets not your thing? Don’t worry there’s going to be opportunities for outreach and other ways to participate!

This action will commence around Church & Wellesley at 9pm, but we will GATHER at Barbara Hall Park (East Side church st. north of Wellesley) at 8:30PM for a briefing and some improv warm-up.

EXTINCTION REBELLION ACTION CONSENSUS

If you participate in XR actions, you need to abide by this action consensus: https://rebellion.earth/act-now/action-consensus/

Extinction Rebellion: Support Our Arrestees

Non-violent demonstrators arrested on October 7 during Extinction Rebellion’s Global Rebellion.

18 people were arrested Monday, October 7, 2019 while practicing non-violent civil disobedience at a protest in Toronto, Ontario.

The activists, who were demonstrating to urge action on the climate crisis were arrested by police and charged with Mischief/obstruct use of property not to exceed $5000. Extinction Rebellion Toronto is seeking to raise $10,000.00 through this appeal, which will assist our members, who were arrested, with legal representation, bail bonds and other legal expenses.

If you would like to support our arrestees through our Chuffed fundraising campaign, please donate here.

We are facing an unprecedented global climate emergency.

The participants of XR-Toronto’s non-violent demonstration at the Bloor Viaduct on Monday, October 7 are part of a wider movement pressing governments to respond with the urgency that this crisis demands. Similar demonstrations were held in Halifax, Edmonton, Victoria, and Vancouver, as well as internationally.

XR-Toronto is a local chapter of the international Extinction Rebellion movement. We use non-violent civil disobedience to compel governments to take action on climate breakdown, and biodiversity loss, to prevent social and ecological collapse.

Non-violent civil disobedience intends to direct attention to an injustice which is sufficiently serious to morally justify a violation of the law. Those arrested protesters were peacefully demonstrating in opposition to global climate inaction. Will you donate and help our XR-Toronto members who were arrested?

Extinction Rebellion has three demands

Extinction Rebellion aims to create a culture that is healthy, resilient and adaptable. But for this to be successful, the following three things must take place:

  1. Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
  2. Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2025.
  3. Government must create, and be led by the decisions of, a citizens’ assembly on climate and ecological justice.

It is time to act on reality instead of ignoring it.

It’s not too late! A world that is fit for future generations to come is possible.

If you would like to join us, learn more about Extinction Rebellion or would like to provide in-kind donations (e.g. pro-bono legal work, performances at actions, food, or other suggestions) please contact:  xrtorontofundraising@protonmail.com.

If you would like to donate money, support our Chuffed campaign here.

Banner Photo Credit: @furtivesubversive

Global Rebellion in Toronto

CLIMATE CRISIS? WAKE UP-DISOBEY

Toronto members of Extinction Rebellion along with Animal Rebellion Turtle Island and other solidarity groups, joined rebels across Canada and around the world to launch the Global Rebellion—a two-week campaign of nonviolent civil disobedience to demand that governments take immediate action on the climate crisis. We are on the brink of ecological collapse and in the beginning of the sixth mass extinction. 

Toronto rebels gathered at Playter Gardens at 7:30am for a briefing. By the time we occupied the Prince Edward Viaduct at 8:05am, our numbers grew to nearly 200.

Throughout the day we engaged in singing, chants, art, and theatre. The atmosphere was at times serene and somber and at other times joyous and uplifting. It was so heartening to see so many fight for a just and livable future.

Rebels held the bridge for close to five hours. The police attempted to clear the bridge at 11:45pm and ordered everyone to vacate the area. 18 members of Extinction Rebellion Toronto and Animal Rebellion Turtle Island refused to leave the bridge and were arrested and charged with Mischief/obstruct use of property not to exceed $5000. They were all released within 24 hours and are now safe at home. They are currently reviewing their options and deciding how to proceed.

We want thank those who were arrested for their courage and thank our Regenerative Culture team for their patience and compassion in supporting them throughout the night and in the following days.

Extinction Rebellion Toronto is not alone in its desire for action. We unite in solidarity with nearly a million people in Canada and 6 million worldwide who took to the streets for the Global Climate Strike. We refuse to continue on business as usual and are demanding action. The science is clear. If we do not move swiftly, we will soon reach the tipping point for irreversible climate breakdown.

We welcome anyone to join us who wants the Government to tell the truth, act now, and move beyond politics for real and sustained action on the climate emergency.

Updated October 10, 2019

Extinction Rebellion Toronto, October 7, 2019
Global Rebellion
Extinction Rebellion Toronto, October 7, 2019
Global Rebellion

Press Release: October 7, 2019 – Global Rebellion

EXTINCTION REBELLION TORONTO JOINS THE GLOBAL REBELLION

EXTINCTION REBELLION TORONTO

WEBSITE: https://extinctionrebelliontoronto.org

EMAIL: xrtorontomedia@yandex.com

CLIMATE CRISIS: WAKE UP – DISOBEY

Visit Extinction Rebellion Toronto’s website for the full Declaration of Rebellion.

WHEN: October 7, 2019, 8:00am

WHERE: Meet at Playter Gardens Park at 7:30am (4 Cambridge Ave, north side of Danforth, west of Broadview Station)

WHO: Extinction Rebellion Toronto  

CONTACT: xrtorontomedia@yandex.com

September 30, 2019—TORONTO FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Toronto members of Extinction Rebellion unite with rebels around the world and across Canada in a Global Rebellion. In Toronto, we plan to disrupt business as usual by occupying the Prince Edward Viaduct over the Don Valley Parkway beginning at 8:00am on October 7, 2019.

Nearly 750,000 people in Canada joined an estimated 6 million worldwide in the Global Climate walkouts to demand action and a just climate policy. Now, in the leadup to the Canadian Federal Election, Extinction Rebellion Toronto and allies from across Ontario will escalate their campaign of nonviolent civil disobedience and push for immediate action on the climate crisis. We have three demands of the government: TELL THE TRUTH, ACT NOW, MOVE BEYOND POLITICS.

The science is clear; we have run out of time for token gestures like the Prime Minister’s declaration of a climate emergency followed the next day by the approval of a pipeline or John Tory’s proposed climate emergency declaration that fails to include “new pledges for additional programs or initiatives”. Because the Government has neglected its duty to protect its citizens by allowing the ongoing destruction of the biosphere, members of Extinction Rebellion intend to disrupt economic activities in Toronto until our demands are met. 

This action will occur simultaneously with other Extinction Rebellion chapters in large and small urban centers across the country and around the globe. By engaging in a strategy of nonviolent civil disobedience we aim to awaken the hearts of citizens and call them to action and to demand the Government act now to address the climate crisis.


A notice of demonstration will be filed with the police for this event. Those who do not want to block the road are invited to stay in Playter Gardens Park nearby. 

LEGAL INFORMATION

While we have a charter right to freedom of assembly in a public space — including the streets — the police also have a strong legal right to perform their duties to maintain public order. When these rights overlap it is important to understand the possible legal consequences. We believe that the park will be a green zone throughout the action with an extremely small chance of arrest. The road will be a yellow zone — protestors can occupy city streets and often do so without arrest — but it is possible, though unlikely, that police may determine this gathering unlawful and arrest people. If police specifically order people to clear the road and state verbally that those who do not comply will be arrested, the road will become a red zone where chances of arrest are high, but impossible to predict.

While we highly recommend that you attend a Non-Violent Direct Action training, you can also inform yourself of potential outcomes with this document.

This action will be supported by the Movement Defense Committee (a team of volunteer lawyers) and you should call this number (416 833 6137) if you are arrested.

*** Extinction Rebellion Toronto cannot guarantee legal representation for anyone arrested during this action beyond this initial phone call but the Movement Defense Committee will advise you on retaining a lawyer. ***

LAND ACKNOWLEDGMENT

We acknowledge that we meet, organize and protest upon the traditional territories of the Mississauga of the Credit First Nation, Anishnawbe, Haudenosaunee, Wendat, and Huron Indigenous Peoples. They are the original stewards of this land, as well as the original environmental activists, whose models of resistance we see reflected in our own activism. 

We operate on Treaty 13 land, which was defined during the Toronto Purchase claim of 1805. The Treaty indicates that Tkaronto is unceded, and has never been sold or agreed to be shared with settlers by the Mississaugas of the New Credit. The truth is that most of the area this city covers has been settled illegally and unjustly. We live, work and organize on stolen land, which was taken from Indigenous peoples against the spirit of peace, friendship and respect.

We recognize the violent history of this space, in which many of us are still benefactors. As activists, we aim to act responsibly and stand in solidarity with land and water defenders all across Turtle Island. 

Death to Oh-So-Sweet Life: September 27th

When rebels meet at 7am and don’t stop fighting for climate justice until 4pm, you know you’re doing something right. On September 7th, XR Toronto members gathered at Bloor and Adelaide. With the sun barely out, they proceeded into the Path, where they slowly “died of heat.” the same impactful script was read as at the Kensington die-in the week before. While the rebels were quickly kicked out by disgruntled security guards, they simply picked up and walked to Union, where they “died” again, and once booted out of there, they ran into a group of flexible, yoga-performing activists and “died” alongside them. All this before 9am!

While the die-ins were a great kick-start to the day, they were more of an icing for the activist cake later that day. It was the global climate strike, too. At 11am, the grass in front of Queen’s Park began filling with people of all ages, taking time off work or school to fight for our future. Rousing speeches and beautiful musical performances were enjoyed by all, and then we started marching. People began streaming out of the park around 12, and there was about an hour of marching altogether. Estimates on numbers range from a conservative 50,000 to 100,000! XR proudly marched alongside our Climate-Conscious Comrades.

The Strike was amazing, mobilizing 6 million people all around the world. But we can’t fizzle out. We must keep the momentum going, and continue pressuring governments for change. Join XR Toronto on October 7th to disrupt business as usual right here in the biggest city in the country. Sign up here.

Photos thanks to JP H, Yana Sery, and Prashant Tripathi.

Who says rebellion can’t be fun? Roadblock dance party

On Tuesday, XR held one of our most regenerative events yet – a roadblock dance party! This event saw rebels blocking the intersection of Bloor and St. George in swarms, but dancers took centre stage this time. While some members kept the intersection safe by blocking traffic, others took the the middle of the streets for some good old fashioned dance. Everything from brake dancing to belly dancing to group salsa dancing was on the table. An incredible performance showcasing an evil pipeline being struck low closed off the evening. A wholesome, family friendly, and fun event for all. Revolution isn’t all doom and gloom!