November 17, 2013 15:20 ET

"Defend Our Climate" Rallies Show East, West, & North Uniting Against Tar Sand Expansion

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA and OTTAWA, ONTARIO and HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwired - Nov. 17, 2013) - As developing nations decried Canada's lack of leadership at the UN climate change negotiations in Poland, over 130 rallies took place across Canada on Saturday to demonstrate the growing opposition to pipelines, tar sands expansion, and runaway climate change. From Prince Rupert, BC to Repulse Bay, NU to Corner Brook, NL, people from all walks of life turned out to voice their concerns as part of the "Defend Our Climate, Defend Our Communities" day of action.

"The turnout far exceeded our expectations," says Maggie Knight of Leadnow.ca. "Yesterday, thousands of people in over 130 communities united to tell Stephen Harper that he is setting the wrong course for Canada."

Over half of the events took place in Ontario, Quebec, and the Atlantic provinces, where opposition to the Line 9 and Energy East pipelines and concerns about fracking are heating up.

"Here in Ontario, participants came out to voice their deep concern about how tar sands expansion via Line 9 and Energy East will affect our communities," says Graham Saul of Ecology Ottawa. "At the same time, we were united with Canadians across the country in calling for real action from our government on climate change."

The Defend Our Climate rallies took place as the UN climate change negotiations continue in Warsaw. Canada has been consistently recognized as an international laggard at the climate talks, earning a bad reputation by pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol in 2011 and winning 5 consecutive "Fossil of the Year" awards.

"It's rare that so many communities in such a diverse country can be united around one issue," says Matthew Carroll of Leadnow.ca. "This kind of turnout demonstrates the breadth and depth of the movement to fight climate change. As we saw yesterday, this is only going to get bigger."

For photos visit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/leadnow/sets/72157637677632233

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