Climate change activists block bridges across Canada - Canadanewsmedia
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Climate change activists block bridges across Canada



Across the country, traffic was snarled early Monday morning by activists taking part in a global climate protest.

The group heading the movement, known as Extinction Rebellion or “XR,” is seeking to draw attention to what they say is the “climate emergency.”

On Monday, XR protesters targeted and blocked 60 bridges across the globe for a campaign they have called #BridgeOut.

Similar protests are taking place in London, Germany, Austria, Spain, New Zealand, The Netherlands and Australia.

In an open letter, the Vancouver faction of XR said it does not want to “cause disruption to people going about their everyday lives,” but that the group sees “no other choice.”

“The Canadian government is failing to act on the climate crisis and to protect its citizens,” the letter reads.

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Protesters are calling on the government to “tell the truth” about climate change, act immediately and defer to decisions of a “citizens’ assembly” on climate and ecological justice.

They are also demanding that Canada and the provinces implement policies that will reduce the country’s carbon emissions to net zero in six years’ time.

They say they will continue the rebellion until their demands are met.

Here’s a look at what’s happening across the country.


The Angus L. MacDonald Bridge in Halifax, which links the city with Dartmouth, was closed to vehicles, pedestrians and bikes early Monday morning as XR protesters arrived.

Eighteen people were arrested under the Protection of Property Act — they were fined $237.50. 

Halifax police Const. John MacLeod told Global News that less than 100 protesters had gathered at the bridge.

The protesters marched down to the bridge toll plaza waving flags and signs before congregating in an area near the tolls as police cruisers blocked traffic on routes leading to the bridge.

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Members of Extinction Rebellion, protesting issues related to climate change, march to the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge in Dartmouth, N.S. on Monday, Oct. 7, 2019.

Members of Extinction Rebellion, protesting issues related to climate change, march to the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge in Dartmouth, N.S. on Monday, Oct. 7, 2019.



According to a tweet from Halifax Harbour Bridges, the Macdonald Bridge, including the sidewalk and bike lane, was reopened just after 12 p.m.


In Toronto, activists gathered near Danforth and Cambridge Avenue before making their way to the Bloor Viaduct bridge.

The activists have reportedly planned to sit-in for most of the morning.

Extinction Rebellion’s Toronto chapter shuts down the Bloor Street Viaduct bridge in a climate change demonstration on Monday.

Extinction Rebellion’s Toronto chapter shuts down the Bloor Street Viaduct bridge in a climate change demonstration on Monday.

Doug Gamey / Global News

The group has also planned demonstrations at Playter Gardens Park.

Extinction Rebellion protesters arrested in Toronto

Extinction Rebellion protesters arrested in Toronto

Hours into the protest, a number of activists were arrested.


Meanwhile, in Edmonton, XR activists blocked the Walterdale Bridge early Monday morning.

Demonstrators began to gather at the bridge in the North Saskatchewan River valley by 6 a.m., Global News observed, and just before 7 a.m. they walked out on to the road.

Police eventually blocked off the top of Walterdale Hill and redirected traffic.

Thirty minutes later the blockade was cleared and traffic began flowing freely.

Activists with the Extinction Rebellion movement blocking the Walterdale Bridge into downtown Edmonton Monday morning as part of international protests demanding new climate policies. Monday, October 7, 2019.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney criticized the protest on Twitter, saying the protesters were “delaying commute for hundreds in Edmonton trying to get to work & take kids to school.”

“Somehow this is all supposed to be in the name of the environment,” he wrote. “But hundreds of cares are now idling unnecessarily as they wait backed up.”


In Vancouver, police warned commuters to “plan accordingly,” as activists prepared to shut down the Burrard Bridge at 8:30 a.m.

“We are expecting the Burrard Bridge to remain closed during this afternoon’s commute,” Vancouver police said in a tweet. “We are working with them to minimize further traffic disruptions while maintaining public safety.”

Protesters with the group Extinction Rebellion occupy the Burrard Bridge, closing it to vehicle traffic going into and out of downtown Vancouver, on Monday October 7, 2019.

Protesters with the group Extinction Rebellion occupy the Burrard Bridge, closing it to vehicle traffic going into and out of downtown Vancouver, on Monday October 7, 2019.


Shortly after 9 a.m., activists holding signs and umbrellas began walking across the bridge, chanting “climate action.”

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Numbers show 25% increase in advance voting over 2015




New numbers provided by Elections Canada say voter turnout during the first two days of advanced polling is up 25 per cent over numbers recorded during the same period in 2015.

According to Elections Canada, preliminary figures show approximately two million people cast their ballots across Canada on Friday and Saturday.

During the 2015 election 1.6 million Canadians cast their ballots during the first two days.

Over the four-day early voting period during the previous election, a total of 3.65 million Canadians voted, representing 20.8 per cent of all votes cast.

In a statement emailed to Global News, Elections Canada spokeswoman Diane Benson said this year’s increase shows that “more Canadians are taking advantage of early voting opportunities to cast their ballots.”

While the increase is large, Elections Canada says the figure does not include those who voted in local offices, on campus, in additional service points or by special ballot.

It also does not include the number of voters who cast their ballot on Sunday. The agency says that number, as well as national totals and riding-by-riding-totals will be available later this week.

Federal Election 2019: Advance polling hours to be extended

Advance voting began on Friday, and those still interested in casting their ballot early have until Monday at 9 p.m. to do so.

Voters can find out the location of advance polling stations by looking at their voter identification cards, the Elections Canada website or by calling 1-800-463-6868.

In order to vote, individuals must prove their identity and address.

For more information on when, where and how to vote, Global News has created this handy voters guide.

Canada’s federal election will take place on Oct. 21.

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Singh downplays prospect of a coalition




TORONTO — NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh appeared to be walking back his comments on Monday, a day after he said he would “absolutely” work with the other parties to form a coalition government in the event of the Conservatives winning a minority next week.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday in Surrey, B.C., Singh said he would do “whatever it takes” to avoid a Conservative government, including working with Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau if the Conservatives win.

“We’re not going to support a Conservative government,” Singh said on Sunday. “We’re going to fight a Conservative government, we’re going to fight it all the way.”

On Monday, Singh backed off those comments and urged Canadians to vote NDP in order to receive the best services.

“It’s not a question of coalition, it’s a question of our priorities,” Singh told reporters in French. “What I say for all Canadians is if you want to have someone who is working for you for climate change, it’s the New Democrats, if you vote for us, we’re going to fight for you.”

A spokesperson for the NDP clarified Singh’s stance later Monday, noting that he is running to be prime minister and a coalition government is just one of the options he would accept to ensure the Conservatives are not in power.

“Jagmeet will work with people who are willing to take the same priorities as his. As PM, as opposition, in coalition, in a minority agreement, in vote to vote,” said spokesperson Melanie Richer in an email.

While Trudeau has been pushing the idea that a vote for the Liberals is the only way to avoid Conservatives, Singh made it clear he hopes Canadians know there are more options.

“I reject that analysis,” he said. “Vote for a New Democrat, wherever you are, vote for a New Democrat. They’re going to make sure that your priorities are put front and centre. We can win and we can make sure that your life is better.”

Singh would not respond to whether he’d require any NDP MPs to sit in cabinet under a coalition, but has previously said he would require climate change action, national pharmacare, interest-free student loans, cuts to cell phone plans, affordable housing investments and additional taxes of the wealthiest Canadians to support any party’s minority government.

When asked about the prospect of forming a coalition with the NDP, Trudeau dodged the question and suggested the NDP would rip up the new NAFTA deal under this proposal.

Singh called that claim a “lie” and added his party would only require some of the trade protections in the agreement to be enforceable as a way of protecting Canadian workers.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer told reporters on Monday that a coalition with the Liberals and NDP would “lead to higher taxes, less jobs, more deficits and bigger household bills.”

“It’s the coalition Canadians can’t afford,” he said. “Only a Conservative majority government can prevent a government with Justin Trudeau as a spokesman, but the NDP calling the shots.”

Singh said the Conservatives will not fight for every day Canadians and are instead focused on offering tax breaks for the richest people in the country.

“With Conservatives what you get are folks that are going to offer you a couple dollars in your pocket, but what they’re really going to do is cost you more in the long run,” Singh said.

“That’s not what Canadians need right now. They need investments in housing, they need someone who’s going to take on the big cell phone companies and make sure that cell phone and internet prices are more affordable. That’s what you get when you vote New Democrat.”

According to the latest polling from Nanos research, the Liberals and Conservatives are deadlocked with around 32 per cent support with just a week to go before the election. The NDP sit comfortably in third with 19.2 per cent support.

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Conservatives defend ads that accuse Liberals of planning to legalize hard drugs




Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer was not campaigning on Sunday, but defended the online ads when asked about them on Saturday.


The Conservatives are standing by their use of ads that falsely say the Liberals plan to legalize hard drugs, as another example of the Tory-endorsed claim has surfaced.

The Globe obtained a copy of a flier sent out in the Scarborough area of Toronto that says “Justin Trudeau has a plan to legalize hard drugs.” The flier has English and Chinese languages on both sides with the same message.

A picture of someone shooting up is accompanied by the question: “Do you want Justin Trudeau to legalize hard drugs in your community?”

At a campaign event in Toronto on Sunday, Mr. Trudeau called the ads “reprehensible” and a “lie.”

The flier goes on to say: “Only Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives will stop Trudeau’s hard drug legalization plan and keep our kids safe.”

Mr. Trudeau said during the French language TVA debate on Oct. 2 that a re-elected Liberal government would not legalize or decriminalize hard drugs “right now,” but clarified with reporters immediately afterwards that he has no plans to do so if he wins a second mandate.

“We will not be further decriminalizing any drugs other than cannabis,” Mr. Trudeau told reporters after the debate.

The Conservatives are defending their ads, accusing the Liberal Leader of being unclear.

“If Justin Trudeau tells us precisely when he is going to legalize dangerous drugs, we will amend our [ads] to reflect this new information,” Conservative spokesperson Simon Jefferies said on Sunday when asked about the fliers.

On Friday, The Globe reported that the party was also pushing similar ads on its Chinese-language Facebook page.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer was not campaigning on Sunday, but defended the online ads when asked about them on Saturday.

“We’ve called attention to the Liberals’ inability to come clear on this,” he said. “This is something that Canadians have a right to know about: whether or not they’re going to give Justin Trudeau a second mandate where he will continue to go down this road of making drugs more accessible.”

Mr. Trudeau said the ads are a distraction from the Conservative platform, which outlines $53-billion in cuts over five years to balance the budget while also introducing an across-the-board income tax cut.

“The Conservative Party is continuing to mislead and even lie to Canadians,” Mr. Trudeau said.

“I think it is reprehensible. We have been very clear, we will not be legalizing hard drugs. We will continue with the approach that we have that has been working on fighting this terrible opioid epidemic.”

Parts of the country have been dealing in recent years with a surge in deaths from overdoses linked to illicit opioids.

Mr. Trudeau has said his approach to combating the opioid crisis will be “grounded in science, in harm reduction, in safe consumption, in giving more tools to our medical professionals.”

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