Tar Sands Reality Check Tour Kicks Off at Concordia

Project Seeks University Divestment from Fossil Fuels

  • Around 75 people attended Concordia’s Tar Sands Reality Check Tour, coordinated by the Concordia Student Union, Graduate Student Association, Divest Concordia and Divest McGill. Photos Jake Russell

Fossil Free Fuel’s Tar Sands Reality Check Tour came to Concordia yesterday to kick off a 10-day tour discussing investment in tar sands development by post-secondary institutions.

The Concordia Student Union and Graduate Student Association coordinated the event with Divest Concordia and Divest McGill, groups which are looking to defund all their universities’ fossil fuel investments.

“Students pay tuition,” said Audrey Yank, a guest from Coalition Vigilance Oléoducs. “They have a right to know where the money is going.”

The CSU hosted the Tar Sands Reality Check Tour as part of its speakers series and to fulfill a mandate to initiate a fossil fuel divestment campaign at Concordia, said CSU VP External Caroline Bourbonniere.

Divestment campaigns have been started in the past year by student organizations and front-line communities worldwide to halt tar sands extraction and development. The movement began taking off on US campuses last November with the 350.org “Do the Math” campaign, which saw students from over 100 colleges and universities taking part.

Other speakers at the event, which took place outside the CSU offices in the Hall Building, included Cameron Fenton from Ourclimate.ca, Anthony Garoufalis-Auger of Divest Concordia, Curtis Murphy of Divest McGill, Cindy Spoon of the Tar Sands Blockade, and Heather Milton-Lightening, from the Indigenous Tar Sands Campaign.

Around 75 people attended the event.

“We need to connect geographically and intergenerationally,” Yank said.

The statement was fitting for an audience ranging from McGill and Concordia students to parents, grandparents, and faculty members from American institutions.

“The fundamental goal of this is not simply stopping pollution, but it’s achieving justice and a more just and sustainable world,” Fenton said.

More events are planned as part of the CSU’s speaker series, according to Bourbonniere. Noted linguist and philosopher Noam Chomsky will be visiting the university at 12pm Oct. 26 in the D.B. Clarke Theatre.

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