Canada’s man in Britain gets a frosty reception

Greetings from UK Tar Sands Network HQ,

We can expect to see some aggressive lobbying by the Canadian government in the coming months, as the EU moves closer to cutting tar sands out of our fuel mix. So as well as our normal creative dissent we have been spending a lot of time plotting and scheming with our allies to create a strong EU-wide campaign, which will once and for all ‘Keep Tar Sands out of Europe.’ We’re delighted to have Philippa come on board to help build the coalition. Welcome to the team!

We are so inspired by the flurry of community resistance and incredible creative activism that has happened in the last few weeks we wanted to share a few highlights to get you all jazzed up too!

Ready to spring into action,

Sue, Ruthi, Emily, Jess & Philippa


1. Taking our message to the man

In the next few weeks we will be delivering our petition to Nick Clegg, urging him to throw his support behind the EU Fuel Quality Directive (FQD). We will have a community member with us from Pembrokeshire, Wales, where Valero are planning to import tar sands to the UK. If you haven’t signed it yet, this is your chance!

2. Canadian High Commissioner, Gordon Campbell, receives a “warm” welcome in Oxford

What happens when a man who has been leading the push to allow the tar sands into Europe goes to speak at an Oxford college? You can read the full answer to that here, but in short – the people of Oxford were not happy, and they weren’t shy about telling him that! ‘Keep Tar Sands out of Europe’ is a demand that’s growing stronger every day. Just the day before our Oxford action, the message was sent loud and clear in Berlin as well. Europe does not want tar sands oil!

Tar-Free Oxford, which organised the Oxford protest, is part of our Tar Free Towns network. It is a new group of residents, local businesspeople and university students who vow to keep Oxford a tar sands-free city. If you want to know more about what they are doing, you can follow them on twitter or join their Facebook group.

3. A new choir is born

We’ve used molasses, iambic pentameter and a tutu to tell people about the tar sands in the past, and now for the first time we are very excited to add three-part harmony to our repertoire.

On Friday 1st March we joined the new group, Shell Out Sounds, in a melancholic rendition of ‘Down to the River to Pray’ called ‘Art Not in Your Name’. The choir popped up in the interval of a Shell-sponsored classical music event at the Southbank Centre, performed to two different audiences and received generous applause. Each verse of the song depicted the damage Shell is doing in various parts of the world, making the salient point that this destructive oil giant has no place in the beautiful world of art.

If you are burning to flex your vocal cords and sing Shell out of the Southbank Centre, email [email protected] to get involved in the next performance!

4.  Alas! BP continues to sponsor the Bard

We were very disappointed to receive the announcement that BP has struck a new deal with the Royal Shakespeare Company, to subsidise a ticket scheme for young people. The Reclaim Shakespeare Company has responded by launching a petition, and vowing to continue their on-stage protests. Watch this space for news of their forthcoming thespian high-jinks – and email [email protected] if you would like to get involved.









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