Canadian Museum of History AGM flooded with messages to Cut CAPP:

On April 24th 2017, community members, students, university professors, Indigenous human rights activists, and members of the climate justice movement showed up at the Annual General Meeting at the Museum of History to tell the institution to cut ties to the dirtiest oil lobby in the country.

First, they rallied outside for a land recognition, a grounding ceremony, and a short rally. Then, they headed into the AGM and, one by one, made interventions calling on the CEO and Board of Directors to drop the dirty sponsorship agreement with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP). They ended the evening by delivering 6,000 signatures calling on the Museum of History to cut CAPP.

These messages had an impact. While some defended the partnership, the Museum’s CEO said himself that they are currently not exploring a new partnership deal with CAPP. Let’s keep ramping up the pressure to make sure it stays that way.

Watch the highlights:

 

 

 

 

Community members’ interventions:

 

Tina Oh – Student, Mount Allison University

“I have been taught in publicly-funded classrooms in Edmonton, from Kindergarten to grade 12, with dangerous groups like CAPP ensuring that Big Oil gets glorified in the curriculum.

I know now that CAPP is an organization that promotes environmental injustices that disproportionately affects the world’s poorest, most marginalized and racialized communities. The fossil fuel industry is crippling frontline communities, discarding its labour workers like pocket-change, polluting our waters, and destroying the ecosystems that feed and house us.” 

Tina’s full statement.

Hello, my name is Tina Oh, and I am a student at Mount Allison university on unceded and unsurrendered Mi’kmaq territory in Sackville, New Brunswick.

I grew up on Treaty 6 land in Edmonton, Alberta with some of the world’s largest fossil fuel corporations in my backyard. I was raised thinking that Alberta would survive off the fossil fuel industry forever –until 2014 when oil dropped to $16/barrel. Then, my family, friends, and neighbours were losing their jobs.

I have been taught in publicly-funded classrooms in Edmonton, from Kindergarten to grade 12, with dangerous groups like CAPP ensuring that Big Oil gets glorified in the curriculum.

I know now that CAPP is an organization that promotes environmental injustices that disproportionately affects the world’s poorest, most marginalized and racialized communities. The fossil fuel industry is crippling frontline communities, discarding its labour workers like pocket-change, polluting our waters, and destroying the ecosystems that feed and house us. There is an enormous human cost traded for their work.

There is no place for public institutions, like the Museum of History, that operate on public dollars, to be associated with oil and gas lobby groups with this kind of agenda.

Climate change is the greatest threat and burden to my generation, and I refuse to allow Big Oil to continue to invade our public spheres of arts & culture.

The Museum of History is the People’s’ museum. And this museum is just as much mine, as it is yours. On behalf of young people fighting to live in a habitable world, I am asking you, Judith Baxter, as a member of the Museum’s Board of Trustees to sign the petition to cut ties with CAPP. Will you support the Museum of History to stand on the right side of history? .


 

Canadian Museum of History Action-2017424-1473

Cat Abreu – Director, Climate Action Network Canada

“I first visited this Museum when I was fourteen years old on a road trip with my grandmother and five year old cousin. I loved exploring the exhibits, but what was most amazing was experiencing them through my cousin’s eyes – listening to and attempting to answer her endless reel of questions. That moment will stick with me forever – watching a five year old in awe of the vast sweep of stories contained in this space. I’m grateful that CAPP was not a part of the Museum’s story then and I’m sorry that it is now.”

Cat’s full statement.

Hello. I’m Catherine Abreu, Executive Director of Climate Action Network Canada. We bring together over 100 diverse organizations from across the country that care about how a changing climate impacts our communities, and we are part of a worldwide network of 1200 organizations in more than 120 countries working to confront the climate crisis.

I’m going to be honest with you – I’m having a hard day. This morning I made the classic mistake of checking emails before getting out of bed, and found myself scrolling through a series of images compiled by a UK newspaper that show how much humans have reshaped the Earth over the last 70 years. Let me tell you – looking at dozens of photos documenting deforestation, dried-up lakes, and melting glaciers is a hard way to start a Monday.

From there, I entered a series of conversations with my colleagues about the pressure the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers is exerting on federal and provincial governments to water down regulations designed to cut methane emissions. These emissions reductions are literally the cheapest and easiest greenhouse gas reductions possible in the oil and gas sector – the low-hanging fruit for Canadian climate action – yet access to information requests show us that CAPP is fighting them tooth and nail and waging a media spin campaign to convince Canadians that we can’t afford to take even this first, most affordable step, when the world needs Canadian climate leadership more than ever.

I’ve been working on climate change for over a decade now – since my days in university. It takes a certain amount of optimism to do this work and I’m generally a glass-half-full kind of person. But I have my days, and today is one of them. Today I feel tired, and afraid, and sad.

I first visited this Museum when I was fourteen years old on a road trip with my grandmother and five year old cousin. I loved exploring the exhibits, but what was most amazing was experiencing them through my cousin’s eyes – listening to and attempting to answer her endless reel of questions. That moment will stick with me forever – watching a five year old in awe of the vast sweep of stories contained in this space. I’m grateful that CAPP was not a part of the Museum’s story then and I’m sorry that it is now.

The oil industry has influenced Canada’s history enough.

Dr. Fleck, as the Chair of the Board of Trustees, I am here to thank you for the work you do to support this amazing institution and ask whether you will sign the petition and support the Museum of History standing on the right side of history by cutting ties with CAPP.


 

Clay Steell, Masters Student, Carleton University

“The ocean ecosystems I study are already dead or dying due to the effects of climate change, and unless we change things today, now, our natural environments and the world we know will be an exhibit in this museum, unrecognizable to its visitors on Canada’s bicentennial 50 years from now.

We need to face the roots of this crisis head on, and we can’t do that by partnering with organizations that want to maintain and broaden the status quo of fossil fuel consumption.”


 

Clayton Thomas-Müller – Stop it at the Source Campaigner, 350.org

“The oil and gas industry is responsible for untold disruption of sacred sites and burial grounds of Indigenous Peoples and climate chaos on a planetary scale. They should not be allowed to wash away or bury these transgressions against humanity and the planetary ecological systems all life depends on through their corporate sponsorship of our most sacred institutions.”


 

Lenore Fahrig – Biology Professor, Carleton University

Climate change is the number one challenge facing all of humanity. Hurricanes are becoming more powerful, extreme flooding events are becoming common, and most worrying, intense droughts are becoming more widespread and much more persistent. Unless we stop burning coal, oil and natural gas very soon, we will see hundreds of millions of climate change refugees with no place to go, as the whole world struggles to deal with climate catastrophe. This is not an exaggeration; it is based on solid scientific evidence.

The museum cannot possibly present this period in our history with its usual integrity and independence while it receives funding from CAPP. Of course I understand that the museum needs money, but I think it needs its integrity more than it needs money.”

Lenore’s full statement.

Hello, my name is Lenore Fahrig. I am a biology professor at Carleton University. Growing up in Ottawa in the 1960’s and 70’s I regularly went to the museum with my family. At that time the Museum of Man and the Museum of Natural Sciences were both located in the Victoria and Albert building, on either side of the big central hall.

I think my childhood visits to the museum played a role in my decision to study environmental science. On the Nature side of the museum I was fascinated by the display showing the Pleistocene ice sheet far above the height of the Peace Tower. On the Man side of the museum I was intrigued to learn about how the Inuit people made their sled runners with caribou skins stuffed with raw fish.

Later on in the 90’s when I took my son to the museum I especially appreciated the fact that our national museum did not avoid telling us about the darker episodes in our history, such as the forced relocation of the Acadians, or the internment of Japanese Canadians. Not all of the world’s national museums are bold enough to depict their own history so honestly.

Which brings me to climate change. Climate change is the number one challenge facing all of humanity. Hurricanes are becoming more powerful, extreme flooding events are becoming common, and most worrying, intense droughts are becoming more widespread and much more persistent. Unless we stop burning coal, oil and natural gas very soon, we will see hundreds of millions of climate change refugees with no place to go, as the whole world struggles to deal with climate catastrophe. This is not an exaggeration; it is based on solid scientific evidence.

Ironically, over the exact same time period that the science on climate change has become incontrovertible, Canada’s own carbon emissions have shot up, due to the massive expansion of oil sands mining. In the future our oil sands mining period will be seen as one of the darkest episodes in Canada’s history.

This presents a big problem for the museum, because the museum accepts money from the very industry association whose members profit the most from climate catastrophe, namely the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. The museum cannot possibly present this period in our history with its usual integrity and independence while it receives funding from CAPP. Of course I understand that the museum needs money, but I think it needs its integrity more than it needs money.

So, I am asking you Richard Gwyn and Michael Bliss, both members of the Board of Trustees, to please sign the petition and support the call for the Museum of History to cut its ties with CAPP.


 

Lisa Gunn – Masters Student, University of Ottawa

I have very fond memories of coming to this museum as a child. My sisters and I were always so excited to go to the Kids Museum. I loved getting my little passport and being able to travel around the world and through time just by exploring the great exhibits that your institution offers. However, now that I’m older, I find it really disheartening that the Museum of History is accepting money from a massively powerful lobbying group that actively undermines the very narrative and education you offer.”

Lisa’s full statement.

Hello, my name is Lisa Gunn and I’m doing my Masters at the University of Ottawa. I’m from Nova Scotia, but as a kid I lived in Ottawa a few times in between my dad’s postings abroad.

Like Katie, I have very fond memories of coming to this museum as a child. My sisters and I were always so excited to go to the Kids Museum, since that’s what we called it. I loved getting my little passport and being able to travel around the world and through time just by exploring the great exhibits that your institution offers.

However, now that I’m older, I find it really disheartening that the Museum of History is accepting money from a massively powerful lobbying group that actively undermines the very narrative and education you offer. The impacts of the Tar Sands and its contribution to climate change severely compromises our Canadian landscape that Museum of History showcases. The Tar Sands fundamentally violate Indigenous rights, and by extension human rights. So having the CAPP logo around the museum when you have a renowned Totem Hall makes absolutely no sense and showcases a lack of respect and lack of understanding of the very real damage being done by CAPP and the oil industry.

Moreover, climate change poses enormous risks to people around the world, in countries and settings found in the Kids section. As a development studies student, I’m fully aware that many of the world’s largest crises today are due in no small part to the devastating impacts of climate change for the world’s poorest and most disadvantaged – ranging from drought to displacement to famine leading to destabilization and further entrenching people in poverty. CAPP chooses to ignore these realities and continues to cause insurmountable damage to the health of Canada and the rest of world by ignoring climate science and not caring about environmental justice.

My thesis research is on pipeline resistance, and I often optimistically joke that maybe by the time I start writing my paper the topic won’t be relevant anymore. However, if CAPP continues to get widespread cultural support, I know that this hope of stopping environmental degradation won’t happen fast enough. Having CAPP logos around your museum and in your exhibits is actively allowing CAPP to normalize an industry that is killing this planet.

I know that trying to find money for cultural institutions is difficult. My roommate hopes to work in culture and heritage, as do many of our friends. But we know that even though the museum industry is fiscally strapped it is unacceptable to accept funding from organizations like CAPP, especially since it is a funding source that contradicts your goals, ethics, and morals.

I know that you’re the Museum of History, but I urge you to find funding that doesn’t try to actively make us history for short term economic gain for an already powerful small group of people.

So I ask you, Ken Langille and Christopher McCreery, members of the Board of Trustees, to please sign the petition and support the call for the Museum of History to stand on the right side of history and end your ties with CAPP.


 

Daniel Cayley-Daoust – Résident de Gatineau 

“Il y a presque 4 ans, je faisais partie de ceux et celles qui dénonçaient ce partenariat du Musée de l’histoire avec l’Association canadienne des producteurs de pétrole, et je suis content que cette conversation ait percée depuis. Depuis ce temps la conversation a changé, et les changements climatiques et les droits des autochtones font finalement partie de la conversation de tous les jours. Mais il faut aller au-delà d’en parler et passer à l’action, et le musée se doit de faire sa part pour ne pas contribuer au status quo inacceptable de l’exploitation pétrolière à l’infini, sans égards pour l’environnement et les générations futures.”

Daniel’s full statement.

Je vous adresse la parole aujourd’hui en tant que résident de Gatineau qui vit à deux coins de rues du Musée.

Je vous adresse également la parole en temps qu’employé d’une organization pan-canadienne qui se nomme le Conseil des Canadiens qui lutte pour la justice sociale et la protection de l’eau. Notre organization compte plus de 100 000 membres et plus de 50 chapitres ou groupes locaux.

Il y a presque 4 ans, je faisais partie de ceux et celles qui dénonçaient ce partenariat du Musée de l’histoire avec l’Association canadienne des producteurs de pétrole, et je suis content que cette conversation ait percée depuis. Depuis ce temps la conversation a changé, et les changements climatiques et les droits des autochtones font finalement partie de la conversation de tous les jours. Mais il faut aller au-delà d’en parler et passer à l’action, et le musée se doit de faire sa part pour ne pas contribuer au status quo inacceptable de l’exploitation pétrolière à l’infini, sans égards pour l’environnement et les générations futures.

Au cours des dernières années j’ai aussi eu la chance de faire de la recherche et publier un rapport sur le lobbying auquel se prête L’association canadienne des producteurs de pétrole et je peux vous dire qu’ils sont extrêmement actifs à essayer d’influencer les lois aux pays, on appelle ça du nivellement vers le bas organisé et payé. L’association a délibérément fait tout en son possible pour réduire voir éliminer des protections pour nos rivières et lacs, et pour réduire ou complètement neutraliser les actions du gouvernement fédéral sur les changements climatiques.

Il est inconcevable pour moi et mon organization qu’une figure de proue publique associe ouvertement son image à celle de cette industrie destructrice, et fasse fi de l’histore de cette association et l’industrie qu’elle représente. Je vous invite donc à passer à l’action et à mettre fin, dès que possible à ce partenariat insensé.

Merci


 

Katie Perfitt – Divestment Campaigner, 350.org

Just this week, when the Federal Government announced more delays on emissions reductions implementation for the tar sands – the most carbon intensive fossil fuels in the world – I wasn’t at all surprised to see that CAPP was lobbying them to do so.

CAPPs logo in this museum helps to normalize an industry destroying the planet. As someone who has adored this museum from a young age, it’s now hard for me now to come here and see their logos in these halls knowing what I know about climate change. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Katie’s full statement.

Hello, my name is Katie Perfitt, and I work with 350.org — an organization helping to build people power to confront the climate crisis. I grew up in the Ottawa Valley, and visited the Museum of History, then the Museum of Civilization, regularly with my family.

The deep appreciation for the planet I partially credit to incredible Museum’s like this one. That led me to do two degrees in environmental studies where I learned what’s at stake when it comes to climate change: a livable planet.

Big Oil continues misleading the public on climate change so they can keep drilling, digging, transporting and burning fossil fuels, despite the fact that in Paris, governments around the world agreed that to stay within 2 degrees of global warming, we need to keep most of the known fossil fuel reserves in the ground.

That brings me to one of the sponsors of this esteemed institution, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. CAPP is paid by the biggest oil companies in the country to advance the interests of massive fossil fuel companies despite climate science and Indigenous Rights.

The sponsorship of this museum, and other institutions in the National Capital Region, gives CAPP a platform to normalize the destructive behaviour of Big Oil. CAPP also gains access to exclusive events through this sponsorship where they can rub shoulders with top political decision makers, perhaps the hardest part for me to swallow.

CAPP worked closely with Harper’s government to dismantle policies to protect people and the planet.

They lobbied the federal government hard on the massive Kinder Morgan Tar Sands pipeline, and made political donations to the BC Liberal party on the same pipeline. And it paid off. Both governments went on to approve the controversial pipeline despite impacts on climate and violations of Indigenous Rights.

And just this week, when the Federal Government announced more delays on emissions reductions implementation for the tar sands – the most carbon intensive fossil fuels in the world – I wasn’t at all surprised to see that CAPP was lobbying them to do so.

CAPPs logo in this museum helps to normalize an industry destroying the planet. As someone who has adored this museum from a young age, it’s now hard for me now to come here and see their logos in these halls knowing what I know about climate change.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. The Museum of History has the chance to change the game — to side with people and the planet over the profits of Big Oil.

Mark O’Neill and Jean Marc Blais, as the CEO and VP of the Museum of History, will you sign the petition and support the call for the Museum to stand on the right side of history but cutting ties with CAPP?


 

Tell the Museum of History to cut ties to CAPP.

Photography courtesy of National Observer’s Photographer, Alex Tétreault.