Photo: Quebecers hear the call and rise up for the environment

Among the participants were 40 Innu women from Sept-Iles who had walked 800km to protest the Plan Nord, Quebec's plan to open up the North and the province's last virgin ecosystems to major industrial development and mining. (Credit:

By Karel Mayrand, Director General David Suzuki Foundation Quebec.

Montreal held the largest environmental demonstration in the history of Canada this past Sunday. At 2pm, bells rang in 1200 churches across the province. In downtown Montreal, people gathered and you could not see the end of this massive human wave. Apparently, there were so many people that the metro system could not handle the traffic and some people could not even make it to the demonstration!

We were 250 000 strong when I went on stage to speak to the crowd. I said, "The future of our children cannot go through a pipeline. It cannot be captured in a barrel of oil. It cannot be bought or sold at the stock market. Protecting our future does not belong to the right or the left. It is not a partisan issue. It is a fundamental right. A moral imperative. Stop intimidating environmental groups, first nations and human rights groups! We are 250,000 and we are taking back our rights".

Sign up for our newsletter

Their response was like thunder.

Buses came from 50 different cities throughout Quebec. Dozens of artists were with us, along with the three major unions. We created the largest human tree ever made.

You can read our demands in the declaration that is hosted on DSF's website, and signed by over 50,000 people.

DSF along with Equiterre, Greenpeace, AQLPA, Earth Day Quebec and many other groups were the organizers for the event. Cirque du Soleil, major Montreal festivals, the city of Montreal, churches, unions, student associations and so many others helped us. There were more than 1000 volunteers. People demonstrated peacefully, but the message was strong: we are the citizens and this is our land. We get to decide what to do.

Don't let anyone tell you that people in this country can't rise when it's important.

April 23, 2012

Read more

Post a comment


May 17, 2012
9:00 PM

I cant begin to express the joy I felt reading this I feel that finally we really are going to fight this Government Ive been so afraid feeling so helpless. Tonight I shall sleep soundly.great article as well…

May 17, 2012
11:14 AM

I participated as a volonteer to be part of the"hand figure" on this earth day and I was sooo proud to be there ! We were at least 250,000 persons to participate and the ambiance was incredible ! Its sad that medias didn't care to share to the rest of Canada about the tremendous effort that we did that day… Still and always, we feel being apart of the rest of the country

Apr 24, 2012
2:34 PM

You mention the people created the largest human tree.I see in the photo also the largest human hand saying stop the environmental disaster of our future.

Apr 24, 2012
1:17 PM

Mr Suzuki, Karel Mayrand

I believe that Quebec's Plan Nord is a great opportunity for Quebec and it's population. Not only will the mines bring cash to the province but it also provides very well paying jobs to the people. I was thinking of getting a job there myself. I also believe in preserving the environment. From your experience, isn't there anyway we can mine the north wile having minimal impact on the environment? yes, I know we still have to dig a big hole in the earth but if we can extract without contaminating the surrounding rivers and lakes then maybe it would be an acceptable compromise.

Apr 24, 2012
1:01 PM

Funny that this is the first I'm hearing of this amazing demonstration- through David Suzuki on facebook and NOT from the main stream news media!

Apr 24, 2012
9:46 AM

Montreal is one 'radical' city!!!!! : )

Apr 24, 2012
9:19 AM

i didn't read about this in any national newspapers. 250 000 people! really?

Apr 24, 2012
9:12 AM

This is wonderful, we must stand together for the sake of all people , I love my grandchildren and want a future for them and the rest of all people ! xoxox Tanis Magnusson

Apr 24, 2012
9:07 AM

I am moved and extremely grateful that you carried my voice for me, and my will, my desire for this planet and for the peaceful co-existence of all living beings on it. I am prouder than ever! If you can mobilize us in these great numbers for this annual day to honour this beautiful earth, then I am confident we can come together more often in a monthly, weekly or even daily tradition.

Apr 24, 2012
8:51 AM

It is such a relief that we can make a stand…well…for those of us who can't…I pray for the stop to the pipeline…and to all destruction of our beautiful planet! ah ho

The David Suzuki Foundation does not necessarily endorse the comments or views posted within this forum. All contributors acknowledge DSF's right to remove product/service endorsements and refuse publication of comments deemed to be offensive or that contravene our operating principles as a charitable organization. Please note that all comments are pre-moderated. Privacy Policy »