The People's Summit urges leaders to act

Preparing for the G20 Summit in Toronto – security fencing installed. Photo by Gary J. Wood.

Starting at noon on June 20th, the blocks on Main Street between 30th and 33rd will be closed off to traffic and the Vancouver Peoples’ Summit will begin. The event, in conjunction with the popular Car Free Day, will have citizens gather together and participate in an array of festivities, all with the aim to show that Canadians do care about their government’s international involvement, while of course having a bit of fun along the way.

The Vancouver Peoples’ Summit will be hosted just five days before the G8/G20 summit, - happening in Ontario this year - where leaders of wealthy nations will meet to discuss issues of global concern. “We want to focus on three key areas for our summit that we feel are not fairly represented in the G8/G20 agenda,” said Karin Johnson, one of the organizers for the event. “The global economy, climate change and women’s rights are all topics that need to be further explored and discussed. If they don’t want to talk about them, we will,” she adds.

The Vancouver Peoples’ Summit aims to break down barriers, and open a city-wide arena for discourse involving citizens discussing what they want to be brought to the tables of this year’s G8/G20 summits. It will feature art and interactive multimedia, as well as an NGO village which will introduce people to some of the organizations in the community and their efforts toward social justice and environmental protection. The event is free and welcomes everyone.

The event, part of the “At the Table” campaign, will feature three table discussions and participants will enjoy food prepared by local chefs using organic ingredients. The Peoples’ Summit will present talented artists and musicians, as well as an improvisation-style street performance. Visitors will have a chance to participate in gardening and sustainability workshops and presentations, as well as other displays which will be appealing to a great range of interests.

At the end of the evening, activists will join the “Peoples’ Road trip” and travel to Toronto where they will meet other Canadians and demand action from the G8/G20 leaders.

“Canada must act and follow through on its commitments to developing nations. As a host country, we must urge our Prime Minister to show leadership and listen to Canadians”, said Hunter Moyes, one of the event organizers. “The global community cannot depend on inconsistencies in aid, and this must be reconciled immediately”.

The Vancouver Peoples’ Summit is a coalition of organizations such as Oxfam, Fair Trade Vancouver, Make Poverty History, Ecojustice, Amnesty International, Village Vancouver, Greenpeace, The David Suzuki Foundation and many others.

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