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Hundreds to present Canada’s inconvenient truths

After a training session in Montreal next month, over 200 Canadians will start to give presentations aimed at changing Canada’s environmental practices.

The presentation is a Canadian version of the one featured in former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. The Climate Project (TCP)-Canada, a non-profit organization, will manage and coordinate the session.

TCP-Canada conducted some of the research included in the refurbished slideshow, which according to Liz Singh, office manager of TCP-Canada, focuses on Canada’s shortcomings and offers suggestions for improvement.

Canadians often consider their habits as more sustainable than the U.S.’s, Singh explained, pointing to Canada’s signed commitment to the Kyoto Protocol. The slideshow challenges Canada’s actions, and will reveal to Canadians how their country has failed to meet assigned goals.

“Considering that Canada is next to the U.S., it is easy for us to say that what the [U.S.] is doing is worse. But the fact of the matter is, when you look at it per capita, [Canadians] are still pretty bad and there’s no excuse to destroy the planet relatively less than the other guy is,” Singh said.

As part of his Climate Project commitment, Gore launched an initiative in the U.S. in 2006 that trained 1,000 Americans to deliver localized versions of An Inconvenient Truth’s slideshow. TCP-Canada selected volunteers with connections to alternative networks, seeking to reach “unusual suspects.”

Following a day and a half of training from Gore, the volunteers receive instruction specific to teaching the public in their respective areas.

Volunteers sign a contract pledging to administer the presentation 10 times within the year.

Marie-Marguerite Sabongui, a U3 Cultural Studies student and elected volunteer who will present to Montreal’s acting community and university and high school students, explained that in addition to presenting the slideshow, volunteers should encourage their audiences to adopt practices that will counter climate change.

One of her goals is to propose the creation of greener stage sets to Montreal’s acting communities.

“This a vehicle with which to spark people’s attention,” Sabongui said. “Once you’ve got [people’s] attention, you can target them for more specific ways to solve climate change. That’s really the goal.”

Two hundred and thirty Canadians – lawyers, politicians, doctors, people in the entertainment industry, and other qualified individuals – were invited or accepted to work with Gore, who will conduct the sessions early next month.

Singh said that more people may be trained in the future. Based in Montreal, TCP-Canada will also offer follow-up support and activities for presenters.

Similar sessions have been held in Australia, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

On April 5, Russell Peters is hosting a Comedy Gala at Place-des-Arts to raise money for TCP-Canada.