Credit – Reporter Cormac Mac Sweeney
“As Parliamentary police rushed in and dragged us across the floor one by one, our collective voices did not waiver. We spread the 338 mandate letters and the demands of our generation across the floor of the House of Commons. We urged our elected officials to take our future seriously.”
The Our Time mandate letter
Dear Member of Parliament-elect:
We are excited to welcome you to serve in our Parliament. You are now responsible for ensuring Canada meets theclimate crisis at the speed and scale that science and justice demand.
You ran for a political party that promised to address the climate emergency. Some of you might not have been serious about it. Others pledged that in this parliament, you would be bolder. We expect you to follow through.
Our generation has inherited a planet in crisis. We have 11 years to get our house in order and address climate change on a systemic level. That means this government needs to act with urgency. At the same time, inequality is rising in this country as the rich privately hoard wealth that could be used to fund collective solutions, while leaving the rest of us
We need you to rise above partisan politics and form a government that will implement a Green New Deal for the people.
We are here to hold you accountable for your election promises – tackling the climate crisis, creating millions of good, low-carbon jobs, respecting Indigenous rights, and making life better for everyone. A Green New Deal is the only plan bold
enough to accomplish these goals. We expect Members of Parliament to rise up, meet this challenge, and fight –individually and collectively – to make it happen.
Your mandate is from the people, and we are calling on you to deliver a Green New Deal that:
● Listens to the science. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says we must limit warming to 1.5°C if we are to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate breakdown. In 2018, they gave us just 12 years to radically remake our global energy system. This is the baseline for real climate action. We can no longer afford to wait on taking bold action if we are going to slash carbon pollution 45% by 2030 and bring it to zero by 2050. We must immediately lead the transition away fromfossil fuels.
● Respects Indigenous rights and sovereignty. Reconciliation needs to be more than a buzzword. With regard to climate and energy policy, this starts with fully implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and routinely listening to Indigenous communities in order to pursue the justice-based climate solutions they have long called for.
● Creates millions of good jobs. Tackling climate change will require an economic mobilization not seen since WWII. To transition to 100% renewable energy, we need to create millions of decent, well-paying union jobs for workers across Canada. This transition must be just. We need to provide support for every worker and community. Polling on a Green New Deal has shown widespread, deep support for these kinds of policies, especially when they are funded by taxing the rich and making big banks and corporations pay their fair share.
● Enshrines dignity, justice, and equity for all. We need climate solutions that work for the frontline, marginalized, and Indigenous communities that are bearing the brunt of fossil fuel and climate impacts. This means connecting climate action to inequality and injustice and proposing real solutions that leave no community, no family, and no one behind.
If you are on our side, you can count on us to support you every day. If not, know that you have our entire generation to contend with. Together, we can tackle the climate crisis.
Our Time, and the thousands of young people across this country who are fighting for our future
After we were all removed from the House of Commons, we came together to share space, sing together, and share our stories. Some of our elected officials and Green New Deal champions who heard us loud and clear sent words of solidarity, including NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh. And Green New Deal champion and MP-elect Matthew Green even came out mid-way through his new MP orientation to accept his mandate letter and affirm his commitment to a Green New Deal.