Youth Taking Action: Rallies across Canada Seek CBC Leaders’ Debate on Climate

Voters need to hear specifics on climate strategies and Green New Deal, say campaigners.

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Rally at CBC Vancouver Wednesday told the broadcaster has a duty to ensure leaders debate critical issues for our future like climate change. Photo by Braela Kwan.

Hundreds of young people rallied across Canada Wednesday as part of a campaign to make climate change and a Green New Deal key issues in this fall’s federal election.

The rallies in more than 20 cities were aimed at pushing the CBC to broadcast a leaders’ debate focused on the two issues. They were organized by Our Time, a national campaign of young people and many — including the Vancouver rally — were held outside CBC offices.

Rajdeep Dhaliwal, a 24-year-old Vancouver-based organizer with Our Time, said voters need to understand each party’s positions on climate change.

“With an election this fall, I think people need to know who has the plan to deal with climate change at the scale that science and justice demand,” she said. “I’m talking about a Green New Deal for Canada.”

The idea of a Green New Deal first emerged in the United States and is gaining traction in Canada. It’s a proposal to address climate change by reducing emissions while addressing inequality and ensuring sustainable jobs to replace any that are lost during the transition.

Dhaliwal says a televised climate change debate is needed to push political leaders to engage in conversations around detailed climate policy plans.

“Millions of people watch our election debates, I believe this is the best way to make that happen,” she said. “Showing up to CBC will send a clear message to the producers of what is important to us.”

CBC did not say whether it would hold a debate focused on the issues.

In a statement, it said it recognized climate change was an important issue to Canadians and emphasized its continuing extensive coverage.

But it noted decisions on debates are made by the Leaders’ Debate Commission set up by the federal government. MORE

Ecojustice: You can help. Pledge today to vote for safe climate future on October 21.

Have your say at the Green New Deal set up

The Sunrise Movement is promoting the Green New Deal via posters like this one - Photo courtesy of Nancye Belding

The House of Commons saw two separate motions calling on Canada to declare a climate change emergency. This is a big deal, since it means many of our politicians are finally waking up to see climate change as what it is — a global crisis that demands urgent action.

But, actions speak louder than words. If, and likely when, it passes next week, this emergency declaration will still be backed up by a climate plan that misses the Paris targets and puts us on track to exceed 4ºC of global temperature rise.

That’s why a Green New Deal for Canada is so important, because a climate emergency demands an emergency level response. This weekend kicks off more than 150 town halls across the country where people from all walks of life will get together to craft the ambitious climate solutions that we need response.

This energy to declare a climate emergency didn’t come of out of nowhere. For the past few months student strikes have poured out of classes and into our communities calling for bold action. The Our Time campaign has launched across the country, bringing in thousands of young people committed to winning a Green New Deal for Canada by building a once in a generation voting alliance for climate justice. And, earlier this month, the Pact for a Green New Deal launched, collecting tens of thousand of signatures from people who believe we can, and we must, do more to tackle climate change and inequality.

All of this has pushed our politicians to respond with platforms, pledges to show us their vision of a Green New Deal for Canada and now, climate emergency declarations.

This energy to declare a climate emergency didn’t come of out of nowhere. For the past few months student strikes have poured out of classes and into our communities calling for bold action. The Our Time campaign has launched across the country, bringing in thousands of young people committed to winning a Green New Deal for Canada by building a once in a generation voting alliance for climate justice. And, earlier this month, the Pact for a Green New Deal launched, collecting tens of thousand of signatures from people who believe we can, and we must, do more to tackle climate change and inequality.

All of this has pushed our politicians to respond with platforms, pledges to show us their vision of a Green New Deal for Canada and now, climate emergency declarations.

With over 150 town halls confirmed in cities, towns and First Nations, we’re just getting started. If you’ve been waiting for it, this is the moment to get involved. MORE

SEE ALSO:

Pact for the Green New Deal: “Now is the time to build power behind the solutions we need.”

The antidote to Kenney is an ambitious Green New Deal for Alberta

“As young people living in Alberta, we know what it feels like to be forced to cast a ballot for an unlivable future. And we refuse to do it again.” An important rule: Never vote against yourself.

Image: Climate Justice Edmonton/Facebook

…In the lead up to the federal election, we’re building the vision we wish we could have voted for a month ago: a vision that finally meets the scale of the crises we face. Because it’s clear that the rise of white supremacy, growing income inequality, and the deepening climate crisis will not be resolved without visionary politics and a ground game to support it.

And that’s why, on election night, instead of sitting and mourning with our pints of beer, Climate Justice Edmonton organizers ran around collecting names and emails from other despondent faces around the bar. Because we knew that with anger and fear comes a spark of hope that things could look different — and more than that: the resolve to make it happen.

It’s why, just one week after the [Alberta] election, Climate Justice Edmonton’s list of young volunteers willing to throw their weight behind a Green New Deal for Canada with the Our Time movement had grown to over 120 people. It’s why hundreds of people from across the country have donated more than $15,000 to fund Climate Justice Edmonton’s “war room to beat Kenney’s war room.” And it’s why, week after week, our meetings have been overflowing with new organizers committed to building power behind this vision.

Because as young people living in Alberta, we know what it feels like to be forced to cast a ballot for an unlivable future. And we refuse to do it again. SOURCE

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