Canada and a Green New Deal

About 50,000 people march for climate action in Montreal on Nov. 10, 2018. Photo by Eric Demers, Fédération des Travailleurs et Travailleuses du Québec

First, the Green New Deal must articulate a ‘just transition’ in the broadest sense. Today, many define ‘just transition’ as creating new, sustainable and meaningful jobs for energy sector workers, as well as transition for communities on the front lines of extractive and/or polluting industries.

When we speak of just transition in work, we must include transition to decent work for all low-wage, precarious, migrant, undocumented, exploited, Indigenous, excluded and unemployed workers. Here we can look towards ‘Fight for $15’ campaigns as well as struggles by unionized postal workers and migrant workers to lead the way.

This expanded definition of just transition isn’t just about ethics – that it is only justice when those most excluded and oppressed for the longest time see their lives uplifted. It’s also a pragmatic necessity. To involve the largest masses of people, it is critical to show them how this New Deal will directly improve their lives. As 78 per cent of the people in Canada work in services sector, and as more and more people are engaged in precarious and part time work – any notion of ‘just transition’ that limits itself to energy sector workers or related industries will simply not mobilize the vast groups of people that will be necessary to create this incredible change. MORE