VIDEO: Pressure mounts for Liberals to act on climate change as activists gear up


More than two dozen young people are facing a month-long ban from Parliament Hill after staging a climate-change protest in the House of Commons on Oct. 28, 2019. (The Canadian Press)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he heard loud and clear the message Canadians sent in the federal election for him to be bolder about climate change action.

Now young Canadians want him to prove it.

Twenty-seven youth with the group Our Time were arrested in the House of Commons on Monday morning after attempting to stage a sit-in to demand a Canadian “green new deal” be the first priority of all 338 MPs elected last week.

They had 338 letters to deliver to the new MPs that listed demands including a cut to emissions in line with international scientific consensus, respecting Indigenous rights, creating good new jobs and protecting the most vulnerable people.

Image result for Amara Possian,Amara Possian: “I support organizations that are building a just and caring society.”

Amara Possian, a campaign manager with Our Time, said in a recent blog post that the first 100 days of a new government are a critical time as the government lays out its plans and priorities. With the Liberals held to a minority, they will need support from other parties to pass legislation and stay in power, which many environment groups see as leverage to push the Liberals to do more on climate change.

 

Niklas Agarwal, a 24-year-old recent geography graduate from Toronto, said minority governments have given Canada progressive programs like universal health care, and feels a minority government can deliver a green new deal in Canada.

“This is a generational crisis and I’ve never felt the urgency of anything else in my life,” said Agarwal, clutching the trespassing ticket that bars him from returning to Parliament Hill for the next 30 days.

The protesters gained access to the House of Commons by joining a regular visitors’ tour, then sitting down on the floor once and refused to move. Within minutes, Parliamentary security officers forced them to leave. Some protesters were dragged out by their arms, while others were lifted up to their feet and forced to walk out. MORE

The idea of a green new deal comes mainly from Democrats in the United States who introduced resolutions in Congress last winter. The NDP co-opted the term in its campaign rhetoric, and the Green Party described their climate change plan, named “Mission: Possible,” as Canada’s green new deal.

Dan Woynillowicz, policy director at Clean Energy Canada, said the term “green new deal” may not take hold in Canada because it is too aligned with the United States. But he said if you look at where the Liberals, NDP and Green platforms align on climate change, there are “the makings of an agenda” that cuts emissions deeper and faster, and supports affected Canadian workers through the transition.

In particular, the parties aim to cut emissions in line with what the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says is needed to keep the world from warming much more than 1.5 C compared to pre-industrial times. Investments in public transit, planting trees, encouraging electric vehicle use and investing in clean energy technologies are all among their common platforms.

Woynillowicz said he expects the Liberals to move quickly on their promised bill to legislate a fair transition for energy workers because that could help generate some good will in western Canada for climate action. Beyond that, the promised legislation to set five-year emissions targets and report publicly on progress would also be expected early, said Woynillowicz.

 

As Trudeau Clings to Power, Progressives in Canada Celebrate Victory of ‘Green New Deal Squad’

Now, said Naomi Klein, his Liberal party “will be pushed by a new squad of climate champions—on the inside and outside—demanding a #GreenNewDeal.”

GND squad
Eight candidates endorsed by the Our Time campaign who supported a Green New Deal for Canada won seats in the country’s elections Monday. (Photo: 350 Canada/Twitter)

Taking stock of the results from Monday’s national elections in Canada, in which Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau clung to power but lost a majority in Parliament, climate campaigners are treating the victories of eight progressive candidates who ran on a bold Green New Deal for the country as a crucial opportunity.

Canadian author and activist Naomi Klein tweeted that “Liberals lost their majority and will be pushed by a new squad of climate champions—on the inside and outside—demanding a #GreenNewDeal.”

In May, a coalition of Canadian youth, artists, workers, Indigenous peoples, scientists, and faith leaders—including more than 60 organizations, unions, and associations—launched a Pact for a Green New Deal.

That followed the launch of Our Time, a non-partisan campaign backed by international environmental group 350.org and local hubs across the country that urged voters to support candidates who endorsed a Green New Deal. Eight Our Time candidates were elected Monday, according to the campaign.

The winners backed by Our Time were Leah Gazan, Don DaviesPeter JulianJenny KwanNiki AshtonDaniel BlaikieAlexandre Boulerice, and Matthew Green.

Following their victories Monday night, Our Time circulated a petition to “call on MPs from across the political spectrum to come together to form a government that will tackle the climate crisis and growing inequality, that will respect Indigenous rights, and create millions of good jobs.”

Moving forward, “Trudeau will not form a formal coalition with any of the three smaller parties in Canada. Instead he will rely on their support on a vote-by-vote basis,” according to The New York Times. The country’s four main parties are the Liberals, Conservatives, New Democrats, and Bloc Québécois.

The progressive New Democratic Party, led by Jagmeet Singh, “started the campaign with 39 seats, sitting in third place,” reported CBC. “As election night came to a close, the party’s caucus had shrunk to roughly 24 seats, according to CBC‘s projections, leaving it behind the Bloc Québécois,” which promotes Quebec nationalism and sovereignty.

Trudeau, the 47-year-old son of late former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, became leader of the Liberal party in 2013 and prime minister in 2015. Since then, the Liberals have had a definitive majority in Canada’s House of Commons, but are now set to lose about 30 seats in the wake of Monday’s election.

“The Liberals lost support in every province across Canada in yesterday’s federal election, and it cost them their majority government. But it wasn’t enough to cost them power,” CBC reported early Tuesday. “Trudeau will remain prime minister because voters in Quebec and Ontario didn’t want to give the job to Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer.”

Moving forward, “Trudeau will not form a formal coalition with any of the three smaller parties in Canada. Instead he will rely on their support on a vote-by-vote basis,” according to The New York Times. The country’s four main parties are the Liberals, Conservatives, New Democrats, and Bloc Québécois.

The progressive New Democratic Party, led by Jagmeet Singh, “started the campaign with 39 seats, sitting in third place,” reported CBC. “As election night came to a close, the party’s caucus had shrunk to roughly 24 seats, according to CBC‘s projections, leaving it behind the Bloc Québécois,” which promotes Quebec nationalism and sovereignty.

Trudeau, the 47-year-old son of late former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, became leader of the Liberal party in 2013 and prime minister in 2015. Since then, the Liberals have had a definitive majority in Canada’s House of Commons, but are now set to lose about 30 seats in the wake of Monday’s election.

“The Liberals lost support in every province across Canada in yesterday’s federal election, and it cost them their majority government. But it wasn’t enough to cost them power,” CBC reported early Tuesday. “Trudeau will remain prime minister because voters in Quebec and Ontario didn’t want to give the job to Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer.”

This year’s race between the Liberals and Conservatives grew closer in the run-up to the election as Trudeau faced a corruption scandal as well as revelations that he dressed in brownface and blackface makeup multiple times several years ago. Trudeau apologized for the costumes, denounced his past actions as “racist,” and said he “deeply” regretted them.

“In recent years, Justin Trudeau has positioned himself as a champion of progressivism in the era of Donald Trump and the ascent of far-right populism in Europe,” noted NBC News. “He has welcomed Syrian refugees, pushed for gender parity in Cabinet positions, legalized assisted suicide and vowed to tackle gun violence, among other rebuttals to the rightward tide through much of the West.”

However, as Canada’s head of government the over past four years, Trudeau has elicited intense criticism for his climate record, especially since he announced last year that the government would buy Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline despite concerns about specific dangers of that pipeline’s delayed expansion project as well as broader worries about the mounting threats of the climate crisis.

As Common Dreams reported in April, a study commissioned by the government found that Canada is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world—findings that CBC News columnist Neil Macdonald said at the time “should inspire naked fear.”

Based on the election results, it’s possible that growing fears about the climate crisis did influence voters Monday. In an op-ed for Common Dreams Tuesday, Canadian journalist and novelist Gary Engler pointed out that “the only political party that denies climate change is caused by humans won less than two percent of the vote despite its high profile leader, former Conservative cabinet minister Maxime Bernier.”

“The anti-immigrant, right wing People’s Party of Canada, formed by a self-described libertarian after he narrowly lost the vote to become Conservative leader, failed to elect even a single member of Parliament,” Engler explained. “The four parties that do offer climate action plans (of varying seriousness) collected almost 65 percent of the vote.” SOURCE

 

Here are a list of candidates who will champion a made-in-Canada New Green Deal

 

 

Today, we released our first round of federal election endorsements. Here’s our list of candidates from across the country who will champion a made-in-Canada Green New Deal.

We’re endorsing these 13 candidates because they are bold leaders who will push the envelope when they’re elected. They will take risks, organize fellow Members of Parliament, and work across party lines to tackle the climate emergency. And, they’re running grassroots campaigns connected to movements in their communities.

We set a high bar for our endorsements. 

All of our candidates were nominated by Our Time organizers across the country. We trust them to fight for a made-in-Canada Green New Deal. That means they will champion science-based climate policy. They will work to fully implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. And, they will get to work rebuilding our economy with justice, dignity, and decent jobs for all.

Find out how you can support our endorsed candidates.

Image result for Leah GazanLeah Gazan supports a made-in-Canada New Green Deal, endorsed by Our Time, and is a candidate for Winnipeg Centre

In my hometown, Winnipeg, we’re endorsing Leah Gazan. I’ve known Leah for many years. Leah has spent her life fighting for human rights and is a tireless advocate for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. She has served our community for decades as a teacher, member of the taxi board, and a dedicated organizer for justice.

Now, we’re ready to make sure that champions like Leah Gazan win their seats in Parliament. We will mobilize a generational alliance of voters in support of Green New Deal Champions in this election. Join our movement.

The government we elect in October will lead us through 4 of the 11 years we have to act on the climate crisis.

Today, the Globe & Mail confirmed that the climate emergency will be a top ballot box issue this election.¹

This is our time for the kind of action that we all know we need.  SOURCE

If we get to work now, we can elect a slate of Green New Deal champions this October. But it doesn’t stop there. We’re building a mass-movement of people that will hold these politicians to account once they’re elected. Will you join in?

Can the climate justice movement ground the fighter jets celebrated at air shows?

CF-18 flyover in Toronto. Photo: synestheticstrings/Wikimedia Commons

It’s air show season again.

A number of them are coming up soon: the Abbotsford International Airshow August 9 to 11; the Canadian International Air Show in Toronto August 31 to September 2; the Aero Gatineau-Ottawa Air Show September 6 to 8; and the Peterborough Air Show September 21 to 22.

All of them feature military aircraft.

Notably, the CBC reports, “The U.S. Air Force F-35 demonstration team will visit Ottawa in September on the eve of this fall’s federal election — just as the competition to replace Canada’s aging CF-18s starts heating up.”

“The stealth fighter is one of four warplanes in the $19-billion contest, which was formally launched with a request for proposals by the Liberal government on July 23,” the article adds.

The $19 billion that is to be spent on 88 jet fighters that burn copious amounts of fuel each second they are in flight is another waste of billions of dollars on top of the $4.5 billion spent on purchasing the Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline (and the billions more it will take to expand that pipeline).

The Leap Manifesto calls for “cuts to military spending.”

The U.K.-based Campaign Against Arms Trade has an “arms to renewables” campaign that says money now spent on subsidizing the arms industry would be better spent on renewables and that in turn would be better for workers, the economy and world peace.

And Phyllis Bennis, a fellow at the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Policy Studies, has argued that a Green New Deal needs to fight U.S. militarism. She cautions, “Wars and the military render impossible the aspirations contained in the Green New Deal.”

People have protested against air shows as a symbol of militarism for years.

In September 2010, a Toronto Star headline read: Protesters want “outdated” air show grounded. That article noted the critique of the “antiquated event” highlighted that the air show “pollutes the environment, disturbs residents and promotes symbols of militarism.”

In a 2016 opinion piece in the same newspaper, Craig Damian Smith commented, “in a city with a large population of refugee newcomers and people who have experienced the trauma of war it is insulting, invasive, and violent.”

“In Toronto, people affected by war are not an insignificant minority. This includes newcomers who aren’t refugees, Canadians, and family members struggling with inter-generational trauma,” he wrote.

It is my hope that Extinction Rebellion, Our Time, Fridays for Future and other climate justice groups will also see the need to challenge air shows as relics that serve to promote the militarism that accelerates climate breakdown and misdirects public funds away from the priority of building a green economy. MORE

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.

Green New Deal for All Tour Getting Big Response

Image result for Vancouver green new deal tour

It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks! Our Green New Deal for All tour has been sold out at nearly every stop, including over 800 people in Toronto and 500 in Halifax.

Thousands of people are signing up with our tour partners, 350.org and the national youth-led campaign Our Time, to organize for a Green New Deal. And while we wish we could stop in every community from coast to coast, we have just two more to go: Vancouver and Winnipeg.

WATCH LIVESTREAM

Our Vancouver tour stop is going to be an incredible night, with this line-up of powerhouse speakers: Kanahus Manuel, David Suzuki, Harsha Walia, Avi Lewis, and Anjali Appadurai.

The event will begin at 7pm PT / 10pm ET. And don’t worry — if you miss the livestream as it’s happening, it will be kept as a recording on The Leap’s YouTube channel.

Click here to watch the Vancouver tour stop tonight, starting at 7pm PT / 10 pm ET.


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Green New Deal tour seeks hope and reconciliation in Canada


David Suzuki and Naomi Klein discussed a Green New Deal for Canada at the Bloor Street United Church in Toronto on June 11, 2019. Photo by Chris Katsarov

The Canadian version [of the Green New Deal] is adding more emphasis on the inclusion of Indigenous practices.

The Green New Deal “must be based on Indigenous knowledge and science and cut Canada’s emissions in half in 11 years,” according to the Council of Canadians, one of many partnering groups.

Pam Palmater, Maria Menezes, and supporters of the Our Time organization listen during the Green New Deal town hall at Bloor Street United Church in Toronto on June 11, 2019. Pam Palmater, Maria Menezes, and supporters of the Our Time organization listen during the Green New Deal town hall at Bloor Street United Church in Toronto on June 11, 2019. Photo by Chris Katsarov

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report last October saying global warming requires “rapid and far-reaching” infrastructure transitions. The UN report, completed by leading climate scientists, warns that without serious action to lower CO2 emissions within 11 years, there will be more catastrophes to come, including floods, droughts, extreme heat and poverty.

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) has not been implemented in Canada, which defines Indigenous rights and grants free prior informed consent to the policies that affect them, such as climate change and natural resource development.

On June 11, the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples passed Bill C-262 to implement UNDRIP in Canada. It is not yet federal law. Conservative senators objected over fears about its potential impact on resource development and have been accused of stalling. If the bill is not made federal law by the end of the month, new legislation will have to be tabled.

The Green New Deal attempts to align the principles of UNDRIP and traditional Indigenous knowledge with scientific inquiry.

Wanda Whitebird, an elder of the Mi’kmaq Nation from Afton, N.S., welcomed the crowd of a few hundred to the inaugural town hall in Toronto.

Large banners calling for 100 per cent renewable energy and the recognition of Indigenous rights were draped from the second floor of the church. From the front pews to the back, attendees chanted for “climate justice.” MORE

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Senate committee passes UNDRIP bill, but not without push-back