‘Not Hypothetical Anymore’: Communities Across Canada Demand Climate Action

This summer he redefined the way Bradley Cox thinks about climate change.

While he remembers Australia’s 2019-20 wildfire season as pivotal, seeing the wildfires in British Columbia destroy the Lytton community after a deadly heat dome covered the province was a huge wake-up call. That’s why he joined with 100 other people in Halifax, NS, to demand concrete federal action against climate change.

“I think it’s important that people don’t get too caught up in everyday life forgetting that this is happening around us,” he said.

“… The wildfires that were happening in the country – that could have been me, that could have been family members. It is proof that you are here. It is no longer hypothetical. “

Signs posted in Halifax, where about 100 people demonstrated Wednesday to demand climate action from federal leaders. Photo by Cloe Logan

Wednesday 350.orgThe Halifax affiliate event, held in Parade Square among colorful Adirondack picnic tables and chairs, was one of 60 between Ucluelet and St. John’s. Organizers say the timing is intentional: the afternoon before the French federal leaders’ debate and the eve of the English debate, in the hope that politicians will take notice of the action.

The event page for Canada is still on fire outlines two specific calls to action: “a moratorium on fossil fuel expansion, which includes halting construction of existing expansion projects, and an urgent and robust just transition plan that leaves no one behind and takes us beyond fossil fuels”.

“This summer, wildfires and heat swept through Canada, forcing evacuations, burning communities and killing hundreds of people, and yet politicians have not really been talking about climate change,” said Amara Possian, campaign manager for 350 Canada.

Fossil fuel subsidies are front and center for many voters: A May report from the International Energy Agency said government investment in coal, oil and gas must end in 2021 for climate targets to be met. . Now that is far from the truth, as the federal government spent at least $ 1.9 billion on fossil fuel subsidies in 2020, according to the International Institute for Sustainable Development.

Workers in the fossil fuel industry are ready for a just transition, notes Noreen Mabiza of the Ecology Action Center, pointing to a recent survey, which found that 90 percent of workers said they thought it would be possible to switch to work in a or more net zero job types with 12 months or less of training.

In August, Liberals pledged $ 2 billion to help a just transition, but industry workers said it’s not enough. On the platform of the Green Party, he promises to introduce a Just Transition Law: Justin Trudeau made the same guarantee in 2019, but has not presented a law. The NDP platform includes a mention of a transition, stating: “We will put those workers front and center of our climate action plan, and we will fight for workers and their communities to make sure no one is left behind.” The Conservatives’ platform doesn’t mention a just transition, instead focusing on investing in controversial carbon sequestration.

The event had two calls to action: “a moratorium on the expansion of fossil fuels, which includes halting the construction of existing projects … and an urgent and robust just transition plan that leaves no one behind and takes us beyond fossil fuels ”. # Elxn44

Noreen Mabiza is the energy coordinator at the Ecology Action Center and was a speaker at Wednesday’s event. Photo by Cloe Logan

Mabiza said concrete action towards a just transition is key, and should be a major focus of elections and leaders’ debates.

“I would like to see them come up with a plan, but a plan that focuses the voices of the workers. So they need to start talking to the workers, listening to the workers. There’s also a piece of fairness to that, ”he said.

“As we know, the energy industry has traditionally left out women, indigenous groups, and black communities, so we must also engage those people in the conversation so that as we transition, we make sure that we let no one be left behind. “


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