On July 17th, communities from coast to coast took action to say:

CBC, It is Time to Change the Debate

On July 17th, thousands of people in dozens of communities, from Atlantic Canada to the Yukon, turned out to call for the CBC to organize a federal leaders’ climate debate during the October election.

We forced CBC to make a statement but they still haven’t committed to hosting a climate debate.

The fight isn’t over. You can sign the petition to continue to push the CBC to pick a side.
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Photo Credit: Abdul Malik

On July 30th, an open letter echoing this demand was signed by some of the most renowned artists, Indigenous leaders, authors, and public figures in the country. The letter was signed by Grand Chief Stewart Phillip and the entire Executive Committee of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs; Chair of Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Senator Murray Sinclair; author of acclaimed novel Life of Pi, Yann Martel; my personal friend and respected author Naomi Klein; Hayden King of the Yellowhead Institute; award-winning actor, Tantoo Cardinal; Executive Director of Indigenous Climate Action, Eriel Deranger; and many more.

See the full letter and list of endorsers

The Stories:

Communities used bold visuals to symbolically bring climate impacts to the doorstep of the CBC. Here are some of their stories:

  • Masked in Edmonton: In Edmonton, hundreds turned out in a thunderstorm, many wearing dust masks similar to those thousands of people had to don during periods of extreme wildfire smoke.

Photo Credit: Abdul Malik

  • Ottawa spells it out with sand bags: In Ottawa, a massive crowd stacked sandbags in front of the CBC studio, spelling out “Climate Emergency.”Just weeks ago, sandbags like these were sold out everywhere in the Ottawa area because people were filling them in masses to protect their homes from 1 in 100 year floods hitting the region.

Photo Credit: Nhattan Nguyen

  • Windsor was dedicated: A woman in Windsor was out for over 12 hours, with people coming throughout the day, outside their local CBC studio calling for a leaders’ debate!

From the CBC headquarters in Toronto, where hundreds of people gathered to Vancouver, Winnipeg, Kingston, Halifax, and all points in between, we turned out en mass in dozens of rallies calling for the CBC to host a federal leaders’ climate debate.

What did CBC say and what’s next?

We turned out in such numbers that the CBC already responded to our call for a climate debate. They told us that they agree climate change is an important issue, but that it’s up to the Leaders’ Debates Commission to make a climate debate happen. Ironically, the Leaders’ Debates Commission told us they thought climate was an important issue, but it would be up to the broadcasters to make a climate debate happen. In our eyes, that means that together, the CBC and the Debates Commission could make this happen, they just need to keep getting pushed. 

Here’s how we’re going to make sure this climate debate happens: 

  • First, during the actions yesterday, we launched a petition asking Jennifer McGuire – the CBC’s Editor in Chief – to make a climate debate happen. This will add to the 10,000+ names that have already called on the Leaders’ Debates Commission to hold a Green New Deal. Click here to add your name.
  • Second, we’ll continue to pressure the CBC with creative, hard hitting actions online and off. More on that soon.
  • Third, we’re going to keep organizing and building the movement for a made-in-Canada Green New Deal. That’s going to include more actions escalating our fight to win this climate debate. But, that’s just the beginning. Can you donate to help Our Time organize an alliance of voters behind champions of a Green New Deal?

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Why call on the CBC?

The CBC is our public broadcaster, funded by public money. So, we’re calling on them to act in the public interest by hosting a debate on the most urgent crisis of our time. They also have a responsibility to play a key role sharing critical information on national emergencies, like the climate emergency our government declared in mid-June. We want every broadcaster in Canada, and the Leaders’ Debates Commission, to pay attention and that’s why we’ll be taking action all across the country. 

The CBC has also listened to us when it comes to covering climate change. Just a few weeks ago, after thousands of us called out the CBC on twitter for refusing to call climate change a crisis, the CBC announced their new climate change reporting project. The CBC said they launched this project because people like you have been “asking the media to do a better job by providing more facts about what is happening and more coverage of possible solutions.” Hosting a federal leaders’ debate on climate change and a Green New Deal would be another step in the right direction.

What about the petition to the Leaders’ Debates Commission?

The Federal Leaders’ Debates Commission is, in part, responsible for organizing two major federal leaders’ debates — one in English and one in French. After hearing from over 10,000 people across the country, the commission agreed that climate change is an important issue, but that they need broadcasters on side if we’re going to get a full debate on climate change and Canada’s Green New Deal. That’s why we’re turning to the CBC to demand Canada’s first Federal Leaders’ Debate on climate change.

Tweet at CBC Radio to demand that they listen to their listeners