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.
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
Notherners speak up about heatwaves: In Yellowknife and Whitehorse, Northerners called attention to their climate frontlines – wildfires that cut off communities earlier this summer and an unseasonal March heatwave that closed ice roads early. They made such a strong case for a leaders’ debate that even the reporters at CBC North seemed to agree with them.
This is approximately the height of our 1 in 10 year flood level in Sackville. That means there is a 10% chance that flood waters will reach this height in a given year, which will only rise with climate change. This is our future without bold climate action. #ChangeTheDebatepic.twitter.com/txTfNpUe14
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.
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.
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