“Organize. Strike. Vote.” – 350 Canada Reacts to Election Call
Toronto, ON – Responding to the official start of the 2019 federal election, Amara Possian, Campaign Manager with 350 Canada and organizer with the Our Time campaign issued this statement:
“This is going to be the climate election, and with forty days until ballots are cast, our plan is simple. We’ll organize our communities behind the transformative vision of a made-in-Canada Green New Deal. We’ll join the massive global climate strikes on September 27th to make it impossible for our politicians to ignore the climate crisis this election. And, on October 21st, we’ll elect a game-changing slate of Green New Deal champions to take this forward in the next Parliament.”
Earlier this week, 350 Canada released 13 initial candidate endorsements at our-time.ca, a one-stop shop where anybody can find their nearest Green New Deal Champions, and join the powerful movement to put climate center stage this election.
Our Time Campaign Endorses First Slate of “Green New Deal Champion” Candidates
With climate change as a top issue in the 2019 election, youth-led campaign lends its support to 13 candidates across the country
Ottawa, ON – With the federal election around the corner, 350 Canada’s Our Time campaign announced their first round of candidate endorsements. Dubbed “Green New Deal Champions,” the 13 candidates are expected to advocate for a made-in-Canada Green New Deal.
“There are some real champions in this race who are pushing for the kind of bold, ambitious policies we need to tackle climate change and inequality,” said Amara Possian, Campaign Manager with 350 Canada. “We’re backing these candidates because we expect them to back a made-in-Canada Green New Deal.”
“For the past few months, Our Time has been building an army of youth, millenials and people of all ages to go all in on a Green New Deal this election,” Possian added. “With these endorsements, we’re taking the next step to make sure that climate change and a Green New Deal are center stage this election.”
Endorsements were made through a grassroots nomination process that engaged hundreds of organizers across the country, with local youth and millenial-led Our Time groups meeting with and nominating candidates for endorsement.
“When we met with Leah Gazan here in Winnipeg, it was crystal clear that she’s going to listen to climate science, push for a just transition away from fossil fuels, advocate for Indigenous rights and ensure that dignity and justice are on the political agenda,” said Laura Cameron, an organizer with Our Time Winnipeg. “We endorsed Leah, because she’s going to fight with us for a Green New Deal.”
Today’s candidate endorsements include: Svend Robinson (NDP, Burnaby-North Seymour), Daniel Blaikie (NDP, Elmwood-Transcona), Diana Yoon (NDP, Spadina-Fort York), Brian Chang (NDP, Toronto – Centre), Andrea Vásquez Jiménez (NDP, York Centre), Paul Taylor (NDP, Parkdale-High Park), Emma Norton (NDP, Dartmouth-Cole Harbour), Steve Dyck (Green, Guelph), Mike Morrice (Green, Kitchener-Center), Matthew Green (NDP, Hamilton-Center), Anna Keenan (Green, Malpeque), Yan Chen (NDP, Scarborough North). See below for candidate bios.
For a full list of endorsed candidates, visit our-time.ca, 350 Canada’s one-stop shop where anybody can find their nearest Green New Deal Champions, and join the powerful movement that’ll put climate centre stage this election.
A community educator, organizer and activist, Andrea is dedicated to advocating for racialized and marginalized communities. Her nominator explained that, “through [Andrea’s] community organizing, she worked alongside racialized people, many of whom were incarcerated or deported because of their racial identity, pushing her to critically thinking about race, the criminal justice system, economic injustice and their intersections with climate justice.”
Anna Keenan (Green)
With more than a decade of grassroots climate organizing experience from youth climate organizing at the United Nations climate talks to working on big, ambitious global climate mobilizations, Anna has a track record of bold leadership. She directed PEI’s campaign for Proportional Representation and worked on a range of community projects. According to her nominators “it’s clear that Anna will work across party lines, listen to her community and work with movements to make change happen.”
Brian Chang (NDP)
Brian’s nominator told us he “has a history of fighting for workers and has ideas beyond what his party is offering in terms of climate action. He recognizes the need for radical change.” He committed to passing legislation on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as his first act in Parliament. He’s also running against Bill Morneau, the Liberal Finance minister who bought the $4.5 billion TransMountain pipeline.
Daniel Blaikie (NDP)
Elected in 2015 in the closest race in the country, Daniel Blaikie has been involved in social, environmental and labour causes throughout his life. During his time as an MP, local nominators noted that he “teamed up with Rob Altemeyer, a Manitoba MLA, to do a series of town-halls on climate and a just transition last year. He’s a champ.”
Diana Yoon (NDP)
A youth climate activist involved in local, community organizing in Toronto, Diana represents a new generation stepping into the political ring with the power to up-end business as usual. She’s a community builder who has worked with Transform TO and the Atmospheric Fund. According to her nominator “Diana is very aligned with the vision of a Green New Deal, and prioritizes policies which will have the greatest effect on marginalized communities.”
Emma Norton (NDP)
Emma cut her organizing teeth in Nova Scotia’s youth climate movement before working on campaigns from stopping the Energy East pipeline to promoting renewable energy development across the province. According to her nominators, “Emma has worked on climate justice issues for years, supporting Mi’kmaq-led initiatives for green jobs, working to tackle energy poverty and income inequality, and being part of or helping support local movements against fossil fuel infrastructure”.
Leah Gazan (NDP)
A pillar in the Winnipeg community for nearly 30 years, Leah has spent her life fighting for human rights on the local, national, and international stage. She’s running a bold and inspiring grassroots campaign and has a track record as a tireless advocate for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and for UNDRIP. Her nominator was unequivocal that there is “no better person to represent our city.”
Matthew Green (NDP)
A former Hamilton city councillor and long-time community activist, Matthew Green has been all-in on a Green New Deal for Canada since jumping into the fray of federal politics. His nominator was clear that “Matthew could be the model for an Our Time candidate – he has a record, from his time on city council, and an organized community to whom he is accountable. His passion for climate justice radiates. He’s the real deal.”
Mike Morrice (Green)
Mike pledged to do politics differently, putting his community ahead of party and making sure that a Green New Deal is done in true partnership with Indigenous Peoples. His nominator lauded his commitment to climate science and Indigenous rights, highlighting a hope that Mike can help to ensure that his party truly understands the need for an intersectional, grassroots Green New Deal for Canada.
Paul Taylor (NDP)
Before jumping into the political arena, Paul Taylor spent years organizing against poverty, for affordable housing, and for social justice. When he met with local Our Time organizers Paul engaged them on Indigenous rights and made “an explicit commitment to a Green New Deal, emphasized investing in social housing and public transit, and committed to Indigenous rights and sovereignty.”
Steve Dyck (Green)
A solar energy entrepreneur and community activist, Steve has been involved in a wide range of climate movement efforts over the years. According to his nominator, Steve is a champion because he “organized his local church in support of fossil fuel divestment, played a pivotal role in the local anti-pipeline fights, and hosted multiple National Day of Action events on climate issues.”
Svend Robinson (NDP)
Svend served Burnaby as an MP for more than 25 years. He spoke to Our Time Vancouver organizers about “the vital connection between activism and politics, and his great admiration for the work of organizers on the outside”. He is an ally within the political sphere and an early champion for a made-in-Canada Green New Deal who is pushing the NDP to be bolder. He was arrested standing with social movements to stop clear cut logging during the War in the Woods and has a long record as an advocate for Indigenous sovereignty, gender equality and the environment.
Yan Chen (NDP)
The child of a working class migrant family, Yan is a Chinese Canadian activist and community legal worker who has worked with on mental health, workers rights, race and gender discrimination issues. Her nominator explained, “her experiences have fuelled her passion about migrant and racial justice. She truly understands the systemic barriers that immigrant communities face and we need this perspective as part of a Green New Deal.”
July 31, 2019
For Immediate Release
Climate Advocates Respond to Debates Announcement
Today, Commissioner David Johnston announced the Canadian Debate Production Partnership as the official producer for the two federal leaders’ debates.
Following the announcement, Amara Possian, Canada Campaign Manager with 350.org and an organizer with Our Time issued the following response: “We’ve had issue specific debates before, organized in addition to the two “official” leaders’ debates. We’re in a climate emergency, and we need our emergency broadcaster to make sure that voters truly know who has a real plan to tackle the crisis of our generation.”
Vi Bui, an organizer with Our Time in Ottawa added:
“If there isn’t a climate debate, we’ll be there on October 7 to make sure our generation and a Green New Deal for Canada are on the agenda. What doesn’t get debated, doesn’t get done. We’re going do what it takes to make sure party leaders debate climate change and a made-in-Canada Green New Deal”.
Authors, Artists, Indigenous Leaders and More Join Call for CBC Hosted Climate Debate
Naomi Klein, Yann Martel & Senator Murray Sinclair among signatories
Ottawa, ON – Following nation-wide rallies calling for the CBC to host a federal leaders’ debate on climate change and a made-in-Canada Green New Deal, some high profile voices are joining the cause. A letter, signed by authors, artists, and other public figures pointed to the escalating climate crisis and the coming election as a critical moment for the CBC.
“In June, the Canadian government declared a national climate emergency. The CBC’s journalistic standards and practices state that, in a time of national emergency, the “CBC makes itself available to get important information to Canadians in a timely fashion,” the letter reads. “That’s why today, we’re writing to urge you to host a national leaders’ debate on climate change and a Green New Deal on the CBC.”
The list of signatories is expected to grow, and organizers have asked the public to sign a petition to the CBC’s editor in chief, Jennifer McGuire, supporting the call for a climate debate.
“Just this past week, CNN and MSNBC announced that, in the United States, they would organize a series of climate forums for presidential candidates this fall,” Clayton Thomas-Muller, a signatory of the letter, documentary film-maker and organizer with 350.org in Canada said. “If they can do it there, surely the CBC can do it here”.
Organizers have promised to continue building pressure on the CBC with plans to flood CBC radio call-in shows and deliver their growing petition to the CBC headquarters in the coming weeks.
“The CBC can and should make this climate debate happen,” Vi Bui, an organizer with Our Time Ottawa said. “We’re in a climate crisis, I really don’t think that dedicating a couple hours of broadcast time to the most important issue of our generation is asking a lot of our public broadcaster.”
Response to CBC Avoiding their Climate Responsibility
In response to a statement from Chuck Thompson, the head of CBC public affairs, claiming that the CBC can’t organize a climate debate, Amara Possian, an organizer with Our Time and Campaign Manager at 350.org, issued this response:
“Let’s be clear. The CBC can host a federal leaders’ climate debate with or without the Leaders’ Debates Commission’s permission. It would be a real travesty for democracy if creating the commission led to fewer debates, and fewer opportunities for voters to hear directly from their party leaders. We had 5 leaders’ debates in 2015. Surely in the midst of a climate emergency, our public broadcaster can host a debate that is in the public interest.”
The CBC also stated that it would be up to the federal Leaders’ Debates Commission and an editorial panel to determine the scope of the commission’s debates. Thomas Gagnon-van Leeuwen, an organizer with Our Time Yellowknife, responded with this statement:
“When more than 10,000 people asked the Debates’ Commission to organize a climate debate, they told us it was up to broadcasters. Now, the CBC is saying it’s up the Debates Commission. It’s clear that both of them have immense power and influence over what’s in these debates and if, as they told us, they consider climate change such an important issue, they can make this debate happen.”
30+ Coast to Coast Rallies Call for a CBC Climate Debate
Communities from Atlantic Canada to the Yukon turn out calling for the public broadcaster to organize a federal leaders’ climate debate
Vancouver, BC – Yesterday evening, hundreds of people turned out to CBC studios and offices across Canada to tell the national broadcaster to host a leaders’ climate debate ahead of the upcoming federal election. Dubbed the “Change the Debate” day of action and organized by Our Time, a youth-led campaign for a Made-in-Canada Green New Deal, more than thirty rallies took place all across the country.
“We’re in a climate emergency and people across Canada deserve to know which of our federal leaders have a real plan, like the Green New Deal, to tackle this crisis,” said Thomas Gagnon-van Leeuwen, an organizer with the Our Time campaign in Yellowknife. “The way we learn that is with a federal leaders’ climate debate. As our public broadcaster,the CBC has the power and the responsibility to make it happen.”
Organizers highlighted the impacts of climate change at the rallies in creative ways. Edmontonians wore dust masks similar to those worn by many people during periods of extreme wildfire smoke. Ottawa residents stacked sandbags that spelled out “Climate Emergency”. In Yellowknife, organizers drew attention to the northern frontlines of climate change, including wildfires that cut off communities and an unseasonal March heatwave that closed ice roads early this year.
Rallies that linked ongoing climate impacts and the need for a federal leaders’ climate debate also happened in communities from Halifax to Victoria where people gathered during the six o’clock news to stress the important role that CBC and the media play in ensuring voters know about the stakes of climate change, and how political plans stack up.
“In 2015, climate change was barely mentioned during five leaders debates. We know what doesn’t get debated, doesn’t get done,” Raj Dhaliwal, an organizer with Our Time in Vancouver, explained. “If we want bold climate action, respect for Indigenous rights and a truly just transition, we need a federal leaders debate on climate change and a Green New Deal”.
Prior to the CBC rallies, more than 10,000 people signed a petition to the Leaders’ Debates Commission calling for a climate debate. The commission responded that they agreed climate change was an important issue but that broadcasters would need to be on board for a climate debate to happen.
“The next federal election will determine who leads us through four out of the eleven years scientists have given us to significantly reduce carbon emissions in order to prevent climate catastrophe,” Swelen Andari, an organizer with Our Time in Toronto added. “We have the right to know how our politicians will rise to this challenge.”
Rallies Across Canada to Push for a Climate Election Debate
What: More than 20 rallies are planned at CBC studios and offices on Wednesday calling for the public broadcaster to host a federal leaders’’ debate on climate in advance of the 2019 federal election. Led by Our Time, a youth climate campaign supporting a Green New Deal for Canada, the rallies will take place during the six o’clock news and highlight climate change impacts and the critical nature of climate coverage in the 2019 election.
When: July 17th, local events start between 5:00-5:30 p.m. local time
Who: Rallies are being led by young people involved in the Our Time campaign, and supported by 350.org and allies of all ages.
Photo/Video Opportunities: Youth and local spokespeople will be available at all rallies, national spokespeople available before and after the rallies. Actions will feature bright, bold visuals calling for a climate debate and a made-in-Canada Green New Deal.
Our Time campaign launches to organize young voters for Canada’s Green New Deal
Largest voting bloc in 2019 election looking for climate action, social and economic justice
OTTAWA – Earlier today, the Our Time campaign was launched across Canada. With hub groups already established in Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, and Halifax, organizers across the country are gearing up to build a massive voting alliance of young people and millenials united around a Green New Deal for Canada.
“Canada needs a Green New Deal to fight the climate crisis at the scale that science and justice demand,” explained Amber Dyck an organizer with the Our Time Ottawa hub. “Young people could decide the outcome of the Canadian election this October, the time of our political leaders doing business as usual is done, we’re tired of watching politicians fail to take this crisis seriously. This is our time to decide and our time for a Green New Deal.”
The website for Our Time, launched earlier today, details four key pillars for a made-in-Canada Green New Deal:
It meets the scale and urgency of the climate crisis.
It creates millions of good jobs.
It enshrines dignity, justice, and equity for all, ensuring climate solutions lift up all communities and reflect the reality that frontline, marginalized and Indigenous communities are bearing the brunt of fossil fuel and climate impacts.
It works in service of real reconciliation — respecting the rights, title and sovereignty of Indigenous Peoples.
“We don’t live single-issue lives and climate change isn’t a single-issue problem,” said Avery Shannon, an organizer with the Our Time Vancouver hub. “If we want to tackle climate change, we have to tackle inequality; from the indigenous frontlines to disability justice. Our vision for this Green New Deal is to address all of that and more.”
Our Time organizers are calling on politicians of all stripes to step up and take up the mantle of a Green New Deal ahead of the 2019 election, and are planning to organize across generations to make it happen.
“I’m no longer a young person, but as a parent and someone involved in the climate fight for years, this generation, this election, and this idea for a Green New Deal is something I’m committed to support,” added Clayton Thomas-Muller, Stop-it-at-the-Source campaigner with 350.org. “We have a climate crisis in this country all the while Canada continues to fail on Indigenous rights. The Green New Deal is a way we can line up to tackle both.”