OTTAWA, ON – More than two dozen young people were arrested in the House of Commons this morning while calling on incoming Members of Parliament to form a government that would pass a made-in-Canada Green New Deal. “The status-quo isn’t going to cut it anymore when it comes to tackling the climate emergency,” said Niklas Agarwal, an organizer with Our Time Toronto. “It’s long overdue that somebody occupies the House of Commons with the sense of urgency and moral clarity that tackling the climate crisis demands”
Security quickly arrested and removed the sit-in, which happened one week after the majority of voters in Canada cast ballots supporting bold climate action. The youth brought 338 “Mandate Letters from our Generation” with them, calling on elected officials to rise above partisanship and form a government prioritizes a made-in-Canada Green New Deal. A number of MPs accepted the letters and pledged their support, both online and in person, including: Matthew Green (NDP, Hamilton-Centre) a first-time MP from Hamilton Centre that joined the youth on the Hill, Nathaniel Erskine-Smith (Liberal, Beaches-East York) and Don Davies (NDP, Vancouver Kingsway) who supported online, and NDP leader Jagmeet Singh who tweeted: “We need to fight the climate crisis like we want to win.
To young people across Canada demanding action:
Our NDP caucus will be coming to Ottawa determined to fight for a #GreenNewDeal for climate action & a future that leaves no worker behind. Count on us. #OurTimetoLead”
Participants in the sit-in were arrested around 9:45 by Parliamentary security, detained and released with a 30 day ban from Parliament Hill.
“Our government should have risen to this challenge twenty years ago,” Sarah Alvo, organizer with Our Time Kitchener Waterloo explained. “If our leaders won’t stand up to protect our generation’s future, then they leave us no other choice but to stand up and protect it ourselves.”
OTTAWA, ON – Early this morning twenty seven young people from the Our Time campaign began a sit-in inside Canada’s House of Commons. Carrying 338 “Mandate Letters from our Generation” for incoming Members of Parliament, they are calling on elected officials to set aside partisanship and form a government that will pass a made-in-Canada Green New Deal. “We’re calling on every Member of Parliament to accept the mandate from our generation that they come together and make tackling the climate emergency priority number one,” said Simran Dhunna, an organizer with Our Time Toronto. “Temperatures, injustice, and inequality are rising. A government that will push a Green New Deal is the only way to stop that.”
The action comes as Justin Trudeau has signaled plans to forge ahead without the formal support of other parties, and to prioritize tax cuts and pipeline expansion ahead of climate action. Organizers are worried that without pressure from outside, politicians could easily break the promises of bold climate action that the majority of people in Canada voted for.
“In 2015, fossil fuel lobbyists were sitting down with the Trudeau government, and watering down our climate ambition just days after the election. In 2019, our generation won’t stand for that,” Karolina Krym an organizer with Our Time Ottawa explained. “Climate change is impacting us now, so we’re acting now and we expect our politicians to do the same.”
Our Time organizers across the country are supporting the sit-in online, urging MPs to accept their mandate letters and get to work on a Green New Deal that brings people together all across the country.
“A Green New Deal is the only plan that recognizes we can’t tackle the climate crisis without dealing with racism, inequality and supporting communities through a transition off fossil fuels,” said Stephen Buehler, an Our Time organizer and journeyman machinist in Edmonton. “It’s the only plan that says ‘yes, this is going to be a big change,’ and also tells workers and communities that we’ve got their backs.”
TORONTO, ON – Early this morning, thousands of commuters in Toronto were handed a newspaper called The Our Times. Dated April 22, 2020, the paper’s front page read “GREEN NEW DEAL! Canada moves forward with bold new plan to tackle climate change, racism and inequality.”
“Climate change is a terrifying, daunting threat to so many of us. With this paper, we’re going to inject some hope into the election campaign,” Avery Shannon, an organizer with Our Time Vancouver, said. “This election couldn’t be higher stakes for our generation. We’re letting people know that if we come together to vote for climate champions, organize in our communities, and hold our politicians accountable, we will tackle this crisis.”
The paper was published by Our Time, a youth-led climate campaign working to elect Green New Deal champions across the country. These champions, candidates who have been endorsed by Our Time teams across the country, are profiled in the paper along with the stories about how Canada could get started on a bold, ambitious climate plan following the 2020 election.
Toronto organizers distribute the Our Times — Photo Credit: Spence Mann
“The story this paper tells is exactly what Canada needs to do to tackle the climate crisis,” Amara Possian, Campaign Manager with 350 Canada explained. “It’s anything but far-fetched. Nearly a million people joined the September climate strikes, one of the largest public mobilizations in Canadian history. This paper outlines a real pathway to bring Canada in line with limiting emissions and a just transition.”
A digital version of the paper, posted at theourtimes.ca, also made the rounds this morning, directing readers to join Our Time for a final push towards election day. With thousands of volunteers supporting champion candidates and working to turn out young and millennial climate voters, organizers are confident the predictions in the paper could come to pass.
“Young people and millenials are the largest voting bloc this election, and we’re organized,” Andrew Linton, an organizer with Our Time Ottawa, said. “This paper may be fiction, but it’s based on what scientists tell us we need to do to tackle climate change, what communities are calling for in a just transition, and what our generation is already doing to make it all happen”.
Toronto, ON – With nearly 500,000 people in Montreal, at least 30,000 in Toronto, more than 100,000 in Vancouver, 20,000 in Ottawa and over 150 more demonstrations throughout the day, more than 800,000 are estimated to have taken part in Climate Strikes across Canada, making today the largest climate mobilization in Canadian history.
Amara Possian, Campaign Manager with 350 Canada issued this statement in response:
“If anyone still has doubts about 2019 being the climate election, today’s mobilizations should clear that up. Young people showed up, adults showed up, and now it’s time for politicians to step up and do what it takes to truly tackle the climate crisis by backing a made-in-Canada Green New Deal.”
Around the world, nearly 3 million people participated in Climate Strikes today, bringing the global total to more than 6.6 million over the past week. A full wrap up can be found at globalclimatestrike.net
Our Time Campaign Responds to Liberal Climate Plan, Endorses 16 More Green New Deal Champions
Ahead of nation-wide climate strikes, organizers lend their support to candidates pushing bold action on climate change and inequality
Toronto, ON – Responding to the rollout of the Liberal Party’s climate platform today, organizers with the youth-led Our Time campaign announced 16 new federal candidate endorsements. Running in ridings from coast to coast to coast, these candidates join the 13 Green New Deal champions endorsed earlier this month. No Liberal candidates have been endorsed.
“Today’s announcement proves that youth-led organizing is moving the needle on what counts as real climate action,” said Amara Possian, Campaign Manager with 350 Canada. “While we welcome the Liberals ramping up their climate ambition, we haven’t forgotten that this party promised us the world on climate change in 2015, then bowed down to big oil once in power.”
The second round of endorsements includes candidates from all across the country, including two candidates running to represent northern communities facing significant climate change impacts: Paul Falvo (Green, NWT) and Niki Ashton (NDP, Churchill—Keewatinook Aski).
“Whether it’s wildfires, melting permafrost or unreliable ice roads, climate change affects every aspect of our lives in the North and we see first-hand how quickly it’s getting worse.” Thomas Gagnon-van Leeuwen, an organizer with Our Time Yellowknife said. “This federal election, we’re making that clear by joining the climate strikes, voting for a Green New Deal champion and organizing to hold the next government accountable after the election.”
With hundreds of thousands of people expected to join cross-country climate strikes on Friday, Our Time groups have been busy organizing campus walkouts, canvassing in communities and hosting events to build buzz for the massive climate protests.
“Our plan this fall is simple: Organize, Strike, Vote,” Possian explained. “We’re organizing our communities, we will join the strikes en masse, then we’ll turn out a massive intergenerational voting alliance to elect Green New Deal champions on October 21st. After that, it’s back to organizing to hold the next government accountable.”
Our Time is a youth and millennials-led campaign supported by 350 Canada. A full list of endorsed candidates can be found at our-time.ca.
Young, grassroots and community-minded are just some of the words that nominators used to describe Clement. According to his nominators, “he has been part of grassroots organizations for the past 8 years and wants to bring them into the wider scope of provincial and federal politics,” which they believe will put him in an ideal position to fight for a Green New Deal.
Kalden Dhatsenpa (NDP)
A young climate organizer in Montreal, Kalden wants to up the ambition of every climate platform that political parties are putting forward this election. Hi nominators called him “the most grassroots candidate” they interviewed, and they loved his commitment to fight to bring free public transportation to his community.
Nimâ Machouf (NDP)
With a background in public health and years of experience in community organizing, Nimâ’s nominators noted her deep understanding of climate justice and her commitment to fight for a Green New Deal. “She believes that though the NDP platform is a good start, it’s only a start,” they explained. “She was very clear that she wants her community to be more engaged in politics and to have her campaign be transparent and accessible.”
Sophie Thiébaut (NDP)
Sophie began work as a community organizer and eventually made her way into the municipal government, where she worked as a Project Montreal City Councillor. Involved in the fight against Energy East and committed to addressing the housing crisis in Montreal, she understands the intersections of a Green New Deal. Before jumping into federal politics, her nominators note, she went back to school “in order to gain a better understanding of how to implement climate realities into her politics.”
Lori Campbell (NDP)
An Indigenous activist and academic, Lori Campbell blends experience as an educator, communicator and community member in her approach to politics. With roots and family in the prairies, her vision is for a Green New Deal that works for Indigenous Peoples and fossil fuel workers shifting to a new economy. Her nominators were deeply impressed by Lori’s commitment to community, noting that she only entered politics after asking her students if she should run because while “they were disillusioned with electoral politics, they decided her voice needed to be at the table.”
Mae J Nam (NDP)
A labour and human rights lawyer who has fought for workers, migrants and frontline communities, Mae J Nam has deep roots as a community organizer in Toronto. She won over nominators as a grassroots organizer who “has demonstrated her commitment to the principles of the Our Time campaign” and because “she was drawn to politics not because she had ever wanted to be a politician, but because she felt as if it was her duty to be a strong grassroots voice within the political system.”
Min Sook Lee (NDP)
A lifelong social activist and artist, Min Sook Lee began organizing in the anti-apartheid movement while she was in high school. According to her nominator, “Min Sook shows us what it means to take a bold and principled stance… A vocal supporter of migrant rights, Min Sook will stand up for a Green New Deal that leaves no one behind.”
Yafet Tewelde (NDP)
Coming from a riding that has been heavily impacted by extreme flooding, Yafet Tewelde has called for increased federal funding to respond to climate disasters at the local level. An experienced organizer, his nominators noted that his endorsement is directly tied to a keen awareness of “the specific needs of his community with respect to climate justice issues like race, policing, transit and affordable housing.”
Ben Linnick (Green)
Saint Boniface—Saint Vital
A young Métis activist and musician, Linnick impressed his nominators with his strong commitment to work towards a Green New Deal. “He spoke about working towards the Green New Deal and not for any particular party,” his nominators explained while also highlighting their excitement over his commitment to climate policies that respect Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change science and the needs of all communities.
Elizabeth Shearer (NDP)
Winnipeg South Centre
A young organizer with experience in climate, environmental, student and social justice movements, Elizabeth is committed to meeting “climate change goals while not compromising a world we want to thrive in”. As a millennial, Elizabeth is keenly aware of the challenges facing young people and wants to see a Green New Deal that reflects those realities.
Niki Ashton (NDP)
First elected in 2008 at the age of 26, Niki has fought for youth, climate action, Indigenous rights and social justice throughout her time in office, showing a willingness to push the boundaries of what is politically possible. Her nominators were impressed with her recognition of the importance of including Northern communities in tackling the climate crisis, and with her commitment to listen to and work with social movements fighting for a Green New Deal, recognizing that politics comes “from the ground up.”
Paul Falvo (Green)
A criminal defence and human rights lawyer, Paul understands the complex ways climate change is linked with social issues in the North. His nominators at Our Time Yellowknife explained that “his background in the legal field and his many relationships in the NWT, not just in Yellowknife, will position him to effectively advocate for our communities.”
Don Davies (NDP)
Before he was elected for the first time in 2008, Don Davies worked as a labour lawyer. Committed to his community and to his role as an MP, he has introduced more legislation than any MP in the House of Commons during his tenure. His nominators told us that “it is clear that Don Davies is committed to his community, and working to protect the most marginalized against vested interests.”
Jenny Kwan (NDP)
An immigrant to Canada, Jenny Kwan is a politician and an organizer who bridges the divide between Vancouver social movements and the political realm. A regular presence at climate movement events in her community and beyond, her nominators noted that “she’s not afraid to push party lines and speak to what she believes in” and that she’ll be a strong voice for a Green New Deal in Parliament.
Peter Julian (NDP)
Born and raised in the riding he’s running to represent, Peter Julian tabled a motion in the House of Commons this past spring calling for Canada to create its own Green New Deal. His nominators noted his time before politics as a disability advocate, his ties in the community and his work on legislation across a wide range of progressive causes. His Green New Deal motion calls for “net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, millions of green economy jobs, investments in infrastructure and industry, guaranteed access to clean water, air, healthy food and nature, and [to] address historic and present inequalities suffered by First Nations, Metis, Inuit peoples as well as vulnerable communities.”
Yvonne Hanson (NDP)
When Yvonne decided to enter the race in Vancouver-Granville, her reason was simple – to “make climate action and a Green New Deal a reality”. She’s a youth climate justice organizer, a recent university graduate and, according to her nominators, “represents the concerns that young people across this country face in trying to grapple with the struggles of day to day life in an increasingly unequal society and in the face of a climate crisis that threatens our future.”
September 11, 2019
For Immediate Release
“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.”