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.”