WEEK 4: Bolder actions feed momentum for climate action
With 50 days to go before Canadians head to the polls, we’re already seeing a huge momentum to demand action on climate change. Last week was certainly proof of that. Already there’s been tons of headlines about the tar sands and climate change, thanks in large part to the dozens of people taking action to force climate policies at the top of the agenda, and it’s not even September yet.
The fourth week of the elections campaign opened with an epic moment during Harper’s visit in Quebec. On August 25th, a climate activist interrupted the Prime Minister mid-sentence during Conservative event in Montreal to call him out on climate and call on people to vote for climate justice. You can read more about this action and how a cardboard sign can force climate change onto the campaign trail here.
The video of the interruption went viral on social media. Outside the event, fossil fuel divestment students, residents opposed to the Energy East and Line 9b pipelines, as well as local union members rallied to tell people to vote for political change, not climate change.
A couple days later on August 27, echoing Tuesday’s action, a group of climate organizers and union members held a welcoming committee for Stephen Harper outside his campaign stop in Hamilton, which earned them commentary in the Twitter-sphere and mentions in local newspapers.
And to make sure that all leaders would take notice, climate activists closed the week with another action that grabbed national media attention. At Justin Trudeau’s rally in Montreal on August 28th, two climate activists took to the stage and unfurled a banner right next to the Liberal leader, asking him to clarify what his climate commitments are in the lead up to the COP21 conference in Paris. Trudeau responded to the question, but gave absolutely no specifics. He mentioned wanting to keep climate change under 2°C, but didn’t acknowledge that in Canada that means keeping 85% of the tar sands in the ground.
— HuffPost Canada (@HuffPostCanada) August 29, 2015
Needless to say that these actions are successfully bringing climate change and tar sands in the spotlight. Check out this thorough round-up of pipeline politics that details what federal leaders are saying so far about the tar sands. Both Trudeau and Mulcair have now promised to revamp the NEB process for pipelines, though their proposals are still unclear. And while last week’s major theme on the campaign trail was the economy, there was a blatant lack of discussion about the role of the tar sands and the energy transition we so deeply need and that we know can create jobs.
It won’t stop now until we get real vision and leadership about climate change. With the start of school across Canada and still 50 days to go before October 19th, we can expect bolder and bigger actions in the coming weeks.
Click here to get involved in a wave of mobilization by the climate movement this fall, and download the bird-dogging toolkit to organize similar actions calling out and questioning party leaders across party lines during the elections campaign!