There’s no denying it. Climate change affects our lives every day. Whether because of aggressive winters or melting ice caps, humanity is becoming more and more aware of the dangers of global warming and our part in it. But our politicians don’t necessarily feel the same way.
Tomorrow, on April 11, a coalition of associations from various parts of the community in Quebec and Canada will come together to march for the climate in Quebec City. Organizers are calling on people from all walks of life to join the march, which will be large and family friendly, in front of the offices where Canada’s premiers will hold a provincial summit on climate on April 14.
Eighty environmental, First Nations and community organizations will come together under the guidance of seven major partners, including the David Suzuki Foundation, Greenpeace, Environmental Defence Canada and Nature Québec. The coalition will show support for the good things leaders are doing and also push for more responsive action.
The Canadian government’s oil-filled plans and disregard for the climate has triggered the events on April 11. “There isn’t any hope in the federal government. They are in the pockets of oil, they are corrupt and they are climate deniers. So we are now turning to the provincial government in hopes that they may be able to do their part in saving the planet,” explains Jason Mogus, a Canadian climate activist.
“Our message is simple: it’s a climate emergency and we need action now. We want access to clean solutions and we want to tell the government that they can’t lead on climate while approving tar sands expansion,” he explains.
Among the participants will also be a coalition of students from Quebec who have been protesting the provincial government’s austerity measures during this year’s Maple Spring. On its website, ASSÉ has called for an “anticapitalist, anticolonialist and feminist contingent to join the protest on Saturday.”
Multiple events are planned for the weekend in Quebec City. Organizers have called for participants to wear red to form a giant thermometer demonstrating the effects of climate change. A social media movement has asked people to post selfies with the hashtag #actonclimate and to tag their respective premiers.
Canada is at a turning point now, after long years of the Conservative government’s failure to address climate change.
“We are bad in our emissions and our behaviours. We have been blocking European Union agreements around dirty fuel and we’ve been blocking international agreements around climate action, and it’s only gotten worse in the last few years,” explains Mogus. “It is essential for provincial political leaders to understand that their people are more aware and will not stand for the continuous destruction of the planet.”
“Any neoliberal leader whose background is in economics and who is supported by moneyed interests will never do anything at the scale that’s required. All of Canada’s premiers are cut from that cloth. We don’t expect them to solve climate change, [but] we do expect them to take it seriously,” he says.
Quebec premier Philippe Couillard has shown some leadership on climate change, mainly through his involvement in the upcoming Paris climate summit and his intent, alongside French president Francois Hollande, to give Quebec a voice in the international discussion on climate change. But Canadians must demand more in the fight to save our planet, and it starts with the #actonclimate march tomorrow.