As one of their first political acts after voting strategically for Justin Trudeau’s Liberals, sixteen young Canadians are coming to Ottawa next week to risk arrest over four days of peaceful acts of civil disobedience. They’re calling for a freeze on the expansion of the tar sands and a transition to a 100 per cent clean economy.
This open letter explains why they are demanding bold action from Canada’s new prime minister, and why they’re ready to go to jail if he doesn’t deliver.
Dear Mr. Trudeau,
We, the undersigned, are among the millions of Canadians who voted for you, and for your local Liberal MPs, during this year’s federal election. We are among the millions who have watched and protested Canada’s regression under Stephen Harper’s Conservatives and who organized to defeat them. We are the strategic “anyone but Harper” vote. In short, we are the key voting bloc that helped you win this election.
While our primary collective goal of stopping Stephen Harper was achieved, we also paid close attention to you and to your party during this election — and frankly, we are worried.
First and foremost, we are concerned that fewer than 40 days before the critical Paris climate talks, you don’t have a plan to meet Canada’s obligation to a 2°C world, an obligation that science tells us means leaving 85 per cent of the tar sands in the ground.
Whether it’s your refusal to set climate targets on the campaign trail, or reports of oil and pipeline lobbyists closely linked to your campaign, we’re worried that you won’t walk your talk on climate change.
For the past 10 years we have watched Stephen Harper muzzle scientists, strip policies in place to protect our natural environment, and show a complete disregard for fundamental human rights, treaty rights, and Indigenous peoples’ right to sovereignty over this land.
We know that Canada needs to take bold action to reverse the extensive damage that has already been done, and to prevent the worst effects of climate change. We believe that this kind of bold action begins with us.
That’s why, as one of our first political acts after voting for you, we will be coming to 24 Sussex Drive to risk arrest over four days of peaceful acts of civil disobedience. We’re joining and supporting this “climate welcome” in order to demonstrate the urgent need for an ambitious and decisive plan on climate change. We are asking you to be bold with us, to listen to the science, and to commit to what we know to be necessary: a freeze in tar sands expansion and a shift to a clean energy economy.
In your victory speech you told us to “know that we can make anything happen if we set our minds to it and work hard.” We have listened to your message of “hope and hard work” and we have set our minds to putting Canada on the right side of history when it comes to climate change.
We have set our minds to moving away from the tar sands and towards a justice-based renewable energy economy. We will work hard to achieve this goal by being the engaged citizens that you have said are so important to this country.
In return, we are asking you to be accountable and representative not only to your party supporters, but also to the strategic voters who helped give you this victory. And we are calling on you now to take urgent and bold action to fight climate change.
Ellen Gillies - Eglinton-Lawrence
Kristen Perry - Simcoe-North
Ben Donato-Woodger - Etobicoke-Lakeshore
Calvin Beauchesne- Peterborough Kawartha
Scott Somerville - Peterborough Kawartha
Becca Kram - Peterborough Kawartha
Keara Lightning - Peterborough Kawartha
Spencer Allan - Peterborough Kawartha
Suhail Barot - Etobicoke-Lakeshore
Nicky Young - Beaches-East York
Simon Donato-Woodger - Etobicoke Lakeshore
Sarah Rotz - Guelph
Trudi Zundel - Guelph
Tali Chernin - Etobicoke-Lakeshore
Amanda Harvey-Sanchez - Toronto-Danforth
Anna Lermer - Toronto-St. Paul’s