On April 17, young people and millennials launched a new national campaign to work for a Green New Deal for Canada, in a “massive economic and social mobilization”. The stated goal of the group, Our Time, is “to organize and mobilize a generational alliance of young and millennial voters that’s big enough and bold enough to push politicians to support a Green New Deal in the lead up to the 2019 election.”
Our Time is supported by 350.org and launches with “hub groups” already established in Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, and Halifax. (A brief article by the Halifax organizer is here ). It aims to form a national network from across different communities, causes, movements, and generations –it states clearly that older people are welcome in a supporting role.
“What do we mean when we say we want a “Green New Deal for Canada?” traces the growth of the priorities, from the Good Work Guarantee outlined in December 2018 to the policies under consideration as of March 2019. These include four pillars for a GND for Canada: “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.”
The Our Time campaign has been described in “As Youth-Led Campaign Kicks Off, Poll Shows Majority of Canadians Want a Green New Deal, Too” in Common Dreams (citing a North99 poll on Canadian attitudes to Green New Deal in early April 2019, here ). Another recent poll, by Ipsos was reported in “Climate And Environment Emerge As Top Public Concerns Before Canadian, Australian Elections” in The Energy Mix (April 24) , and shows the timeliness of the Our Time focus on political action. Ipsos reports that Canadian concern about climate change at 48% is higher than the global average (37%), and Canadians ranked their top five policy issues as: health care, the economy, housing, taxes, and climate change (in that order).
Climate activism in Quebec: An update on activism in Quebec’s social contract for the climate comes in “Quebec’s ‘Climate Spring’ speaks to broad support for environmental action” published in iPolitics on April 17. “In the span of a few months, 317 Quebec municipalities, representing almost 74 per cent of the population of Quebec, have endorsed a Declaration of Climate Emergency; close to 268,000 individuals have signed a pact to individually and collectively minimize their footprint and pushing for the adoption of a climate law; and a class action on behalf of all Quebecers 35 and under has been filed against the federal government for inaction on the climate file. Thousands marched twice in the bitter cold of late 2018 to demand climate action.” And as the WCR reported, the greatest turnout in Canada’s Fridays for Future demonstrations on March 15 was in Montreal, with 150,000 marchers . The presence of the Extinction Rebellion in Quebec is reported by the Montreal Gazette in “The clock is ticking and environmentalists aren’t going to take it anymore” (April 22). Extinction Rebellion held its first meetings in Montreal in January, held workshops on civil disobedience and on the psychological toll of climate change, and demonstrated in Montreal on April 17. The article also profiles Sara Montpetit, a 17-year-old student who “has emerged as Montreal’s answer to Greta Thunberg” and has been leading weekly strikes as part of the Fridays for Future movement. Finally, the article highlights the French-language website Chantiers de la Duc which proposes 11 action plans, related to the Citizens’ Declaration of Climate Emergency.
Youth climate activism across Canada keeps growing: WCR covered Canadian youth climate activism for the March 15th global Fridays for Future strike here . Some more recent articles have appeared in advance of the Canada-wide Fridays for Future strike scheduled for May 3 :
“Meet the youth climate strikers leading Canada’s Fridays for Future movement” from Ecojustice (April 24)
“Student organizers report back on March 15 climate strike” in Rabble.ca (March 21)
“2019 is the year young people rise for climate justice” in Medium (April 9) – which describes the Powershift: Young and Rising event in Ottawa in February 2019.
“Young people banding together to demand more action on climate change” in the Halifax Chronicle Herald (April 22) – which includes the Halifax activities of the global youth climate group iMatter.