Demands for ‘a greener economy’ echo from 10,000 marchers in Canada

Intro

Thousands of marchers from all walks of life poured into Toronto streets Sunday, urging leaders to put “Jobs, Justice and the Climate” at the forefront of Canada’s political agenda. An “eclectic coalition” brought together 10,000 people to Canada’s commercial core on July 5th, two days ahead of the Pan American Economic Summit and the Climate Summit of the Americas. The mega rally drew a crowd that included labor unions representing Alberta oil workers, First Nations from the frontlines of extraction projects, marginalized communities from climate-impacted regions, environmental groups, anti-poverty groups, worker and faith communities, doctors, nurses, scientists, students, migrant justice groups and more. This diverse coalition shared  the sole purpose of delivering one clear message to policy makers: prioritize a new economy that works for the people and the planet. Several high-profile influencers participated in the march, including Naomi Klein, Bill McKibben, Stephen Lewis, Maude Barlow and Jane Fonda. Mobilizers from across the country set the tone for national momentum when the weekend began with the We > Tar Sands actions, one of which included a student-lead “climate sit-in” at seven local MP offices. With Canada’s Environment Minister reportedly skipping out on this week’s Climate Summit of the Americas, all eyes will be on provincial and foreign leaders to take charge of matters at the heart of the people they represent.

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RT @350Canada Official crowd count: over 10,000 people for #JobsJusticeClimate in Toronto! People Power wins today.

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Key Points

  • The call for change is empowered by the diversity of voices involved in this action. From First Nations to faith groups, a coalition of various voices came together for the Jobs, Justice and Climate march. When it comes to climate change, thousands of communities across Canada have a whole lot at stake. By coming together for a common cause, the call for a new economy that works for the people and the planet resonates more than ever.
  • Dirty energy is not the basis of Canada’s economy. With job growth in Canada’s green energy sector recently surpassing employment in the oil sands, the myth that dirty energy serves as the basis of Canada’s economy and quality of life is busted. According to Statistics Canada, tar sands development contributes just over 2 per cent toward Canada’s gross domestic product, less than 2 per cent of employment, and 15 per cent of net trade flow. Meanwhile, the costs associated with pursuing a dirty energy strategy are high.
  • Canada can only be a climate leader if it demonstrates political will. The EU, US, China and even India are all moving forward on climate issues. With a 100 per cent transition towards renewables within Canada’s reach by 2025, leaders can seize this moment — especially in the wake of the Climate Summit of the Americas —  to show the people they represent that Canada is ready to join the global momentum and put climate at the forefront of the national agenda.

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Quotes

  • “We need to respect the environment and the workers who do the labour to take care of our environment. As one of those workers, I need decent work and wages – right now our work is not healthy and we have little protection. This has to change.” – Angel Reyes, Workers Action Centre
  • “As a registered nurse, the damage being done to the global climate has and will continue to have a profound effect on global health – it is a matter of environmental and social justice. Of concern, vulnerable populations will be the most affected by climate change – the homeless, the indigenous people, those with inadequate housing, and individuals living in coastal regions. Decisive political leadership to tackle climate change is overdue and urgent – I will continue to support RNAO as my professional association in advocating for the public on this critical and devastating human challenge.” – Anastasia Harripaul, Registered Nurse
  • “Communities affected by poverty and racialized communities are among the first to be negatively affected by climate change. Residents of Toronto’s inner suburbs, including those living in community housing, endured extended power outages during the recent ice storms.” – Nigel Barriffe, a school teacher in Rexdale, a member of the Good Jobs for All Coalition and Board Chair of Toronto’s Urban Alliance on Race Relation
  • “We support this march because the poor and homeless have the fewest options of anyone in the face of climate change and it’s obvious that a society that creates wealth but accepts poverty will not make the just and rational choices needed to avert impending climate disaster.” – John Clarke, of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
  • “Even in the heart of the tar sands, we see communities building the new energy economy we need by implementing solar solutions. Our communities can no longer be written off as sacrifice zones. We are showing how everyone and every roof can be a part of the solution to our economic and climate crises.” – Melina Laboucan-Massimo, member of the Lubicon Cree (a tar sands-affected community), Greenpeace Canada campaigner and 350.org board member
  • “Chippewas of the Thames First Nation has been seeking consultation from Canada, they can’t pass this responsibility off to a third party called the National Energy Board to approve pipeline projects in our territory. – Myeengun Henry, Chippewas of the Thames Band councillor
  • “Jobs, Justice, Climate — these are not just issues but the intersecting moral and ethical challenge of our time (…) Four different contingents in the march visually depicted what Canada’s new economy should look like. That economy “starts with justice” for Indigenous peoples and those most impacted, creates “good work, clean jobs and healthy communities”, recognizes that “we have solutions” and shows “we know who is responsible” for causing the climate crisis.” – Jennifer Henry, Executive Director of KAIROS (Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives)

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  • RT @NaomiAKlein View from the front of jobsjusticeclimate march. amazing leaders. Protecting the land and people