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Thousands set to join biggest climate march in Canadian history

climate march

Creative Commons: Annette Bernhardt, 2014

This Saturday (11 April), thousands will gather in Quebec City for what is anticipated to be the biggest climate march in Canadian history.

Merely three days ahead of interprovincial meetings on climate and energy, this mass mobilization expects to draw crowds of all ages from across the country, including environmental groups, students, unions, First Nations, families, health advocates, public figures and grassroots organizers.

Margaret Atwood, Award-winning author, who will be joining the March said:

I am supporting this march because it’s time for governments to tell us that they recognize the new economic reality – the changing world attitudes to oil and its volatility, the world-wide increase in renewables, the fact that, despite lack of subsidies, there are more Canadian jobs now in renewables than in oil.

This rally comes at a crucial time.

Despite 61% of Canadians affirming that protecting the climate is more important than developing pipelines and tar sands projects, the federal government has failed to act on their required international climate commitments.

The US and the EU submitted their targets for upcoming climate meetings in Paris before the March 31 deadline, while Mexico is the first non-industrialized country to submit their national contributions to the UN negotiation process.

China also committed to curb emissions last fall, while India plans on delivering an ambitious renewable energy plan.

Leaders around the world are making their mark, and if growth continues at this pace, Canada’s legacy is on the line.

Joanna Kerr, Director of Greenpeace Canada said:

Climate change is the greatest challenge our generation faces, for ourselves and for future generations. It’s high time our leaders accept their responsibilities and put in place ambitious measures to combat climate change. Our provincial representatives must act, and on April 11, in the streets of Quebec, we will show them that they have the support of citizens.

While various groups grow increasingly dubious of federal leadership on climate, economists are calling on provincial premiers to take a stand and put a price on carbon, noting that “Canadians are bearing the costs [of Ottawa’s failure to act] across the country.”

Meanwhile, scholars have also made it clear that a just transition is within Canada’s reach by 2035.

Serge Simon, Grand Chief of Kanesatake said:

We must dismantle the illusion that we have no choice. It’s time to make decisions that don’t destroy our planet and jeopardize the lives of its inhabitants and the seven generations after them.

As Canada and the rest of the world move closer to UN climate meetings in Paris, marchers will be urging their premiers to stay firm and avoid undoing any regional progression for the climate, or risk further isolating the country from the international community.

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