More than two dozen young people are facing a month-long ban from Parliament Hill after staging a climate-change protest in the House of Commons on Oct. 28, 2019. (The Canadian Press)

VIDEO: Pressure mounts for Liberals to act on climate change as activists gear up

A group of young people were banned from the House of Commons after staging a sit-in

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he heard loud and clear the message Canadians sent in the federal election for him to be bolder about climate change action.

Now young Canadians want him to prove it.

Twenty-seven youth with the group Our Time were arrested in the House of Commons on Monday morning after attempting to stage a sit-in to demand a Canadian “green new deal” be the first priority of all 338 MPs elected last week.

They had 338 letters to deliver to the new MPs that listed demands including a cut to emissions in line with international scientific consensus, respecting Indigenous rights, creating good new jobs and protecting the most vulnerable people.

Amara Possian, a campaign manager with Our Time, said in a recent blog post that the first 100 days of a new government are a critical time as the government lays out its plans and priorities. With the Liberals held to a minority, they will need support from other parties to pass legislation and stay in power, which many environment groups see as leverage to push the Liberals to do more on climate change.

Niklas Agarwal, a 24-year-old recent geography graduate from Toronto, said minority governments have given Canada progressive programs like universal health care, and feels a minority government can deliver a green new deal in Canada.

“This is a generational crisis and I’ve never felt the urgency of anything else in my life,” said Agarwal, clutching the trespassing ticket that bars him from returning to Parliament Hill for the next 30 days.

The protesters gained access to the House of Commons by joining a regular visitors’ tour, then sitting down on the floor once and refused to move. Within minutes, Parliamentary security officers forced them to leave. Some protesters were dragged out by their arms, while others were lifted up to their feet and forced to walk out.

The idea of a green new deal comes mainly from Democrats in the United States who introduced resolutions in Congress last winter. The NDP co-opted the term in its campaign rhetoric, and the Green Party described their climate change plan, named “Mission: Possible,” as Canada’s green new deal.

READ MORE: Adults must protect kids from climate change, Greta Thunberg tells Vancouver rally

Dan Woynillowicz, policy director at Clean Energy Canada, said the term “green new deal” may not take hold in Canada because it is too aligned with the United States. But he said if you look at where the Liberals, NDP and Green platforms align on climate change, there are “the makings of an agenda” that cuts emissions deeper and faster, and supports affected Canadian workers through the transition.

In particular, the parties aim to cut emissions in line with what the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says is needed to keep the world from warming much more than 1.5 C compared to pre-industrial times. Investments in public transit, planting trees, encouraging electric vehicle use and investing in clean energy technologies are all among their common platforms.

Woynillowicz said he expects the Liberals to move quickly on their promised bill to legislate a fair transition for energy workers because that could help generate some good will in western Canada for climate action. Beyond that, the promised legislation to set five-year emissions targets and report publicly on progress would also be expected early, said Woynillowicz.

A spokeswoman for Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said the Liberals recognize more needs to be done on climate change.

READ MORE: 15 Canadian youths to sue Ottawa for not acting on climate change

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Province to invest $2 million for mental health programs

Each of B.C.’s 60 school districts will receive portions of the funding

Cougar reportedly spotted near West Kelowna church, elementary school

This is the second time in the past month that a cougar has been seen in the area

Cirque Du Soleil to cross over for ice-performance in Kelowna in 2020

Experience live music, extraordinary skating and stunning visuals in Cirque de Soleil Axel

Vernon woman collecting socks for Kelowna’s less fortunate

Jennylee Cowie hopes to collect 100 pairs of socks to give to the Gospel Mission in Kelowna

Okanagan College elects new chair and vice chair

Gloria Morgan was elected as the new chair Okanagan College’s board of governors

VIDEO: Ron MacLean says he doesn’t believe former co-host Don Cherry is racist

Sportsnet fired Cherry on Nov. 11, two days after controversial on-air comments during ‘Coach’s Corner’

Penticton council fed up with non-compliant property owner

“I’m deeply offended, as I think all of Penticton is, and especially the neighbours.”

Distracted driving tickets not for ICBC revenue, B.C. minister says

Minister Mike Farnworth calls SenseBC analysis ‘nonsense’

CN Rail strike and lack of trucking alternatives stoke forest industry fears

Companies calling on the federal government to ‘do everything in its power’ to end the strike

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveils new Liberal cabinet

Pivotal role in his new cabinet for a minority-government era goes to Chrystia Freeland

Osoyoos driver admits being ‘drunk’ after crashing into pole

A 52-year-old Osoyoos man admits being drunk after hitting power pole

Penticton council to hear case for declaring a climate emergency in the new year

The newly formed Sustainability Committee has been directed to look at the idea

Vigilantes sentenced to two years jail after invading alleged Hedley drug house

Two men were sentenced to two years in federal prison November 12,… Continue reading

Most Read