Mobilizations that are being hailed as "the first steps towards a new kind of climate movement" will take place across Canada this weekend, bringing together an "unprecedented coalition" of environmental, labor, social justice, public health, and student activists to call for a justice-based transition to a clean energy future.
"It’s not every day you see Canada’s largest public and private sector unions mobilizing alongside Indigenous frontline communities, migrant justice groups, and anti-extractive sector activists," reads a post at the March for Jobs, Justice, and the Climate website.
"Politicians will face a choice: listen to corporate leaders from across the Americas gathering to advance an economic austerity agenda that is increasing inequality and causing a climate crisis felt disproportionately in the global south—or listen to the people."
—Andrea Harden-Donahue, Council of Canadians
One dozen separate actions are planned to take place across Canada on Saturday, July 4, under the "We > Tar Sands" banner aimed at demonstrating that "we, the people, are greater than the tar sands."
"As we approach one of the most important elections in this country’s history and another round of international climate negotiations, it is crucial for us to unite and demonstrate to our leaders that we are ready for real climate action," the organizers, who include 350.org, write in their call to action. "If politicians refuse to lead us. We will lead them."
The following day, July 5, will see the streets of Toronto fill with Canadians calling for green jobs, localized agriculture, and "a new energy economy, in which corporate polluters pay and ordinary people benefit."
In a piece about Sunday's march, eco-crusader Naomi Klein wrote: "Canadians are clearly getting tired of the fossil-fuel roller coaster. Tired of being told we have to sacrifice our environmental protections and our international standing when times for industry are good. Of seeing our budgets for social programs slashed and livelihoods destroyed when times for industry are bad. It turns out we sacrifice on the upside and we sacrifice on the downside."
Explaining why the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario would join in the July 5 march, president-elect Carol Timmings declared, "[w]ithout jobs that provide a living wage and a strong and stable environment, Ontarians' health and well-being are at risk. As a society, we can no longer afford to ignore these issues."
The events are taking place on the eve of the Climate Change Summit of the Americas, taking place in Toronto from July 7-9. Former Mexican president Felipe Calderón, former U.S. vice president Al Gore, and the Canadian premiers of Quebec and Ontario are all scheduled to speak at the summit, which ostensibly will "bring together Pan-American jurisdictions, as well as Indigenous leaders, environmental groups and industry, to work towards commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and highlight opportunities for investing in a global low carbon economy."
At the summit, Andrea Harden-Donahue of the Council of Canadians wrote last month, "[p]oliticians will face a choice: listen to corporate leaders from across the Americas gathering to advance an economic austerity agenda that is increasing inequality and causing a climate crisis felt disproportionately in the global south—or listen to the people."
For more about the march and the movement, watch the video below:
And follow the weekend's actions on Twitter under the hashtag #JobsJusticeClimate: