Archive for September, 2019

Montreal is gearing up for this Friday’s Global Climate Strike, part of a global week of protests. While the event follows the Fridays for Future movement that began just over a year ago, this Friday is of particular importance because of the UN Climate Action Summit 2019 taking place in New York.

Here in Montreal, students, schools and businesses are getting ready.

Just four weeks away from a federal election, one can’t help wondering how much — or how little — this issue will matter when Canadians are actually standing in the voting booth, pencil in hand.

How many of the young people who will be attending this Friday’s rally are of voting age? And for those who aren’t, what if they could vote… would it change how the media is covering the election? Would it change the election’s outcome?

Polls suggest that climate change is a key issue for about 25 percent of voters (see the Global News/La Presse survey in September and Forum Research in July).

Somehow, though, judging from the day-to-day mainstream headlines, it doesn’t feel that way.

All four main parties are talking about climate change to some degree, but they all have different approaches to tackling it. A quick Google search led to several articles on the topic. Four are presented below. Their main focus is climate change, although one could argue that taking a broader approach to environmental issues would be a more holistic way of addressing this massive problem.

  • The Globe and Mail offers a fairly in-depth “explainer”: Federal election 2019: Where the four main parties stand on climate policy, by Shawn McCarthy and Marieke Walsh. It begins with a review of what the science says, describes the overall political context and then looks at each of the four main parties’ stated commitments. For analysis, a university professor comments briefly on the gaps in and feasibility of each party’s plan.
  • Maclean’s provides an Election 2019 primer: Energy and the environment, by Shannon Proudfoot. The article summarizes “where each of the parties stand on the increasingly top-of-mind issue of climate change—and what they propose to do about it,” although it does not provide much analysis.
  • The Narwhal’s explainer, Canada’s major parties on all things environment, goes a bit beyond the climate change issue. Jimmy Thompson examines each party’s platform in three environmental areas: climate change; energy; and land, water, wildlife and ocean conservation.
  • Finally, Election 2019: Comparing the federal parties’ climate change commitments, by ecojustice lawyer Julia Croome, offers its own take on how the parties’ climate commitments stack up, rating them according to whether they have (1) a strong target, (2) a realistic plan, and (3) accountability tools.

On Friday, young people are voicing their concerns. They’re asking not only politicians, but all adults, to make the environment a priority. Voting is one way of taking action. Perhaps the most important part is to make representatives aware this is something that matters.

monarch on white hydrangea

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