It has now been a week since the Federal election. After spending the 6 week election period involved and volunteering in canvassing and Get out the vote efforts to ensure we get voters to consider climate change when they cast their ballot, it has taken me a bit of time to fully decompress and assess what the outcomes of this important election means in the context of climate justice. I know for many of us committed to working towards justice, there were many moments in this election that left me feeling deeply disappointed and frustrated with the state of debate on issues in Canada, and that made clear to me how much work we still need to do in the fight for ecological justice, indigenous justice, racial justice, economic justice, gender justice, across Canada but also around the world.
I know for myself, I headed to the ballot box with quite a lot of trepidation. In my work with BTCEA I had the opportunity to deliver workshops to youth on climate change this fall, and heard from them the deep concern and worry that they feel because of the climate crisis. Indeed the outcomes of the election show that this is a concern that was shared by many in Canada, as climate change polled as one of the top issues of the election, a reflection of the work of movements: Indigenous and youth led movements that have raised concern about the climate crisis and brought unprecedented numbers of people to the streets demanding the government take action. For me this is what I will take away from this election: the power of everyday people in social movements who joined together to demand a more just and better future from our politicians.
Not only did this work in forcing candidates to get clear on their climate plans, it also meant that come election day the majority of Canadians voted for parties with an actual plan for how they would address the climate crisis, and ensured that going forward we will not see the government back track on current commitments. Thanks to the work of everyday people mobilizing, we saw many MPs elected who have vowed to take action on the climate crisis, and ensure that it remains a top priority in the House of Commons. And importantly, these movements show no sign of slowing down, as we saw an estimated 10 000 people taking to the streets to demanding climate action just 4 days after the election Friday, October 25th in Vancouver including Greta Thunberg, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip and Joan Phillip, Audrey Siegl, David Suzuki, Severin Cullis-Suzuki, and 15 youth suing the government for inaction on climate change .
Now the work truly starts to hold this newly formed government accountable and to continue building momentum to demand climate action. There have been some important analyses on what these election results may mean for the climate, which can be read: here, and here, and here. There are important steps we can all take to do that like signing many important petitions that have been going around to demand bold climate action like these: Unite for Climate Action- DSF, Cooperate for Climate- LeadNow, Demand parties cooperate for Climate- the Wilderness Committee. And if you can continue to support the growing movements in ways that are possible to you, whether that be offering your time by volunteering, offering financial support, amplifying their messages online, showing up to events, putting pressure your local MP, and on the Government by writing letters and flooding their phone lines demanding action on climate.