Allison Hanes: After a massive mobilization in Montreal, what comes next? – Montreal Gazette

Allison Hanes: After a massive mobilization in Montreal, what comes next? - Montreal Gazette
Canadian kids should be able to sue over climate inaction
Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg told Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau today he's not doing enough to protect the environment from the threat of runaway climate change.

Trudeau met the teenage activist ahead of Friday's mass climate rally in Montreal in his capacity as prime minister. The pair spoke in private for about 15 minutes, shortly before Trudeau joined the rally marching through the city's downtown.

After the meeting, Thunberg was asked if she had a message for Trudeau. She said that Trudeau is not doing enough — but added that she says the same thing to every political leader she meets.

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"My message to all the politicians around the world is the same: just listen and act on the current, best available united science," she said.

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"I try not to focus on the individuals and rather focus on the whole picture because … of course it's easier to just blame someone and of course he has a lot of responsibility … and he, of course, is not doing enough.

But it could well be that they are waking up to an unfolding calamity, the depth and breadth of which they are going to be left to confront. By the time the consequences of the climate emergency we now face begin to manifest themselves in deadly ways on a massive scale, the adults refusing to do anything about the problem will be long gone.

"But we need to, because this is such a huge problem. This is a system that is wrong. So my message to all the politicians is the same — to just listen to the science and act on the science."

Its a waste of time. The United Nations doesnt have any real power anyway. It will just open the door to frivolous complaints by underaged attention seekers and non-profits looking for publicity. These, I imagine, are some of the intellectual arguments against sanctioning the petition process. And I think theyre dumb.

In a news conference announcing a proposal to plant trees to combat climate change, Trudeau called Thunberg a "remarkable" young person who is driving the conversation forward.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child is an international human-rights treaty that was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1989. The 196 countries that ratified it – which includes every member of the UN except the United States – are bound by international law to uphold the tenets set out in the document.

"She is the voice of a generation of young people who are calling on their leaders to do more and to do better, and I'm listening," he said.

Since appearing on the world stage Thunberg has suffered a barrage of criticism online from climate deniers calling her freakishly influential and a a millenarian weirdo, alongside conspiracy theories that she is a pawn of the left.

Trudeau was asked about a June 19 tweet from Thunberg in which she questioned Canada's decision to declare a climate emergency one day and say yes to expanding the Trans Mountain pipeline the next.

"This is shameful. But of course this is not only in Canada, we can unfortunately see the same pattern everywhere," she said.

"We have a national climate plan that will reduce our emissions and hit our 2030 targets in a way that also includes getting a better price for our oil resources that allows us to put the profits directly into the fight against climate change," he said.

She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future, the president wrote. So nice to see!

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Trudeau had a large security detail surrounding him and his family as they joined the crowds on the streets of Montreal for the climate rally. Some in the crowd chanted slogans attacking Trudeau's embrace of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

As millions of young people around the world took to the streets today to call for urgent action on climate change, the Liberal leader promised to plant two billion trees if his government is re-elected.

The spoof goes on to show various irate callers sharing their various complaints with the Greta Thunberg Helpline.

Trudeau said the initiative would use the power of nature to fight climate change, help cities expand and diversify urban forests, better protect trees from infestation and help rebuild forests after wildfires.

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The program would support an estimated 3,500 seasonal jobs in tree planting, according to the Liberal Party.

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The tree planting initiative would be part of a broader $3 billion, 10-year fund to support efforts across the country to better manage, conserve, and restore forests, grasslands, agricultural lands, wetlands and coastal areas that help store and take carbon pollution out of the air.

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According to Liberal Party background documents, the initiative would be an annual investment of $300 million, starting in 2020-21, with costs offset by revenues from the Trans Mountain pipeline.

Further details related to costing will be released over the course of the campaign, the party claims.

But seeing how far 16-year-old Thunberg has come in only the last year is even more awe-inspiring. Before todays march, she met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and gave an unprepared speech in front of hundreds of thousands of people. She has spoken at the United Nations Climate Summit, has been featured on Time magazine, she has upset and intimidated leaders around the world, including the President of the United States. 

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Green Party Leader Elizabeth May also attended the Montreal rally, while NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is taking part in a climate rally in Victoria later today.

We are lucky enough to have climate activist Greta Thunberg leading the Montreal climate strike along with the now estimated 400,000 other protesters. Seeing the support that Montreal, its schools, and its leaders are giving to the climate march has brought the city together and is inspiring to many. 

Trudeau took the opportunity to attack Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer for skipping the rally. Scheer was travelling to B.C. this morning for several campaign events.

A photo tweet of todays Montreal march, posted by Thunberg herself, captures the astounding distance she has travelled and the inspiration she brings on a global scale. 

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"Andrew Scheer is choosing to hide today instead of participating in climate marches," he said. "But it's no surprise he's not showing up for the climate march because he's not showing up for the fight against climate change."

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At a campaign event in Coquitlam, B.C. later in the day, Scheer suggested Trudeau is hypocritical for taking part in the march.

The comments are mostly an outpouring of support and gratitude. Though one confused soul wrote, “100% not Montreal lmao. They speak English there. But okay….”

"I find it interesting and ironic that Justin Trudeau is actively protesting his own government's record on the environment," he said.

The photo already has over five thousand likes, nearly one thousand retweets, and comments that are pouring in too quickly to count. 

"He'll be marching today with so many people who realize that his plan is not as advertised. It will lead to higher costs of living while not achieving our targets."

Singh, meanwhile, criticized Trudeau for saying he's taking on climate change while promoting the oil sector.

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"Mr. Trudeau promised really clearly in 2015 that he would not build the Trans Mountain, that he would oppose it. And then once he got into office, not only did he break that promise, he bought the pipeline then approved its expansion the day after he declared a climate emergency," he said.

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"That is something that should have everyone pause, and that's why Canadians are saying we can't trust and we don't believe Mr. Trudeau."

In an interview with CBC Montreal's Daybreak Friday, May said voters need to elect a party that is up to the challenge and ready with a concrete plan to reduce emissions and create jobs in the growing green economy.

"We want to ensure that in this election, which I think is really a referendum on climate change, voters recognize that, if you really want to see a green policy, you've got to vote for a party that is really going to hold the line and ensure that we don't go above 1.5 degrees Celsius," she said. 

Greta Thunberg has been mocked and ridiculed by some of the worlds most powerful people, including U.S. President Donald Trump, who dismiss her calls to climate action as the musings of silly school girl. In Canada, Peoples Party Leader Maxime Bernier dismissed her as a mentally ill pawn of adults.

Joining Thunberg at the rally earlier today was Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde, who praised her for her leadership.

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While Thunberg has been praised for her efforts by many world leaders, she's also come in for some pointed criticism from politicians on the right, including U.S. President Donald Trump and People's Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier.

Bernier has described Thunberg on Twitter as "clearly mentally unstable" and suggested her climate activism is spreading irrational fears about the environment.

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Trump tried to throw shade on Thunberg following her impassioned speech to the United Nations earlier this week, describing the activist as a "happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future." In response, Thunberg trolled Trump by sarcastically adding Trump's description of her to her Twitter profile.

"I don't understand why grownups would choose to mock children and teenagers for just communicating and acting on the science when they could do something good instead," she said.

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"I guess they must feel like their world view or their interests, or whatever it is, is threatened by us. And we should take as a compliment that we are having so much impact that people want to silence us."

During their earlier meeting, Trudeau asked Thunberg what her friends back home thought about the march. She told the Liberal leader there will be about 60,000 people marching in Stockholm today.

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Addressing the crowd today, Thunberg said she did not have a prepared speech but she was thrilled to be among people gathered for "a common cause."

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