A half a dozen people lay upon the tiles of a city square as if dead. Two others look on.

Election 2021: Activists gather for climate change event in Campbell River

CKTZ News, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Twenty activists from Campbell River, Quadra Island and Comox turned out for “Canada is still on Fire – 350.org day of Action” in Campbell River on Wednesday Sept. 8.

They were scheduled for the day before Canada’s only English-language federal leaders’ debate for the 2021 election, which will be televised from 6-8 PM PST today (Sept. 9).Similar events were held in Victoria, Nanaimo, Courtenay, Parksville, Port Alberni, Ucluelet, Duncan and Sooke on Vancouver Island, as well as numerous towns and cities across Canada — from Vancouver to St John’s Newfoundland.

The 350 website outlined the organization’s main goals this election season:

“Together, we will mobilize to ensure the climate emergency is a top issue in this election. And we will set the bar for ambitious climate action by demanding that all parties and candidates deliver:

  • A moratorium on fossil fuel expansion, including stopping construction on existing expansion projects
  • An urgent and robust just transition plan that leaves no one behind and moves us past fossil fuels.”
End of the procession through Shopper’s Row in Campbell River on Sept. 8. Photo courtesy of Dr. Don Goodeve.

Dr. Don Goodeve, one of the Campbell River event’s organizers, spoke with CKTZ News about the event.

“People have been campaigning on these issues for a very long time an there has been a lot of asking nicely and doing the right thing, petitions etc,” Dr. Don Goodeve said. “Now it is not happening in a third world country, it is not islands that are sinking in the Pacific, it’s happening here. It is happening now: with the wildfires that we’ve seen, the situation in Saskatchewan where crops on the prairies are not being able to be harvested because there is nothing there because of the drought.

“This is only going to get worse and this is in a year where we haven’t even had an El Niño event that will push global temperatures up by another 0.5 degrees centigrade. This is a desperate, dangerous situation, and still there is silence, so I believe it is time to stop asking nicely,” Goodeve added.

The Campbell River event caught the attention of two North Island — Powell River candidates in the 2021 election.

Green candidate Jessica Wegg attended the event and offered to comment on Friday, which is too late for this story.

Rachel Blaney, the NDP candidate and incumbent MP, could not attend, but sent a message in which she pledged to respond to the climate emergency with the urgency it demands. She specified that this means supporting her constituents in their calls for:

  1. “An immediate end to all fossil fuel subsides for oil and gas companies; an immediate moratorium on new fossil fuel projects; an immediate end to all construction on the Trans Mountain Pipeline and a cancellation of the project.”
  2. “Adjust transition to support workers and communities, especially Indigenous and remote communities, as we move towards a 100 per cent renewable energy future.”
  3. “Ensuring that all monies that were directed towards the Trans Mountain Pipeline project be immediately allocated to a Green New Deal.”
Green Party candidate Jessica Wegg (left) and another onlooker listening to one of the speeches at Campbell River’s day of Action. Photo courtesy of Dr. Don Goodeve.