Special to APTN News
This week, the 43rd Canadian general election happened and young people from coast to coast from the Our Time campaign are celebrating victory.
Eight Green New Deal champions have been elected and are heading to Parliament to push for climate legislation over the next four years.
They are: Jenny Kwan, Niki Ashton, Matthew Green, Daniel Blaikie, Alexandre Boulerice, Peter Julian, Don Davies and Leah Gazan – all members of the NDP.
Gazan defeated Liberal incumbent and pipeline proponent, Robert-Falcon Ouellette.
Canada needs a fearless champion in our Parliament to shatter the narrative the Liberals have been selling Canadians that we need to buy pipelines and expand the tar sands to pay for the transition off of fossil fuels.
Canada needs our own version of firebrand U.S. Congressional leader Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and I believe that Leah Gazan could be it. She is a fiercely proud First Nations woman with deep roots in her community, and dedicated to a strong science based, intersectional approach to building a Green New Deal for Canada.
Gazan’s campaign was highly successful because it was centered in a powerful community organizing strategy.
Positive messaging was key in her victory as well as unwavering support to pass the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People into law, a commitment to real climate leadership through championing Green New Deal legislation in Ottawa and taxing the super rich and the private sector to pay their fair share for the transition off of the fossil fuel economy.
(Leah Gazan is heading to Ottawa as one of eight Members of Parliament pushing for a Green New Deal)
Our Time has been working for the last nine months to build a national movement to establish the largest voter block of students, youth and indigenous peoples in Canadian history.
This visionary youth movement and their investment in organizing and training thousands of young people across Canada paid off. Our Time is sending eight members of parliament, or our Green New Deal squad, who have committed to work across party lines to push for a Green New Deal, the only bold plan on the table to tackle the climate emergency and rising inequality.
On September 27, right in the middle of the Canadian federal election, a million people across the country took part in the Global Climate Strikes.
Even with this massive pressure, party leaders like Justin Trudeau and Andrew Sheer still were too afraid to participate in a debate on climate, even after the Liberal government recently declared a climate emergency.
The Canadian media played its part too in suppressing climate as an issue during the election and this demonstrated both fear and how deep the influence of the fossil fuel lobby is in Canada’s corporate media sector.
A Our Time campaign called on the CBC to host a federal leaders climate debate and actions included occupations and the delivery of over 40,000 signatures to the Corporations Toronto headquarters.
For Leah Gazan, and her fellow Our Time squad of Green New Deal MP’s heading to Ottawa, the hard work and the real fight begins now.
In Ottawa, Leah met with Our Time organizers the day after a dramatic protest in which 27 youth were arrested for occupying parts of West Block on Parliament Hill and were eventually removed from the House of Commons.
Our Time organized the sit-ins to deliver 338 mandate letters from their generation to elected candidates demanding Canada governs for a Green New Deal.
Young people across this country are angry about their governments response to the climate crisis and have high expectations of our Green New Deal champions in Parliament. The science tells us we have ten years left to act on climate and it is going to take mass government intervention at a world war two scale to transition off the fossil fuel economy.
A Green New Deal for Canada is exactly what this country needs right now to create millions of jobs, to advance reconciliation and true economic partnership with First Nations and for Canada to meet its Paris Climate Accord Commitments.
I, for one, am excited to work with Gazan, Ashton, Green, Kwan, and the rest of the squad of Green New Deal of MP’s to build a new economic paradigm for Canada and build an economy that is centred on Indigenous rights, that keeps fossil fuels in the ground, and that provides millions of decent jobs for everyone, leaving no worker behind.
Clayton Thomas-Müller is a member of the Treaty #6 based Mathias Colomb Cree Nation also known as Pukatawagan located in Northern Manitoba, Canada. Based in Winnipeg, Clayton is a senior campaign specialist with 350.org, media producer, organizer, facilitator, public speaker and author on Indigenous rights and environmental & economic justice.