Federal parties must do more on climate issues

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As the federal election nears the home stretch, a group of local climate change activists gathered on the shores of Windsor on Wednesday hoping to amplify their message that Canada is burning while political leaders of the country play the violin.

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The rally was part of a national effort organized Wednesday by environmental group 350 Canada, which is calling for an end to the use of fossil fuels.

“(The aim is) to draw attention to the fact that Canada is still on fire,” said Jana Jandal Alrifai, co-founder of the local chapter of Fridays For Future and vice-president of the Windsor Essex Youth Climate Council.

“We are in the middle of an election and we must push candidates and politicians to make a transition and more radical and fairer policies.

“We need to stop the expansion of fossil fuels and we need to work to get a fair, equitable and green economy and transition to that economy.”

The gathering of nearly 30 people learned that despite promises to cut Canada’s emissions in line with the Paris Climate Accord, the country is actually heading in the opposite direction.

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Climate activists demonstrate along the river to demand more be done on climate change as we head towards a federal election, Wednesday, September 8, 2021.
Climate activists demonstrate along the river to demand more be done on climate change as we head towards a federal election, Wednesday, September 8, 2021. Photo by Dax Melmer /Windsor Star

It sparked a chant of “People, Planet on Profits.”

Alrifai said it was time to replace good intentions and articulate rhetoric with action.

“I want them to promise radical change, not just to solve the crisis, but all the intersectionalities that come with it,” Alrifai said.

“I want them to recognize that real action would stop fossil fuels, things that are destroying our Earth. We need to build systems to ensure the climate crisis doesn’t happen again.

Climate activists demonstrate along the river to demand more be done on climate change as we head towards a federal election, Wednesday, September 8, 2021.
Climate activists demonstrate along the river to demand more be done on climate change as we head towards a federal election, Wednesday, September 8, 2021. Photo by Dax Melmer /Windsor Star

“It can’t be fair, I’ll give you subsidies for batteries or cars. you have to be radical. It has to be systemic and it has to happen now.

With the French and English Federal Leaders’ Debates taking place this week, Alrifai hopes to see the issue of climate change start to take a higher place on the agenda.

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She added that citizens can do their part by voting with the climate in mind and discussing the issue with candidates.

“It might be a tough transition, but with the right politics and the right politicians, we can have a seamless transition and we’ll end up in a better place than we are now,” Alrifai said.

“I hope that when voters walk into the voting booth and when they talk to their candidates, they have the climate crisis at the forefront (of their minds).”

Climate activists demonstrate along the river to demand more be done on climate change as we head towards a federal election, Wednesday, September 8, 2021.
Climate activists demonstrate along the river to demand more be done on climate change as we head towards a federal election, Wednesday, September 8, 2021. Photo by Dax Melmer /Windsor Star

Alrifai added that politicians need to be reminded that solving the climate crisis will have a ripple effect that will lead to solutions to a host of other social problems.

“I think generally speaking the solution to the climate crisis is the solution to all the other inequalities that we seek to dismantle and the capitalist and colonial systems that we have now,” Alrifai said.

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“A just transition will make our lives better. Those most affected by inequality will have better opportunities and they are the people most affected by climate change.

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Teresa H. Sadler