There were a lot of messages from the mouths of marchers young and old, and on a sea of signs during Friday’s climate-change strike, march and protest in St. John’s.
Most related to the need for action to combat the climate crisis and that governments are not doing enough.
On the steps of the Confederation Building facing the mass of people gathered, federal politicians embroiled in an election campaign addressed the crowd to different levels of reaction.
“What’s the plan?” the crowd shouted.
St. John’s East NDP candidate Jack Harris: “I want to thank you. Not only the young people here in Newfoundland and Labrador, but young people all over the world who have done this to draw attention and force reconciliation and an encounter with government officials to make sure that they do listen. Thank you for the leadership you’ve shown here today and the thousands of people you’ve brought along with you. That’s something that’s very important. We have a government that came into office four years ago, who adopted Harper’s climate goals and hasn’t even put in place policies to keep them. We’re not happy about that. I want to assure you that the New Democratic Party is fully committed to the 1.5-degree limit on the growth in world temperature. That has to happen and we have aggressive policies in place to assure we will get there. There’s lots in our platform that underscores that. I want to assure you of this: we along with you demand that we must have climate justice. We must have also a just transition to a carbon-free economy.”
Avalon Green Party candidate Greg Malone: “I am here because of you. I was waiting for someone younger and someone smarter, but no that’s not good enough. Everyone, old and young, has to do everything they can to combat the climate crisis, that’s the bottom line. That’s why I decided to run for the Green Party with Elizabeth May, because the Green Party puts the climate crisis on the top of their agenda. You know that’s the number one issue for Greens globally, worldwide. The Green party gets it. and the Green Party does not take corporate money so they are free to act on the climate crisis. You know, and I know, with every cell of our body that this is the time to act. We know that we’ve left it too long already. We were trying to keep the temperature (increase) below 1.5. We’re not going to do that. It’s going to go up to 1.5. But it cannot go up to two degrees, because that is climate chaos. The Greens have a plan for that nationally, provincially, globally.”
St John’s East Liberal incumbent Nick Whalen: “Our party brought in the 1.5 degrees by signing the Paris Accord. Our party brought in a price on pollution so pollution won’t be free. I have fought my whole life, since 1990, since the first report came out that said the two-degree rise and what would happen, and here we are now with a party that has fought for you for four years and done so much. What are we going to do in the future? We’re going to renovate 1.5 million houses, we are committed to net zero by 2050. We are committed to protecting 30 per cent of our oceans and 30 per cent of our land. We have a plan that’s going to work, but only together. Pick up a rope and keep pulling. The choice is clear. If you don’t vote Liberal in this election, you won’t get the change you want. Vote for us, help us achieve it, push us, but push with us.”
St. John’s South-Mount Pearl Conservative Terry Martin: “I was here protesting like you guys 40 years ago, we had a very bad tragedy when I was living in residence at the university, and we had this many people out and protested together and we had the skywalks built. I know when we work together there are a lot of things we can get done. I don’t even think a lot of the solutions have been found yet. I think a lot of the solutions are going to come from you guys. I think working collectively, we’ll be able to find the answers. There are so many things we can do, but we have to listen first. It’s the first time in our lives that all of us of all different ages are on the same page. A Conservative government would understand that and we would get there.”