Calgarians rally for action on climate change in nation-wide protest

Calgarians gathered Wednesday rallying for climate action, taking aim at lackluster response from all levels of government. Organizers say it was one of 32 rallies happening across Canada. Jillian Code reports.

Dozens of Calgarians gathered Wednesday to call attention to what they feel is a lack of response from all levels of government on fighting climate change.

At least 30 people protested in front of Liberal MP George Chahal’s office in northeast Prairie Winds Park as one of 32 protests across the country to mark a national day of climate action aimed at the federal government.

However, the protestors say they feel all levels of government have been lacklustre in their response to the climate crisis and in energy transition.

“We need renewable energy. We need our lives, our homes, our cities, to be powered by renewable energy like solar and wind power,” said Daniel Smithie, the volunteer coordinator with the Calgary Climate Hub.

“These are the things that are going to make real steps towards fighting and stopping climate change.”

They said they sent Chahal letters and phone calls, asking him to join, but the MP did not.

“When I wrote mine, I spoke from the heart. I told him that we really wanna work with him,” said Sheila Tousignant, who is a member of the Council of Canadians (COC). It is an organization that started in 1985 with goals that include “more and better jobs for Canadians, a higher standard of living for Canadians, and a sovereign Canada that plays an important role among the world community of nations.”

“We can’t wait around for twenty years and then do something. It will be too late.”

Chahal’s office told CityNews that while the MP couldn’t personally attend the event, he has received the letters the rally-goers left.

Sheila Tousignant, who is a member of the Council of Canadians, speaks with CityNews outside Liberal MP George Chahal's office in northeast Calgary

Sheila Tousignant, who is a member of the Council of Canadians, speaks with CityNews outside Liberal MP George Chahal’s office in northeast Calgary on Wednesday, June 28, 2023. (Jillian Code, CityNews image)

In a province where oil and gas have reigned king for decades, ralliers felt both leaders in Alberta’s recent election missed the mark in not supporting change.

“From the two parties who could’ve got elected, neither one of them could support a just transition from the federal level,” Steve Bentley, a member of the Calgary Climate Hub, told those at the rally.

“Both of them found reasons to insult it.”

Meanwhile, in a statement to CityNews, the province says Alberta is a global leader in reducing emissions within the energy industry.

“Alberta will continue to drive the way forward with practical solutions that reduce emissions, create jobs, drive innovation, and keep energy affordable,” said the office of the Minister of Energy and Minerals.

“Already, Alberta’s largest oil sands producers are on track to be net zero emissions from production by 2050.”

Those in attendance say action needs to happen quicker.

Parts of Canada experiencing wildfires, increased heat, increased smoke

The nationwide protests happened as Environment and Climate Change Canada issued heat warnings for Calgary and parts of Alberta.

In addition, parts of eastern Canada are blanketed in smoke, with most of Toronto reaching the highest level on Ontario’s air quality index.

This comes as wildfires continue to scorch Alberta and parts of Quebec and Ontario, leaving smoke-free summers as something only recalled in memory.

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“My children don’t get that experience, and chances are, they probably won’t,” Smithie said.

“Unless the government acts to make real bold changes and make a better life for everyone in Calgary, Alberta, and in Canada.”

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