On Sunday September 11, hundreds of people gathered at Queen’s Park, Toronto to show support to the seven brave youth who are leading the climate lawsuit, Mathur et. al. v. Her Majesty in Right of Ontario which is in court this week. For Our Kids stepped up to act as intervenors for the case, demonstrating that parents support young people in this fight. Brianne Whyte and other members of For Our Kids Toronto presented them with a card expressing our gratitude, signed by over 150 For Our Kids members across Canada.
“Thank you for the countless hours, the mental energy, for carrying this heavy emotional burden, and for fighting on behalf of us all. We are deeply grateful to you and inspired by you, as well as heart broken and furious that you have to be here at all, that it has come to this” said Brianne.
This case began in 2019, when the group of young people launched a lawsuit in response to changes the Ford government made to weaken Ontario’s carbon emissions reductions targets. Three years later, this September 12-14, they are finally getting their days in court. The case is historic because it is the first time a Canadian court will consider whether climate inaction violates charter rights.
The seven applicants are Sophia Mathur, 15, Shelby Gagnon, 26, Alex Neufeldt, 26, Shaelyn Wabegijig, 25, Zoë Keary-Matzner, 15, Madison Dyck, 26, and Beze Gray, 27. They are supported by lawyers at EcoJustice and Stockwoods LLP.
The court case can be viewed here.
This week, a group of For Our Kids parents from teams in Vancouver, the North Shore and Burnaby met with Jonathan Wilkinson, the Minister of Natural Resources of Canada. We were following up on a letter we sent him back in April, expressing our concern over Canada’s continual investment into the oil and gas industry and new exploration projects.
We had the opportunity to ask some questions about the continued support of TMX, the contradictions against statements from the UN and IEA, the lack of investment in clean energy alternatives and the urgent need to stop exporting thermal coal. Wilkinson referred to Canada’s Emission Reduction Plan as our best response.
We talked about Just Transition action and he mentioned two files in BC; hydrogen fuel development and electric vehicle essential minerals mine development, which will bring new jobs. He also stressed the essential need to reduce/eliminate fossil fuel demand and consumption in all aspects, industrial and domestic. For consumers, buildings and transportation are the priorities, noting they are looking at the need to work with the provinces to develop programs to retrofit millions of homes and buildings.
We also presented a more poignant question around our concerns for people's mental health with increasing levels of anxiety and clinical depression, particularly for youth who feel abandoned by their government. He recognized those were ‘reasonable concerns’ and felt that the response should be that we keep moving forward with the plans already in place.
It was great to meet with Minister Wilkinson, he has always been supportive of our teams and willing to meet with us. It can be difficult though for parents to meet with their elected officials when they rarely deviate from the political agenda. We are clearly moving into a time of increasingly dangerous climate change impacts which require a more urgent response, and it can be disheartening when we don’t feel our concerns are being validated. But it is still important for us to keep communicating as constituents, to keep holding our elected officials accountable and to keep speaking up for our kids.
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Concerned about climate change and our kids? Have you just joined the For Our Kids network and wonder what's next?
Join our welcome call. They're a great opportunity to meet other parents, guardians, grandparents and caregivers new to the network. We'll provide a virtual circle for you to share your climate concerns, find support and ideas for climate justice action. We aim to make them the last Tuesday of every month, so mark your calendar.**
Upcoming Welcome Calls:
Tuesday, November 29th @ 4pm PT/ 7pm ET
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**If this time won't work for you, let us know and we'll arrange an alternative date. Email: [email protected]