This morning, organizers with the “Our Time” Toronto hub, a youth-led climate campaign working for a made-in-Canada Green New Deal, began a sit-in at CBC headquarters to demand that the broadcaster commit to including a series of climate questions in the federal leaders’ debate planned for October 7th.
Dozens of young activists filed into the building at 10:30 AM, singing songs and sharing personal stories about the anxiety and outrage they feel over the lack of adequate action on the climate crisis, including its impact on marginalized communities.
“We’re here demanding that the climate and a Green New Deal be a part of the federal leaders’ debate on October 7th,” said Dubinia Nieforth, an organizer with Our Time Toronto and Climate Justice TO, in a brief conversation with me. “Young people are on the generational front lines of this crisis due to the decades of inaction. We want to know from whoever our federal leader will be: what’s your plan to solve the crisis youth face, and what will they do to bring us to the solution we need – a Green New Deal.”
The action was designed to draw attention to the four key demands of Our Time Toronto and Climate Justice TO, including a demand to meet with Jennifer McGuire (Editor-in-Chief of the CBC); for CBC to host a “Climate Emergency Townhall” in English; to read the questions that Our Time submitted for the October 7th debate; and to commit the CBC to joining “Covering Climate Now“, a global coalition of news publications committed to adequately covering the climate crisis.
It’s the eve of the Global Climate Strike in TO. @jmcguirecbc @CBC we demand that you act NOW: 1) Meet with us, 2) host a climate town hall with federal leaders, 3) read our questions at the Oct 7th debate, & 4) join Covering Climate Now. #OurTime2019https://t.co/52wl70fvt6 pic.twitter.com/tkteu7zTBE
— Climate Justice Toronto (@CJusticeTO) September 26, 2019
Today’s action is just the latest push for the CBC to prioritize climate change in its approach to the leaders’ debates. Nieforth explained that “last month, we submitted over 50,000 signatures demanding a federal leaders debate on the climate crisis and a Green New Deal to the CBC. A few days ago we rallied outside the [Maclean’s and Citytv] debate, telling our leaders we need to talk about the climate crisis, and all we got was 22 weak minutes. Last week we submitted questions that need to be included in the October 7th debate about the climate, to ensure that no matter what category, the climate and the Green New Deal is at the forefront.”
Ahead of the sit-in, organizers sent a letter to Editor-in-Chief McGuire, explaining their demands, and their disappointment that McGuire had previously ignored them and more than 50,000 messages calling for the CBC to host a climate debate. The sit-in continued as of 12 PM today.
Full disclosure: I also participated in the first segments of the sit-in action, as the scale of the crisis has made it unethical to stay on the sidelines and simply report.