Regina rally calls for federal party leaders to make climate change action a top priority ahead of election

People attending a rally in downtown Regina on Wednesday demanded federal party leaders make climate change action a priority. (Matthew Howard/CBC - image credit)
People attending a rally in downtown Regina on Wednesday demanded federal party leaders make climate change action a priority. (Matthew Howard/CBC - image credit)

Michelle Brass says she no longer wants promises from politicians about addressing climate change. She's looking for "real commitment to real action starting immediately."

Brass was one of about 100 people who gathered in downtown Regina on Wednesday to call on federal leaders to make climate change action a top priority heading into the election.

The rally was one of about 60 that were scheduled to take place around the country ahead of the leaders debates.

People from several groups including Fridays for Future, Regina EnviroCollective and Indigenous Climate Action spoke at the event in Regina.

Brass, who's part of Indigenous Climate Action and was one of the speakers, told CBC News she wants a detailed plan on how leaders would address climate change in a variety of sectors.

"We need to be hearing about how we make decisions when it comes to addressing the climate crisis through our economy, through our education, through health care, through environmental protections, through all areas of life," she said.

"We can't have incremental change. What is required right now is a comprehensive plan that impacts all facets of life, and no effective climate policy or action can be effective if it doesn't encapsulate all elements of life in society, because it requires such drastic change."

Matt Howard/CBC
Matt Howard/CBC

Another emphasis of the rally was to stop fossil fuel expansion and have a robust plan to transition to renewable energy.

Josh Campbell, a member of Regina Energy Transition and Wascana Solar Co-operative who also spoke at the event, said any plan needs to support people who work in the fossil fuel industry while ensuring everyone has access to renewable energy.

"It's important for us to think about the workers and the people who are in industry and need to change industries and — at the same time — consider folks who might be left behind in an energy transition," he said.

"Some of these renewables are costly and so government needs to support programs that will help everyone transition."

In the meantime, Campbell said one way to cut down on emissions and help lower income people is for the city to provide fare-free public transit.

Brass, agreed that a plan needs to support fossil fuel workers during the transition, but also said there needs to be an emphasis on Indigenous sovereignty and land protection, which she said often comes as an afterthought.

"When we're looking at how we restructure society… that must always include indigenous sovereignty and the way we operate our lands and territories."

The French-language leaders' debate is scheduled for 6 p.m. CST on Wednesday, while the English-language debate is set to begin at 7 p.m. CST on Thursday.

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