-Jocelyn Wabano Iahtail in Ottawa
Across Canada, hundreds of thousands of people, mainly students, marched on their legislatures and in the streets to demand climate action.
Here is a wrap up of what went on across the country Friday as part of the burgeoning global youth-led school climate strike.
(A half million people took to the streets of Montreal for the climate strike march. Photo: Robbie Purdon/APTN)
Huge and Beautiful, that’s how some described Montreal’s march.
Estimates put the crowd at more than 500,00 people.
But that’s no surprise – everyone knew it was going to be big.
Liberal leader Justin Trudeau made sure he was in Montreal for the march, so did Green Party Leader Elizabeth May and Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-Francois Blanchet. Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer took a pass and was in Vancouver.
Indigenous leaders from the Assembly of First Nations joined in, including National Chief Perry Bellegarde, Quebec and Labrador Regional Chief Ghislain Picard, Yukon Regional Chief Kluane Adamek, Manitoba Regional Chief Kevin Hart, and Alberta Regional Chief Marlene Poitras.
Dignitaries included David Suzuki and international Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg.
Indigenous youth played a large role in Montreal’s march.
APTN’s Lindsay Richardson filed this report from Montreal.
(Barriere Lake Elder Monique Manatch addresses the thousands of people, mainly students on Parliament Hill Friday. Photo: Mark Blackburn/APTN)
-senior at the rally in Ottawa.
Parliament Hill is no stranger to protests and rallies.
But what happened Friday was something that hasn’t occurred in sometime.
While dwarfed by Montreal’s rally, more than 5,000 people, mainly students holding signs admonishing the government, and adults for not doing enough about climate change, cheered, chanted and raised their fists in the air.
APTN’s Todd Lamirande was on the Hill and files this report.
Unceded Algonquin Territory
(The speeches in Ottawa started with an acknowledgement that the rally, and Parliament Hill were on unceded Algonquin Territory. Photo: Mark Blackburn/APTN)
And before the speeches started, Jocelyn Wabano Iahtail walked through the crowd offering to smudge the thousands who were there.
Here is her message to the people gathered.
Climate Strike Canada, a network of students, young people and activists spearheading the marches, put out a list of demands. They include:
Adopt and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in full.
Protection of most affected groups.
Recognize Canada’s disproportionate role in the climate crisis.
Transition to renewable energy and sustainable transportation infrastructure, while guaranteeing opportunity for fossil fuel workers in the new economy.
Enshrine in law the fundamental right to a healthy environment.
Conservation of biodiversity.
Maintain and protect old growth forests, restore cutblocks, reduce habitat fragmentation, and strengthen the protection of at-risk species.
Reject all new fossil fuel extraction or transportation projects, eliminate fossil fuel subsidies, and price pollution.
Bold greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets.
Legislate net greenhouse gas emission reductions of 75 per cent over 2005 levels by 2030.
(“There’s lots of plastic killing animals,” says Anika Qaunirq-Hodgson as she marches in Iqaluit.. Photo: Kent Driscoll/APTN)
Northern communities are disproportionately affected by climate change.
Glaciers are receding, and summer sea ice is making way for open waters.
In 2050, Canada expects that the very tip of Nunavut will have the last bit of summer ice on the planet.
Iqaluit residents are not shy about showing their feelings and Friday was no exception. People walked with signs and talked about the need for change.
APTN’s Kent Driscoll is in Iqaluit and filed this story.
Inuit Circumpolar Council of Canada
This week the International Panel on Climate Change released a special report on the state of the oceans and cryosphere — meaning all frozen parts of the earth.
The findings are frightening, particularly in the north.
(Tables were set up in Iqaluit for people to make signs for the Climate Strike march. Photo: Kent Driscoll/APTN)
As carbon concentrations rise, the oceans are becoming more acidic and absorbing more heat.
Threatening the safety and way of life of Inuit.
Monica ell-kanayuk is president of the Inuit Circumpolar Council Canada.
Indigenous teachings are seen as a way forward for the climate issues the world is facing.
Many say these climate strikes will continue until the leaders of the world act.
Here are the Ottawa River Singers featuring Brady Picody, his son Sage and Isaac Hanson.
The group performed on Parliament Hill Friday.