TORONTO, July 6, 2015 /CNW/ - A diverse crowd of 10,000 Canadians took to the streets today for a historic march through Toronto, calling on the country's leaders to embrace an economic agenda that prioritizes jobs, justice, and our climate. Among the marchers were students, workers from national labor unions, First Nations representatives, and high-profile public figures including Bill McKibben, Naomi Klein, and Jane Fonda. Organizers reached their estimate by stationing spotters on rooftops along the march route, counting sections of the passing crowd.
Jennifer Henry, Executive Director of KAIROS said: "Jobs, Justice, Climate -- these are not just issues but the intersecting moral and ethical challenge of our time."
Four different contingents in the march visually depicted what Canada's new economy should look like. That economy "starts with justice" for Indigenous peoples and those most impacted, creates "good work, clean jobs and healthy communities", recognizes that "we have solutions" and shows "we know who is responsible" for causing the climate crisis.
Angel Reyes, Workers Action Centre said: "We need to respect the environment and the workers who do the labour to take care of our environment. As one of those workers, I need decent work and wages – right now our work is not healthy and we have little protection. This has to change."
Nigel Barriffe, a school teacher in Rexdale, a member of the Good Jobs for All Coalition and Board Chair of Toronto's Urban Alliance on Race Relations said: "Communities affected by poverty and racialized communities are among the first to be negatively affected by climate change. Residents of Toronto's inner suburbs, including those living in community housing, endured extended power outages during the recent ice storms."
Melina Laboucan-Massimo, member of the Lubicon Cree (a tar sands-affected community), Greenpeace Canada campaigner and 350.org board member said: "Even in the heart of the tar sands, we see communities building the new energy economy we need by implementing solar solutions. Our communities can no longer be written off as sacrifice zones. We are showing how everyone and every roof can be a part of the solution to our economic and climate crises."
Anastasia Harripaul, Registered Nurse said: "As a registered nurse, the damage being done to the global climate has and will continue to have a profound effect on global health - it is a matter of environmental and social justice. Of concern, vulnerable populations will be the most affected by climate change – the homeless, the indigenous people, those with inadequate housing, and individuals living in coastal regions. Decisive political leadership to tackle climate change is overdue and urgent – I will continue to support RNAO as my professional association in advocating for the public on this critical and devastating human challenge."
John Clarke, of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty said: "We support this march because the poor and homeless have the fewest options of anyone in the face of climate change and it's obvious that a society that creates wealth but accepts poverty will not make the just and rational choices needed to avert impending climate disaster."
Myeengun Henry, Chippewas of the Thames Band councillor said: "Chippewas of the Thames First Nation has been seeking consultation from Canada, they can't pass this responsibility off to a third party called the National Energy Board to approve pipeline projects in our territory."
SOURCE Jobs, Justice and the Climate March