Amidst what experts consider the worst wildfire season in Canadian history, protesters in downtown Nanaimo demanded action and accountability from elected officials and the fossil fuel industry.
People rallied across the country on Wednesday, June 28, as part of a national day of action, seeking remedies for the climate crisis. At a rally in downtown Nanaimo, protesters presented a letter to Lisa Marie Barron, Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP.
Kevin Lindsay, event co-organizer, said action will be required from both politicians and the industry.
“I think it’s going to take our elected officials to actually make that happen,” he said. “There are a lot of activities we’d like to see cease around subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, really getting serious about emission capping and doing something to really, truly bring about the just transition to cleaner energy [and] jobs.”
Lindsay said the group hopes the Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP can push to stop any new fossil fuel and fracking projects and pipeline support, while Barron told protesters her philosophies align with theirs.
“I am in this fight with you every step of the way, standing up in Parliament, demanding action from the Liberals … We’re all seeing the impacts all around us, we’re seeing the forest fires, the flooding, the heat domes,” said Barron. “I’m a mother of two, I know many of you are mothers. This is not just impacting us today, but I am extremely frightened for generations to come. We no longer have time to wait.”
Smoke from East Coast wildfires led to some of the Wednesday’s rallies being cancelled, including one that had been planned in Ottawa, according to Lindsay.
There are events happening in many cities across the country, unfortunately in a couple of places there ironically being cancelled because of horrible air quality because of the fires, it’s a shame,” he said. “We’re going to be louder … make sure their voices get heard here in Nanaimo too.”