Another round of climate protests is planned this Friday across Canada and the world. Here’s what you need to know about the strikes.
What are the strikes about?
The strikes are in protest of climate change and what protestors say is the lack of action being done against it. This Friday will mark the second global climate strike; the first was Sept. 20.
This second strike comes after the United Nations held an emergency climate summit on Sept. 23.
At the summit, 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg gave a rousing speech in which she communicated the anger of youth who will have to live with the consequences of climate change if more action is not taken.
“I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you,” she said. “You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.”
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Thunberg began the movement #FridaysForFuture, in which she sat in front of the Swedish parliament every schoolday for three weeks, then every Friday, demanding new policies towards climate change. #FridaysForFuture inspired the global strikes.
Thunberg has accused nations of not doing enough to tackle climate change, saying there is only a 50 per cent chance of meeting the global goal of limiting warming to 0.4 C, even with the strictest emissions cuts.
Who is taking part in the strike?
Strike will take place in cities and towns across Canada, including Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary, Regina, Edmonton, St. John’s, Halifax, Montreal and Toronto.
According to the Fridays for Future website, close to 250 strikes are planned across Canada for Friday.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May will be in Montreal for the protest, alongside Thunberg.
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Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer will not be taking part in “any climate event,” according to a party spokesperson.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh will be at a climate change march in Victoria, B.C.
The Montreal rally is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of protesters. Public transit across Greater Montreal will be free on Friday in support of the march, and Thunberg has been invited to city hall to receive a key to the city from the mayor.
Major crowds are expected in other parts of Canada.
According to the Chronicle Herald, around 3,000 people are expected in Halifax, where a die-in is planned at Nova Scotia Power.
Toronto will see a march, a rally at Queen’s Park, musical performances, and a moment of silence for those who have lost their lives to climate change, according to the Facebook event.
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Thousands are expected in downtown Vancouver, with Vancouver Sustainabiliteens organizer Samantha Lin saying she hopes 15,000 or more people turn out to Vancouver City Hall at 1 p.m. for the rally and march across the Cambie Street Bridge.
Manitoba will have a rally, march, a large-scale art installation, as well as live speakers and performances.
At least 860 cities around the world have demonstrations planned for Friday, according to several activist groups.
Will students be allowed to skip school?
The strike is a youth-led movement, so many of the strikers will be students.
Accordingly, many schools across the country have cancelled classes so students can attend the rallies.
In Montreal, Concordia University is cancelling classes Friday afternoon, while McGill University will not.
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Quebec’s largest school board, the Commission scolaire de Montréal (CSDM), will also be cancelling classes for its elementary and high school students, and turning Friday into a pedagogical (PED) day. Some CEGEP schools will also be cancelling classes for the day, and some CEGEP teachers unions will also strike.
The Toronto District School Board has required students to get their parents’ permission to skip class, and has asked teachers for there not to be any tests or assignments on Friday.
Dalhousie University in Halifax will allow its students to leave for the day.
Winnipeg School Division said it recognizes students’ right to take part in the protest, but regular classes will still take place.
Emily Carr University in Vancouver and the Vancouver Film School will be closed for the strike. The University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University and Langara College will not cancel classes, but their presidents did encourage students who wish to participate to speak with their instructors.
Vancouver and Surrey’s school districts say they will allow students to miss class for the event with parental permission. The two districts represent about 130,000 students in total.
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While the strikes are youth-led, adults are also encouraged to participate to “disrupt business as usual,” according to the Global Climate Strike website.
Will businesses be closed?
Both Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) and Lush Cosmetics have said they will close all of their stores on Friday in support of the climate strikes.
MEC’s stores will be closed until 5 p.m. PST to “support staff who choose to lend their voice to the movement.”
Lush Cosmetics will be shutting down its entire operation, including shops, head office, website and manufacturing in Toronto and Vancouver.
In addition, Indigo Books & Music said employees in offices in Toronto and Montreal will be allowed to attend the strikes, and Patagonia said it will be pausing its operations.
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How to participate
A map is provided on Global Climate Strike’s website and the Fridays for Future website of all the locations the strikes will take place. Individual Facebook events also exist for many of the strikes with details of the schedule.
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