On June 28, 2023, there was a National Day of Action, using the moment of increasing wildfires across Canada and the smoke filling the air of places many kilometres away, including the United States, to highlight the Climate Crisis. In Toronto, Pax Christi Toronto members were present at two rallies which took place at the offices of Julie Dabrusin MP and Chrystia Freeland MP.
Several environmental groups – Fridays for Future, Environmental Defence, ClimateFast, etc – organized these Rallies to call on the Canadian government to stop subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, and to work seriously for a just transition to renewable energy.
For Pax Christi, the continuing mining and use of fossil fuels is a violence to the Earth. Government subsidies to support this industry also represent a feeding of this violence. The destruction to the Earth through irresponsible mining, pollution of the air which leads to illness, rapidly rising temperatures leading to immense dryness causing the conditions for fire eruptions, loss of precious forests, and killing and displacement of wildlife, further risk to health from smoke, instability and losses which can lead to conflict and war, are all expressions of violence and its consequences which must stop!
There were large turnouts of concerned citizens at both Rallies despite the significant smoke filling the skies of Toronto. Organizers took care to keep the Rally to an hour to mitigate the risk to health. However, they saw a great need for politicians and all citizens of Canada to realize the life-threatening danger of this deteriorating Climate Crisis. Bold new policies are immediately needed!
The Canadian government has been promising some reduction in subsidies to fossil fuel industries for some time. While it is not possible to know for certain whether the National Day of Action had an impact, on July 30, 2023 Steven Guilbeault, Canada’s Minister for the Environment and Climate Change, did release a Framework for the Ending of Inefficient Fossil Fuel Subsidies. A description of this Statement and Framework may be found in this article.
Although there is hope for real change, environmental groups are calling for careful attention and repair of all the loopholes in the Framework which could allow the Fossil-Fuel Industry to continue harmful practices.
Pax Christi Toronto is monitoring closely these developments, in partnership with environmental groups and concerned peace and justice groups. We will respond as needed.