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No honeymoon for the Liberals

Carolyn Egan

November 1, 2015

Now that there is a Liberal government in Ottawa the working class, social justice and climate movements must be relentless in their demands for change.

The Harper government was tossed out because people across the country could no longer tolerate conditions as they were. They wanted an end to the Islamophobia and racist divisions the Conservatives were sowing. They hoped for a government that recognizes the needs for climate justice and would stop the ravages of the austerity agenda.

They are not going to get that with the Trudeau Liberals. You need only look back to Paul Martin and other Liberal icons who slashed the transfer payments to the provinces that paid for health care and the social safety net, robbed the Employment Insurance fund and attacked workers. Former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau was best known for the War Measures Act, which took away the basic civil liberties of trade unionists and activists in Quebec.

Climate justice

There is no time for a honeymoon with the Liberals. The climate justice movement is leading the way with actions planned through the fall, leading up to the United Nations conference on the environment in Paris. The first event was planned before the election and was to happen no matter what party was elected, because none of them were seen to be strong enough on environmental questions.

November 5 through 8 a Climate Welcome is being planned in Ottawa. The description is “a series of gentle, civil disobedience actions…to welcome Justin Trudeau to office and call on him to work on real climate action. We know people will need to push for an urgent and drastic shift in Canada’s climate policies ahead of the Paris talks. We also know that this starts with a Prime Minister that understands that climate action and tar sands expansion don’t mix.”

The ask is that Trudeau commit to freeze the expansion of the tar sands and commit to a justice-based transition to a clean energy economy. This is to be followed up with mass demonstrations in Ottawa and across the country in conjunction with the planned march in Paris on November 29. Buses will be leaving from Toronto and other centres close to Ottawa and local actions will be taking place as well.

A world-wide climate justice movement is organizing and intends to keep up the pressure no matter the outcome of the Paris deliberations. It understands well that this is a long term struggle against governments and captains of industry across the globe whose goals are always to maximize profits, letting nothing stand in their way.

The fact that Harper is gone should fool no one that the relentless attacks on working people and the poor will stop or that the rape of the earth for its natural resources will lessen. If anyone has any doubt, the co-chair of the federal Liberal campaign made that very clear in his email to energy giants with tips on how to best lobby a new government.

Trade unions have signed on to the LEAP Manifesto, which links the fights for climate justice with the struggle against austerity. It puts forward an anti-capitalist approach highlighting an anti-racist,class perspective. Meetings are being held in every province organizing locally on the principles it espouses.

The Canadian Labour Congress has endorsed the November 29 rally. Union activists should get involved. Let the Liberal government know that there will be no honeymoon. Working people and the poor want real change and are prepared to fight for it. Lets get into the streets and show Ottawa that we are part of an international movement for climate justice. 

Sign and share the Leap Manifesto

Join the climate welcome Nov 5-8 and the 100% possible march on November 29.

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