Dreaming big about our future

I joined a Green New Deal town hall by the heart of the tar sands. Join on near you. r1

Dear friends,

I spent last Saturday afternoon in a community centre in Edmonton with over 250 people in my community who had gathered for our local Green New Deal town hall.

People of all ages and backgrounds filled the room to dream big about what our future could look like. We talked about the need for guaranteed good work, universal social services, and the importance of Indigenous self-determination for restoring and reclaiming the land.

The Edmonton town hall was the first of hundreds of town halls taking place from coast to coast to coast over the next few weeks. Join a town hall closest to you here.

The room on Saturday was overflowing with people... eager to talk about solutions to climate change and inequality. We had to bust out every table in the building and even run over to the public library to borrow more chairs to accommodate everyone. It was a demonstration that even so close to the heart of the tar sands, people are eager to imagine a better world.

My friend Stephen, a journeyman machinist who works in the oil industry, spoke about the need for a just transition that supports him and his fellow workers. Our fellow organizer , Batul, spoke about her fear that her young niece may never be able to return to visit her family’s home of Pemba Island if politicians fail to act on climate change and leave it to rising sea levels. And Nigel, a young Indigenous organizer with the Beaver Hills Warriors talked about how his elders are no longer able to pick berries on their traditional territories because of fossil fuel companies denying his community access to their own traditional lands.

We especially focused on how, in Alberta, we're losing ground to politicians seeking to fill the pockets of Big Oil while dividing ordinary people like us using racism, homophobia, and xenophobia. We know that the only way to win against these political forces is by putting forward a bold, inspiring vision for the future that responds to widespread economic anxiety with hope instead of fear.

We know that the climate crisis is here. We know that if we have any hope of fighting it, we need to completely transform our economy. And that’s exactly what a Green New Deal strives to accomplish. Yesterday, people in Toronto, Calgary, and a number of other towns gathered for town halls in their communities. I hope you will join this movement as well. Sign up to join the town hall in your community.

With hope and resolve,


PS - One of my favourite moments at the town hall in Edmonton was when we sang an adapted version of the song "Which Side Are You On". This song was written by Florence Reece during the 1931 Harlan County Coal strikes. Florence was a poet and activist. Her husband was a union organizer. Florence wrote the song on a night when anti-union gunmen employed by the coal companies raided their home. She angrily ripped off the back page of a calendar and wrote down the words that would carry on in protests for generations. Watch our facebook live video to listen to us singing with adapted lyrics responding to the Liberal government's latest hand-outs to fossil fuel companies: "When Loblaws and Kinder Morgan / came knocking at your door / you gave them 5 billion dollars / does it weigh on you at all?”

Photo Credit: Abdul Malik

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