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Defend Our Climate Rally in Courtenay to highlight environmental issues

The Courtenay Defend Our Climate, Defend Our Communities rally will take place on Sat. May 10 from 1-2 p.m. at the Fountain Plaza outside the Sid Williams Theatre - File photo
The Courtenay Defend Our Climate, Defend Our Communities rally will take place on Sat. May 10 from 1-2 p.m. at the Fountain Plaza outside the Sid Williams Theatre
— image credit: File photo

Comox Valley residents concerned about climate change and proposed pipeline, tanker and energy expansion projects in the province will rally this weekend as part of a national day of action.

The Courtenay Defend Our Climate, Defend Our Communities event will take place on Sat. May 10 from 1-2 p.m. at the Fountain Plaza outside the Sid Williams Theatre on Fifth Street. The gathering will feature music, guest speakers and community art.

Courtenay event organizer Jay Baker-French hopes for a large turnout and saying that attendees will use the rally to combine their voices on energy issues while calling for a transition to a low carbon future.

“Canada is at an energy crossroads and the government is shutting climate change out of the debate,” said Baker-French, in a press release. “Together, we’re calling on politicians to commit to cap extreme energy, reduce climate pollution and transition off fossil fuels.”

Local volunteers organized the event with support from numerous environmental and community groups like LeadNow, Sierra Club BC and the Council of Canadians.

"It's a Canada-wide day of action as we approach the federal government’s decision on the Enbridge pipeline,” saidBaker-French. “The idea is not only to show our public opposition but to demand a shift to a clean, local and just energy future.”

Organizers also want to raise awareness on recent government actions that many advocates say call into question its commitment to public and First Nations consultation and independent review processes.

Criticism and controversy continue to mount around environmental issues in B.C. These range from coal port expansions to the recent Parks Act – which opponents worry will lead to resource extraction in provincial parks – and Bill 24, which proposes major changes to the 40-year-old Agricultural Land Reserve, particularly in Northern B.C.

Local issues

In the Comox Valley, concerned citizens continue to fight the proposed Raven Coal Mine in favour of jobs in the shellfish, recreation and other industries of the North Island.

“We want to get all these issues out in open together,” said Baker-French, “so people can see how these pieces fit together into a rapid and risky resource exploitation agenda that makes no account for climate change.”

Local community organizers are convinced that B.C.’s economic development agenda can do much better.

“We want to see B.C.’s legacy as a green leader grow, not go backwards, with more investments in alternative energy, smart local supply chains, ecological protection and greener jobs for the future,” said Baker-French.

Baker-French is a BC Young Agrarian who chose organic farming in the Comox Valley as a vocation that supports his sense of social and environmental justice. Volunteering for the Defend Our Climate, Defend Our Communities day of action fit with his values and desire to help foster grassroots-driven communities.

For more information on the event, visit Courtenay Defend Our Climate, Defend Our Communities on Facebook or visit www.defendourclimate.ca.

 

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