Dozens of sign-wielding citizens showed up at Comox Marina Park Wednesday night, demanding a televised leaders’ debate on the climate crisis. Photo by Mike Chouinard

Comox Valley residents demand a televised debate on climate crisis

Rally held at Comox Marina Park Wednesday

The organizer of a rally held Wednesday evening at Marina Park in Comox to demand a federal leaders’ debate on climate change estimates between 75 and 100 activists showed up at the event.

“I was trying to eyeball it (crowd) and I would say that’s not an exaggeration,” said Comox Valley Nurses for Health & the Environment (CVNHE) co-ordinator Helen Boyd. “I was very happy – delighted – with the turnout.”

CVNHE was the organization behind the Comox Change the Debate event.

“It [was] a nationwide event along with the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE) with a real request for the CBC as our national broadcaster to host a special debate on climate change and a Green New Deal for the October election,” said Helen Boyd.

Boyd said the strength of the speakers was what made her rally so successful.

“We had four great speakers,” she said. “We had a representative from Youth Environmental Action [Nalan Goosen]… We also invited the Comox Valley Unitarian Fellowship justice committee to speak. Celia Laval spoke and they were part of the delegation to Courtenay council asking for a declaration of climate crisis in Courtenay. Eventually it got through all the municipalities and the regional district as well.”

Being a non-partisan event, Boyd had also extended an invitation to all the federal political parties. North Island-Powell River NDP MP Rachel Blaney, and Green Party candidate Mark de Bruin were on hand, and spoke at the rally.

Dr. Alex Nataros, representing CAPE, also addressed the crowd.

Boyd said having Goosen there representing youth was particularly important, as the request for the national debate on climate change comes from a movement called Our Time.

RELATED: Courtenay student strike draws 300 to city hall

“I’m delighted because this cohort (Our Time) they are younger, so it gives them a lot of time to be involved in such movements, and to push for climate change, which they are very concerned about,” said Boyd.

According to the website ( Our Time is “a national campaign led by young people and millennials who are championing a vision for a Green New Deal for Canada.”

The timing of the event Wednesday coincided with the six o’clock news, to send a message to the public broadcaster that they have both the power to organize a federal leaders’ debate and a responsibility to listen to Canadians.

In communities such as Victoria and Vancouver where CBC studios exist, citizens protested outside the doors of the studio.

As the Comox Valley does not have a studio, Boyd said the event served as a photo opportunity. She plans on sending the picture to the CBC as another request.

-with files from Erin Haluschak

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Organizers Helen Boyd and Dr. Alex Nataros speak at a rally at Comox Marina Park Wednesday night, demanding a televised leaders’ debate on the climate crisis. Photo by Mike Chouinard

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