Protests Are More Important Now Than Ever Before

Photo: Noah Vaton

As the days get warmer and longer, the Quebec spirit of activism begins to awaken. On March 19th, hundreds gathered in Montreal and Quebec City, calling for climate and social justice. This year’s protest rallied fewer participants, but given the pandemic, the turnout was impressive and needed.

The event took place on World Climate Mobilization Day. In Montreal, it began with a rally in front of the George-Étienne Cartier monument in Le Plateau-Mont-Royal at 3:30 p.m. Following various organizer speeches, demonstrators took to the streets and marched down Parc Avenue and throughout the downtown core.

Police presence at the protest sparked chants against the Montreal Police (SVPM) as police brutality was one of the causes of the protest.
Photo: Noah Vaton

The march ended in front of the Hydro Quebec building. According to Green Party of Quebec sources, François Legault may dam new rivers to increase Hydro exports. This is likely the reason for the building being the endpoint of the march.

A coalition of student groups organized the demonstration; the Student Coalition for an Environmental and Social Shift ( CEVES ), The Racial Justice Collective, Debout pour la Dignité, Solidarity without Borders, Climate Justice Montreal, Extinction Rebellion Youth Quebec (XR Youth Quebec), and Mashk Assi Collective.

This diverse group illustrates the effectiveness of intersectional movements. According to Dounia Loufa of the Green Party of Quebec, who spoke to Global Green News, they “bridge the gap between two interrelated causes”. These movements can also gather more support from a wider following and work collaboratively to create needed change.

Call For Change

In speaking with Global Green News, party member Dounia Loufa noted the pandemic intensified social issues more than ever. This intensification highlights the need for social activism and demonstrations. Regardless of the form activism takes place, the pandemic cannot slow progress.

Furthermore, she noted the pandemic temporarily decreased consumption patterns at its onset, but this decrease was not permanent. Thus, speaking out is more important now than ever.

“It is therefore important for us to protest in times of pandemic to make our voice heard and awaken the consciences of our leaders.”

Dounia Loufa to Global Green News

A representative of the CEVES group reported to Global Green News that the four main demands of the protest were as follows:

Demonstrator’s Demands of the Government

  1. Carbon Neutrality by 2030
  2. The recognition and promotion of the full ancestral sovereignty of First Peoples and the protection of Mother Earth
  3. The regularization of all migrants and refugees in Canada and Quebec
  4. The defunding, demilitarization and decolonization of all police forces

Image Source: Noah Vaton

For those wishing to take action but don’t feel comfortable participating in protests, Loufa emphasizes social media’s impact. She notes “great solidarity movements” have arisen and “social media movement has proven to be a great way to build cohesion.”

Moreover, petitions are still an impactful way to express democratic rights. A few, speaking out against the GLN pipeline are linked below. This pipeline is detrimental to Indigenous communities, biodiversity, waterways, and countless other issues. To find out more information about this cause, click here

Emma Fingerle

Emma Fingerle is a passionate, aspiration, and a confident second-year student at McGill University, working towards a B.A. in Political Science and Environment. She is looking to bridge the gap between Green Party news and research and the public sector to create a more encompassing political narrative. Having worked at a nature-driven summer camp during her teenage years, Emma happens passionate about educating young people on environmental issues. She is also passionate about equity and diversity advocacy, environmental policy, and indigenous rights. The development of ESG practices pique Emma's interest, and she is determined to better the sustainability of corporate practices.

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