Citizen Action Monitor

At COP22, Canada’s Environment Minister, Catherine McKenna, gives Youth Delegation the brush off

“When they sit in these negotiations and they tell us that we can trust them, that’s really difficult to believe.”

No 1830 Posted by fw, November 21, 2016

“I do know from our delegation that had posed that question — and McKenna talked about the focus on innovation and technology and industry as our way forward — but didn’t address the question. McKenna is very adept and skilled at avoiding being completely honest. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get much of an answer. Tina Oh, from our delegation, did try to stand up at the end of the briefing to explain her disappointment. However, McKenna swiftly left the room.”Brandon Campbell, Canadian Youth Delegation

Dimitri Lascaris, a Real News Network interviewer at COP22, queries Brandon Campbell and Jennifer Deol of the Canadian Youth Delegation. Dimitri is particularly interested in finding out about their interactions with Minister McKenna and her chief of staff Marla Reynolds. He asked. And they told him. And what they told him was not flattering to minister McKenna.

It would appear there are two classes of citizens in Canada – the Ruling Class, who count, and the rest of us, who don’t, except during election campaigns.

Below is an embedded copy of the 10-minute video, followed by my edited, paraphrased, chronologically-indexed transcript. Alternatively, watch the video on The Real News Network website, sans my transcript.

**********

Canadian Youth Struggle to be Heard at COP22 by The Real New Network, November 18, 2016

At COP22, representatives of Canada’s Youth Delegation demand that Justin Trudeau honor his commitment to be the “Minister of Youth.”

00:00-00:31 Dimitri Lascaris, TRNN – We’re here today on the last day of COP22 with Brandon Campbell and Jennifer Deol of the Canadian Youth Delegation. Tell us about the Canadian Youth Delegation. What is it? What is its mission? And why are you represented here at COP22?

Jennifer 00:32-00:54 — The Canadian Youth Delegation is a band of youth who are situated across Canada, coming together to demand that Canada justly and swiftly transition off fossil fuels. We’ve been attending COP for several years. This year’s delegation is made up of 16 delegates.

Dimitri 00:54-01:22 — I understand that you had an opportunity to interact with Canada’s environment minister Catherine McKenna and her chief of staff Marla Reynolds. What was the nature of your discussions? How does that compare to the opportunities that leaders of the business community have had to interact with Catherine McKenna and her chief of staff?

Brandon 01:23-01:55 – Yesterday McKenna had a panel with some Suncor members that lasted about an hour and a half. We, as a delegation have only had 16 minutes with McKenna, and, I believe, a similar amount of time with Marla Reynolds. We were also able to meet with both negotiators representing the Canadian government. I wouldn’t say that we had as much space or time to talk. Often it feels like there’s more talking on the part of the Canadian government, [who] voice their concerns, than having our questions answered.

Dimitri 01:56-02:03 – What was the nature of the discussion that you had with minister McKenna and her chief of staff?

Jennifer 02:04-03:50 – With the chief of staff, we emphasized that as youth we feel that the Canadian government represents its citizens, which are us, and they have mentioned multiple times that youth engagement is critical and a key component of addressing climate change going forward. We asked for fossil fuel infrastructure, period. No pipelines, and asked to reject the Kinder Morgan pipeline. We also want to make the transition off fossil fuels one that is just – thinking of fossil fuel workers and transitioning them in a just way, as well as an honest implementation of the United Nations Declaration of Indigenous People – particularly, it’s critical that there’s prior and informed consent. And pushing that the treaty alliance against tar sands expansion, which was signed by over 89 nations, saying that they refused consent to build any pipelines, including Kinder Morgan and Energy East. So, hammering home the point that you represent us, the citizens, not oil moguls and companies and businesses. And you have a responsibility to hear us and actively listen.

In our meeting with McKenna, because we got such short time and we were on the clock to be out of the room within 15 minutes, we wanted to take that space instead of having dialog, which leads to them talking for most of the meeting, we wanted them to listen. So, three other delegates shared their personal narratives and how climate change deeply impacts them and what is asked of them as youth.

Dimitri 03:51-04:21 – Kinder Morgan pipeline is planned to run, if it’s approved, from Edmonton down to Vancouver, and would be used for the export of bitumen from the tar sands to foreign markets in Asia. And Energy East is going to run in the opposite direction across the central and eastern part of Canada, if it’s approved, again for the export bitumen for foreign markets across the Atlantic. Is that correct?

Jennifer 04:22-04:45 – Yes, that’s correct. And thinking about those projects, when those projects go through the regulatory process and reviews, there is no climate test done. So, those fossil fuel infrastructures, it’s not taken into consideration how much greenhouse gas emissions will come from producing that project. That’s a key point that we as youth have been trying to push

Dimitri 04:45-04:54 – When you communicate these concerns to minister McKenna, what was her reaction? Did you get any kind of a commitment, any kind of indication about what the government’s intentions are?

Brandon 04:55-05:49 – We asked those questions during the Canadian stakeholder briefings, which happened daily at the same time, and there wasn’t much of a response to that question. I do know from our delegation that had posed that question — and McKenna talked about the focus on innovation and technology and industry as our way forward — but didn’t address the question. McKenna is very adept and skilled at avoiding being completely honest. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get much of an answer. Tina Oh, from our delegation, did try to stand up at the end of the briefing to explain her disappointment. However, McKenna swiftly left the room.

Dimitri 05:50-05:59 – What is your current expectation in light of everything you’ve seen and heard from the Trudeau government about what is going to happen with these proposed pipelines – Kinder Morgan’s Trans-Mountain and Energy East?

Jennifer 06:00-07:03 – It comes down to the fact that Justin Trudeau was labelled the “Minister of Youth”. He represents our voice. When we elected the Liberal government, we wanted meaningful engagement with climate change. And that’s something that they’ve been saying at this COP, on the international stage, as well as back home. And that means speaking to us. When you host something like a youth circle, which McKenna hosted on her first day here — taking the first part of that [meeting] to talk about how important youth engagement is and how excited she is to host this — and not have the time, due to scheduling, to stay and listen to the youth intervention portion of that is extremely disappointing. And when they sit in these negotiations and they tell us that we can trust them, that’s really difficult to believe, because of how our interactions here have played out, and how you have felt extremely silenced in this space.

Dimitri 07:04-07:48 – I think by any rational measure we are now in a global climate emergency. Last year was the hottest year on record; it smashed by a significant margin the hottest year on record that was set the prior year, 2014. And by all indications we are going to be yet again establishing a record in 2016 by a significant margin. If these pipelines, one or both, is approved, what are the options available to the youth of our country and the youth internationally, to put a stop to the construction of fossil fuels’ infrastructure that is going to perpetuate our dependence on fossil fuels and exacerbate what is a global climate emergency?

Brandon 07:50-08:22 – Youth are a big part of these discussions. Not only do we manifest out voice here within the climate delegation, we certainly have a loud voice back home. I know for the Canadian government voters make a huge to them. And voters are a huge concern to them. If they don’t consider indigenous consent and the perspectives of youth, they may need to reconsider if they’ll have the youth vote for the next election.

Dimitri 08:23-08:48 – What about civil disobedience? There was a climate action organized by 350.org and it was directed at the youth who are concerned about their future being imperilled by the climate crisis. Is that the kind of tactic that you’re going to have to resort to increasingly in the future if your voices are not heard in the next six months during this decision-making period about pipelines?

Jennifer 08:40-09:48 – Four of our delegates participated in that civil disobedience action on Parliament Hill, and were arrested. That is something that is going to happen. That is the way we demand space. We’re no receiving it right now. We’re being silenced in this format on the international and national stage. In Canada right now there are so students demanding that we get the opportunity to engage on these issues. These issues are going to impact us. We are living in a world where we are not going to get below 400 parts per million. If we continue with business as usual we are going to exceed 3.2 degrees, reaching 3.5, which is an uninhabitable planet. We are prepared to stand up and if that means having a Standing Rock in Canada, that is what it means.

END OF INTERVIEW

FAIR USE NOTICE – For details click here

%d bloggers like this: