On this week’s episode of Talking Radical Radio, I speak with Clayton Thomas-Muller. He is the campaign director of the Global Indigenous Tar Sands Campaign, a member of the Puktawagan Cree First Nation, and the “stop it at the source” campaigner for 350.org. He is also one of the organizers putting together an action that will use civil disobedience to bring a strong message to incoming Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — yes, the one elected by a campaign whose co-chair had to quit because of ties to the fossil fuel industry — that Canada must act on questions of climate justice.
Climate justice organizers have been doing amazing things in communities across Canada for years now, but despite the growing presence, visibility, and power of the movement, none of the mainstream parties took positions during the recent federal election campaign that were even close to what those who follow the issue understand to be the minimum necessary if we are to prevent the devastation of the planet — including keeping most of the Alberta tar sands in the ground, and shifting massive amounts of capital to renewables and to a new kind of economy. Organizers knew, therefore, that no matter who ended up as the resident of 24 Sussex Drive after the election, it would be someone in desperate need of some sharp pressure to start moving in the right direction around climate issues. And as the world gears up for the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, the organizers keenly feel the imperative to push for an abrupt change to the the utterly embarrassing conduct on this issue in recent years by the Canadian government on the world stage.
Thomas-Muller, other 350.org organizers, and their local partners in the Canadian context have been hard at work organizing what they’re calling the Climate Welcome action. They are urging as many people as possible to come to Ottawa between November 5 and 8 to deliver a powerful message to Trudeau that the 42nd Parliament of Canada must “freeze the expansion of the tar sands and commit to a justice-based transition to a clean energy economy.” Each day, they will deliver a different gift with a different message to 24 Sussex Drive. And each day, ordinary people will be engaging in civil disobedience to drive home exactly how serious the situation is, in the face of Trudeau, the Liberals, and the rest of Canada’s political class pretending otherwise. Thomas-Muller talks with me about climate change, the state of climate justice organizing in Canada today, and the importance of as many people as possible joining the Climate Welcome action in Ottawa from November 5 to 8.
Talking Radical Radio brings you grassroots voices from across Canada. We give you the chance to hear many different people that are facing many different struggles talk about what they do, why they do it, and how they do it, in the belief that such listening is a crucial step in strengthening all of our efforts to change the world. To learn more about the show in general, visit its website here. You can learn about suggesting topics for future shows here.
Talking Radical Radio is brought to you by Scott Neigh, a writer, media producer, and activist based in Hamilton (formerly Sudbury), Ontario, and the author of two books examining Canadian history through the stories of activists.