Seniors protesting climate inaction stage street theatre play
Article and images by Bill Hornbostel
Protesters converged on David Piccini’s MPP office in Port Hope on May 11 as the provincial election enters its second week. About forty members of Seniors for Climate Action Now! (SCAN) chanted, sang, and staged some street theatre while accusing Piccini and the Ford Government of committing a list “climate crimes.”
“We have a message to give to David Piccini,” said Linda MacKenzie-Nicholas. “As Minister of Environment, he has had an easy ride and… has not been held accountable for what he hasn’t done. So, we’re in the middle of election, the time is now if ever there was a time.”
David Robertson said, “We are here today because we have our children, grandchildren, future generations in demand it of us. To prevent more killing heatwaves, droughts, fires, floods, we have to act urgently, decisively. But the Ford government refuses, and that refusal is sabotaging the future.”
Robertson spoke of the most recent report from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), saying, “On its release, the UN Secretary General describe actions such as those of the Doug Ford government as moral madness, a criminal abdication of leadership.”
Then Robertson spoke of the need fore more renewable energy instead of gas-fired power plants, for switching homes from gas to electric heating. He accused the Ford government of paving over wetlands and farmlands and giving the biggest greenhouse gas emitters a free ride. “The chargesheet is as long and varied as seniors,” he said.
The centrepiece of the protest was a short pantomime play in which Premier Doug Ford was charged for thirty-three climate crimes. A prosecutor outlined those crimes; the Ford character countered, “We have the greatest climate plan ever!” Once convicted, the Ford character was led to Hell by Satan, crying as he went, “Please don’t take me to a Mike Harris Long-Term Care Home!”
Terry Moore, host of podcast and Canoe FM show “Planet Haliburton,” said, “SCAN members have spent the last two years studying virtually everything the Ford government has said and done about the climate emergency. We’ve done this because our long experience has taught us that the most important thing about politicians is not what they promise us when seeking power, but what they do after they get it.”
“Over our lifetimes, GHG [greenhouse gas] concentrations in the natural atmosphere have skyrocketed in lockstep with the increase of BS concentrations in our increasingly toxic political culture,” continued Moore. “Both have reached lethal proportions, and today we are here to call BS on the deadly duo of Doug Ford and David Piccini.”
In response to the protest, Piccini said, “I share in in a desire to fight climate change, but we have to stick to facts. And we have the fact of the matter, that Ontario has the one of the only plans in Canada to achieve our Paris targets.”
The climate plan, Piccini added, is “validated by Navius [Research], world-renowned climate modelling experts. They’ve done British Columbia, they’ve done the Federal Government, they’ve done David Suzuki Foundation.”
Piccini outlined three pillars of the plan: a strategy for electric vehicles and critical minerals (such as lithium), a $13 billion investment in public transit, and addressing industrial GHG output. On the third, Piccini said, “We’re the government that’s phased it out from big industry through the electrification of the arc furnace at Algoma and Dofasco. What does that mean? Six megatons of GHG reductions.”
“We exceed our objectives, it’s validated by Navius, and we’re going to keep getting the job done for the environment for workers in this province,” said Piccini. “We’re a leader on clean steel. We’re a leader on public transit. We’re a leader on electric vehicles and we should be incredibly proud of that in Ontario, because clean, green growth starts here.”
For more information on Seniors for Climate Action Now!, visit their website seniorsforclimateactionnow.org.
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