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Letter: I'm going to jail for climate action. What are our leaders doing?

North Vancouver MP Jonathan Wilkinson says he’s a climate optimist, while Canada is one of the worst offenders on the climate action naughty list, this letter writer contends
Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change was on hand at North Vancouver's Waterfront Park in September 2019 for an announcement regarding the protection of species at risk and new funding to support climate action in B.C. | Paul McGrath / North Shore News files

Re: Why I Remain a Climate Optimist, ad in Dec. 21 print edition, page 9

Dear Editor:

I was pleased to see MP Jonathan Wilkinson’s recent letter in the North Shore News about why he remains a climate optimist. Seeing a government official openly discuss the climate crisis felt like a Christmas miracle. But while Santa is real, Canada’s commitment to climate change is as authentic as an IKEA Christmas tree. Call me a grinch, but I have a few good reasons why our dear leaders are on the climate action naughty list.

1. We’re literally on the naughty list. Coming in behind the U.S. and China, Canada ranks 58 out of 62 countries on the Climate Change Performance Index. Wilkinson states world leaders are showing serious focus regarding the climate crisis – Canada is not among them.

2. Though Wilkinson cites Indigenous leadership as a reason for climate optimism, he fails to mention that the Canadian government is actively sabotaging that leadership by arresting, intimidating and bribing First Nations that are resisting pipelines in their territory.

3. The science is crystal clear: phase out fossil fuels, and the future won’t suck. Wilkinson acknowledges that renewable energy is cheaper than ever, but his government fails to embrace it fully. Instead, the Canadian government is overseeing the construction of two major pipelines: the Trans Mountain Expansion and the Coastal Gaslink Pipeline, both of which have been condemned by a UN committee for failing to comply with international law.

At the end of his letter, Wilkinson writes that his hope remains vital and alive thanks to the work of climate activists worldwide, especially the youth.

In January 2023, this 24-year-old writer will be sentenced to 21 days in prison. My crime? Peacefully obstructing work for 25 minutes on the TMX pipeline, which his government owns. But I’m glad Wilkinson draws hope from my incarceration.

I’m glad Wilkinson is a climate optimist. I’m optimistic that when I get out of jail, I’ll have the perfect body, clear skin and a dream job. Resolutions work best when you hold each other accountable. How about this? I’ll start going to the gym and hashing out a resume, and Wilkinson can stand up in Parliament and denounce Canada’s fundamental disregard for life on earth.

I don’t know a lot, but I’m pretty sure that would be a good start to 2023.

Emily Kelsall
Eagle Harbour, West Vancouver

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