Today is Earth Day and while the Prime Minister is in New York signing the Paris climate agreement and talking about shifting to renewable energy, Canada released a process for consultations into the federal climate plan due out this October. Groups across the country have launched the Peoples Climate Plan to prepare communities to input into these consultations.

This national consultation process will include online submissions and toolkits for town hall meetings. These community proceedings can be recorded and submitted into the consultations. The West Kootenay EcoSociety has joined the Peoples Climate Plan organizing collective and will be bringing West Kootenay residents together to speak up at the consultations for bold climate action.

“We need Canada to be powered by 100% renewable energy by mid-century,” said Montana Burgess, Community Organizer with the West Kootenay EcoSociety. “Our national climate plan needs to make sure we train our skilled workers to transition into green jobs starting this year. It must also immediately support cities to move their communities onto renewable energy with incentives and regulation.”

It’s not clear from the government’s website how the public feedback will actually be integrated into the federal climate plan and what weight submissions will be given. Members of the public or community leaders can host town halls.

“We are hoping our Members of Parliament will host the town halls in West Kootenay communities in both federal ridings. Mr. Cannings and Mr. Stetski have both said they care deeply about the climate crisis and their constituents and this is a great way to connect people with federal climate action,” said Burgess, who today is at LVR Secondary’s climate change symposium to celebrate Earth Day.

LVR Climate Change Symposium Organizer, Hannah Sachs said, “the ball is now rolling for youth, especially in Nelson, since the new government was elected. Mt. Sentinel had a big climate campaign in 2015, LVR had our climate sit-in on leap day and today we are hosting a climate symposium. By talking about climate change on a national level, we have been able to have real conversations about action as youth on a community level.”

The government website asks specifically for input on putting a price on carbon. It does not outline how it is consulting with Indigenous Peoples in the federal plan. “First Nations and Indigenous Peoples need to be consulted in a meaningful way on the federal climate plan. It’s not clear to me how that is happening,” said Burgess.