Despite bad weather and a bad week as referenced to by one local politician, people arrived at an environmental rally on the Halifax Common with signs in hand Saturday.
The rally – one of countless held across the world as part of an environmental international day of protest – was designed to pressure the Canadian government to adopt a tougher stance on climate change.
There was music and games — organizers said hundreds of people were present at the peak — but there was an underlying feeling of anger.
Halifax NDP MP Megan Leslie bluntly told the crowd that it had been “a crappy week” for environmental lobbyists in Canada. On Wednesday, an NDP bill that would have imposed tough greenhouse gas targets was delayed for 30 days by the Liberals and Conservatives.
That means it likely cannot be passed before the Copenhagen climate change summit in December. Leslie called the vote a betrayal to Canadians.
“It’s challenging there right now but it’s inspiring here to see everyone saying ‘no, that’s not acceptable,’” Leslie told the cheering crowd.
The goal of the so-called 350 rallies is to promote lowering the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million. It’s currently at about 378 parts per million.
Halifax organizer Brian O’Neill said it was long past time the government took a hard stance on climate change, adding Canada is being left behind.
“We’re slack when it comes to doing anything with greenhouse gases and we’re a laggard economically. And we’re going to stay that way if we insist on keeping mired in greasy, sooty, hydro-carbon based resource extraction,” said O’Neill.