More than 10,000 people filled the streets of Toronto on July 5 in the march for Jobs, Justice and the Climate. Indigenous communities, unions, students, social justice organizations and grassroots activists came together to send a clear message to Canada’s politicians: Canadians want a new and just economy that works for everyone.
PSAC members were also there to show their support. “Public services play an important part in helping to build a more fair, just and equitable economy and a sustainable environment,” said Sharon DeSousa, PSAC Ontario Regional Vice-President.
Bob Jackson, PSAC BC Regional Vice-President noted “The Harper government has cut environmental regulations and decimated frontline public service workers who protect the environment.”
Here are some disturbing facts:
- Between 2010 and 2017, Environment Canada will have cut or plans to cut 21% of their staff, including 338 jobs in the division that deals with climate change.
- Fisheries and Oceans Canada has cut 30% of the staff responsible for the Species at Risk Act and the recovery and protection of aquatic species in Canada.
- In February 2014, the Federal Court declared that the Minister of Environment and the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans acted unlawfully by failing to protect endangered and threatened wildlife.
- Fisheries and Oceans also cut more than $100 million from water protection, despite recommendations from public service experts that it needed to increase spending for both environmental and economic reasons.
One PSAC activist summed it up well: “I’m marching today because I personally, and the PSAC, are in opposition to the government agenda of austerity, including cuts to public service and deregulating environmental standards. I want to fight to protect good jobs in the public service and the health of our communities.”
“We have the solutions” the organizers of the march proudly reminded the crowd. Unfortunately, world leaders and Canadian politicians have failed to deliver on the action needed to create economic justice and combat climate change. Marchers were clear: the time to act is now!