The Current

Jason Kenney says he didn't attend climate strike because manifesto was 'radical left'

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said he didn't attend September's day of global action on climate change because "much of it" was "coming from the radical left" — a statement the march's organizers call "ridiculous."

'I wouldn't go to a rally with a hammer-and-sickle flag any more than I would to one with a swastika': Kenney

Premier Jason Kenney said he would not attend a protest featuring hammer and sickle flags 'any more than I would to one with a swastika.' (Dave Chidley/The Canadian Press)
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Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said he didn't attend September's day of global action on climate change because "much of it" was "coming from the radical left" — a statement the march's organizers call "ridiculous."

"There were communist hammer-and-sickle flags out there — I wouldn't go to a rally with a hammer-and-sickle flag any more than I would to one with a swastika, quite frankly," he told The Current's guest host Kathleen Petty.

Thousands marched in cities all over the world on Sept. 27, demanding world governments take action on climate change.

Kenney argued that "the manifesto for that day of action was essentially to shut down the entire industrial economy, virtually overnight."

"These are not mainstream voices, this is not helpful," Kenney said.

"The way we're going to make a difference is through technology that reduces carbon emissions in practical ways, and that is what we are focused on as a government."

Swedish activist and student Greta Thunberg, centre, takes part in the Climate Strike in Montreal on Sept. 27. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

Emma Lim, one of the organizers of Climate Strike Canada, described Kenney's statement as "ridiculous."

"These marches aren't planned by some secret shadowy organization," she told The Current.

Lim, 18, is a biomedical science student at McGill University, and co-ordinated efforts for the climate strike in Ontario. 

She said the marches were the result of "hours and hours of work being done by high school students."

"We're not members of some radical left-leaning group," she said. "We don't have a political agenda that extends beyond wanting a safe future, a safe and survivable future."

Climate change activist Emma Lim is studying biomedical science at McGill University. (Isaac Olson/CBC)

Lim was at the protest in Montreal, attended by Swedish teenage activist Greta Thunberg. Lim didn't see any hammer-and-sickle flags, she says, but acknowledges she was at the very front of the march and did not see the whole way back.

The Montreal march was also attended by Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, but Lim said the movement is "completely apolitical, we're non-partisan."

"At the end of the day it's a protest against government inaction, it's a protest against the Liberal inaction, it's a protest against Conservative inaction," she said.

When asked if Climate Strike Canada would welcome Kenney joining them on a march, Lim replied "we wouldn't have turned him away, just like we didn't turn away Prime Minister Justin Trudeau."

"We want to see change, and we want to see comprehensive climate plans to stay below 1.5 degrees of global warming and it doesn't matter who it comes from."


Written by Padraig Moran. Produced by Jennifer Keene.

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