Day of strike action for the planet

Jour de grève pour la planète

Photo: Marty Melville Agence France-Presse
School children appear to highlight a lack of progress in the fight against climate change in Wellington in New Zealand, on march 15, 2019.

Alexander Shields and

Marco Fortier

March 15, 2019

  • Environment

Tens of thousands of students must walk in the streets everywhere in Quebec and elsewhere in the world, on Friday afternoon, demanding actions against climate change. Despite the strike votes to be in good and due form, schools and universities have warned students that they would come out to show at their own risk, because the courses are maintained.

According to the last balance sheet of the mobilization published on Thursday, 148 500 students from all regions of Quebec, including Montreal, have been given an appointment in the street to shout loud and clear their concerns for the future of the planet. Dozens of student organizations in the secondary, cegep and university have voted to strike in support of the international movement for the climate.

Some protesters defy taboos : lessons, courses and exams will take place as scheduled, despite the calls for the strike in major universities. The University of Montreal, University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM), the Université de Sherbrooke, the Université du Québec en Outaouais and the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières have confirmed that the “educational activities” are maintained.

“The teachers are invited to apply for the course. It is they who judge if the teaching conditions are met or not to give the courts, as well as for the ways to cover the material if necessary, ” said the Duty Sophie Langlois, spokesperson for the University.

The Faculty of medicine of the institution insisted on the maintaining in full of all educational activities, in spite of a majority vote of the students for the strike. “We are appalled that a faculty, spelling out loud and clear that it wants to make social engagement a priority, shows as much resistance to a cause that is hers,” said the Duty Gabrielle Denault, a medical student of third year at the University of Montreal in a message co-signed by her colleague Gabrielle Landry.

“The Faculty of medicine would have had to be one of the main actors promoting this movement. The environment is a problem of public health and the Faculty does not seem to have taken his responsibilities in this folder. Who does it ? What does it mean ? It is with disappointment that we see the futility of the able student, which does not prevent to continue to fight, with or without the Faculty. “

For its part, the Commission scolaire de Montréal maintains its activities throughout the day, but allows the students to go protest, on the condition that their parents justify their absence from their school.

Political support

Visiting Montreal on Thursday, the ministers of the Environment of Quebec and of Canada have offered their support to the young people who will make the strike to demand climate policy more ambitious. The minister, Benoit Charette has assured that the budget that will be tabled next Thursday will echo the concerns of young people in environmental matters. His colleague federal Catherine McKenna explained that Canada, which has the third oil reserves in the world, is in a process of “transition” energy.

The mayor Valérie Plante has also welcomed the mobilization of the students. Montreal is part of a group of nine cities with Paris, Milan, Sydney, Austin, Philadelphia, Portland, Oslo and Barcelona — who have called on Friday for students to come and discuss climate issues.

With Jeanne Corriveau

Nobel peace prize?

Jour de grève pour la planète

Teen Swedish Greta Thunberg, instigator of the ” strike of the school for the climate “, has been proposed for the Nobel peace prize, 2019. “Greta Thunberg has launched a mass movement in which I could see, perhaps, the main contribution to peace “, said one member Norwegian who had proposed his candidacy. The young girl became a heroine of the fight against climate change. It is she who has called for a “strike world” of the students on Friday.