A determined band of about 130 protestors braved the wind to take part in the International Day of Action on Climate Change at Nathan Phillips Square Saturday, December 3.
Coinciding with demos across the globe, the event attracted a number of Green and NDP party candidates, including Peggy Nash, who's running for the NDP in Parkdale-High Park. She used the occasion to pump public transit, a gaping hole in the feds' climate change plan.
"We want to build new subways, new buses," Nash told the crowd, to the approving ringing of bike bells.
But not all present are eager to hear the message. One in the crowd, Rob Ainsworth, interrupts the Toronto Environmental Alliance's Keith Stewart mid-speech to ask why some big-name eco groups rub shoulders with corporations out to destroy the environment. Some start to jeer. Stewart's response to Ainsworth: "Ask me at the Rex over a beer."
Besides calling for more action from governments, speakers decried behind-the-scenes U.S. efforts in Montreal, where the UN climate change conference is wrapping up this week, to undermine the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. The Yanks should be less interested in putting up obstacles, Stewart tells the gathering, "because climate change is a national security threat."
By the time the crowd marches to the U.S. Consulate as SUVs honk, only about 30 remain, and there's no need for the five cops to barricade the sidewalk.
Most participants are optimistic the rally has left an impression. "It's remarkably symbolic," says Christine Jones of Act for the Earth.
As police begin to load the steel barricades onto a truck, someone who's less convinced remarks, "People will still be driving their cars tomorrow."
Yet the message seems to have gotten through to the family who stop along Queen later to contemplate a discarded rally sign. It reads, "Hey, Dalton, nuclear is not the answer!"