Activists call on CBC to organize federal climate debate

Thomas Gagnon-van Leeuwen is an organizer with Our Time Yellowknife. He was the emcee at the rally, which saw about 35 people show up in front of the CBC North building in Yellowknife. (Francis Tessier-Burns/CKLB).

Thomas Gagnon-van Leeuwen says Canadians “deserve” to know how the aspiring prime ministers will approach the climate emergency.

Gagnon-van Leeuwen is an organizer with Our Time Yellowknife, the local chapter of the national group. Our Time is pushing for a Green New Deal, essentially a set of policies to tackle climate change within the next decade or so that would see a transition to 100 per cent renewable energy and economic stimulation to cover that transition into new jobs.

The ally was to call on the CBC to organize a debate with federal party leaders on climate change.

‘Avoiding responsibility’

On Wednesday morning, Gagnon-van Leeuwen was on CBC’s Trailbreaker program where he says he was read and official statement from the CBC head office essentially passing the buck to the Leaders’ Debates Commission.

Of the six people who work at the commission, two are former CBC employees, including executive director Michel Cormier. Gagnon-van Leeuwen pointed this out the interview on Trailbreaker.

He later told CKLB, “We think it’s unfortunate that two public institutions who have the mandate to inform Canadians are avoiding responsibility with this issue and we wish that both the CBC and the leaders debate commission would take leadership.” He added that Our Time is also appealing directly to the Leaders’ Debates Commission by circulating a petition. According to Gagnon-van Leeuwen, it has about 10,000 signatures across Canada, including 350 in Yellowknife.

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About the Author

Francis Tessier-Burns
Francis was a reporter with CKLB from January 2019 to March 2023. In his time with CKLB, he had the immense pleasure and honour of learning about northern Indigenous cultures.