Canadian youth announce lawsuit against federal government at Greta Thunberg rally in Vancouver
Thousands filled the streets of Vancouver Friday to march with Greta Thunberg, the world famous teen climate activist, and show their support for 15 young Canadians who are suing the Canadian government.
The plaintiffs range in age from 10 to 19 and are from all over Canada. One of those young plaintiffs is 17-year-old Sierra Robinson, from Duncan. On Friday, she told the throng of thousands gathered outside the Vancouver Art Gallery why she joined the lawsuit.
"I'm suing my government because my health, and the health of Canadians across Canada, has been affected by climate change — whether that be through wildfire smoke hurting our lungs or, for myself, Lyme Disease."
Co-counsel for the plaintiffs is Catherine Boise Parker, who told the crowd, "the claim which has been filed in court today says that the Federal Government is required to drastically reduce GHG emissions and address climate change — not just because it's the right thing to do, but because the Constitution of Canada requires it."
Robinson told CTV News that she's optimistic about the outcome of the lawsuit.
"It's so important to me because we're going to be letting our Federal Government know that this case is happening and that we're going to win."
The goal of the court action isn’t about getting compensation for injuries, rather, it's about forcing the government to take action against climate change, an outcome emphasized by Chris Tollefson, co-counsel for the plaintiffs.
"We don't care about money damages," said Tollefson. "This is really about doing the right thing, forcing that plan into effect."
The lawsuit and rally were supported by heavy hitting environmentalists, like David Suzuki.
"It is time to take the fight to the Canadian courts, and I am so proud to be able to support these courageous plaintiffs," said Suzuki at the rally.
The teens and their lawyers say they expect a long legal battle, but also say they're determined to see it through.