Numerous advocacy groups are attempting to pressure the CBC to host a debate on climate change.
According to the National Observer, a petition signed by almost 48,000 individuals organized by four advocacy groups: Leadnow.ca, North99, 350 Canada, and Our Time was presented to the CBC on Friday.
In a statement available on National Observer, LeadNow said the CBC has a responsibility as a public broadcaster to “provide a platform about this unprecedented national emergency so voters can clearly see where leaders stand on climate and what they’re prepared to do about it.”
“We look to political leaders to lead on serious issues like climate change, but there’s so much misinformation and confusion,” said Amara Possian, Canada Campaigns Manager with 350.org.
“A federal leaders’ debate focused on climate change and a made-in-Canada Green New Deal will give voters much-needed clarity on which parties have the best strategy to tackle the climate crisis head on.”
While the number of signatures is high, it is by no means surprising as the environment has rapidly become one of the hottest issues in Canada.
According to a study released by the Digital Democracy Project, climate change is on the top of the election agenda for most Canadians.
The groups pointed to wildfires in Western Canada, heatwaves in the east and north, disappearing shorelines, and severe floods. They say all these events are becoming more frequent due to the climate emergency.
CBC spokesperson Chuck Thompson said the company would make sure to cover climate change as part of its debates.
“As I’m sure you are aware, CBC News has covered climate change extensively, and we will continue to do so,” Thompson said in an emailed statement. “As to whether or not there will be a debate specifically about climate change, that question is best asked of the Leaders’ Debates Commission.”
Currently, two debates are expected ahead of the federal election, which must happen on or before October 21st.
The English debate is tentatively scheduled for October 7th, while the French alternative is set for October 10th.
While the dates have not been finalized, the location, Ottawa, has.