Downtown Montreal was jammed with people on Friday for the climate march. Organizers say it was the largest protest in the province's history. (Ivanoh Demers/CBC)

Huge crowds gathered in Canada on Friday to join Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg’s climate strikes. In Montreal, where the teenage campaigner addressed the crowd, organizers say around half a million people took part.

With a general election looming, all the party leaders took part in the country-wide marches – except Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, who has a large base of support in Canada’s oil and gas producing regions.

The conservative leader says fossil-fuel subsidies could be cut as part of his plan to find $1.5 billion in savings from corporate handouts ⁠— after suggesting he wouldn’t target them because the world and Canada need more Canadian oil and gas.

Trudeau, who had a one-to-one meeting with Thunberg over the weekend, has been laying out increasingly ambitious climate policies this week on the federal campaign trail. Though they lacked key details on how they would be achieved from a commitment to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, to a vow to plant two billion trees over the next decade.

Meanwhile, Thunberg has hit back at critics.

Before addressing the rally in Montreal she told journalists: “I guess they must feel like their world view or their interests or whatever…is threatened by us. We’ve become too loud for people to handle so they try to silence us. We should also take that as a compliment.”

The Montreal event’s turnout can be placed amongst some of the most attended environmental marches in history. As compared to the September 2014 People’s Climate March in New York attracted at least 310,000.

An estimated six million people worldwide joined the climate protests:

On Friday there were huge protests in Italy – where more than 1 million people were reported to have taken part – Spain, the Netherlands, and New Zealand, where more than 3.5 percent of the country’s population joined the demonstrations.

Derick Lila
Derick is a Clark University graduate—and Fulbright alumni with a Master's Degree in Environmental Science, and Policy. He has over a decade of solar industry research, marketing, and content strategy experience.

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