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Climate: the pursuit of 15 young Canadians back on track

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Dec14,2023

The Federal Court of Appeal says a trial must be held to determine whether Ottawa's actions violate the rights of the young plaintiffs in under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Climate: the pursuit of 15 young Canadians back on track

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The lawsuit, filed in the fall of 2019, brings together 15 young Canadians.

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After the Federal Court rejected their request, 15 young plaintiffs who are suing the Canadian government for its responsibility in accelerating climate change have obtained the approval of the Federal Court of Appeal. Their case, she ruled, will have to be heard by a court.

With this decision, the Federal Court of Appeal gives the plaintiffs the green light they have been waiting for for more than four years.

In their pursuit of The Rose c. His Majesty the Kingfiled in October 2019, the 15 young people – now aged between 12 and 21 – accuse the federal government of compromising their future by contributing, through its actions, to climate change and by failing to sufficiently reduce gas emissions. greenhouse effect, year after year.

According to the plaintiffs, the consequences of climate change, to which Canada contributes, are already being felt in the country and disproportionately affect young people. The government's conduct would thus violate their right to life, liberty and security, even though it is guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

In their lawsuit, the plaintiffs ask the Court to order the government to quickly implement a climate catch-up plan to reduce the country's GHG emissions and accelerate the decarbonization of polluting sectors.

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The effects of climate change from one end of the country to the other affect all Canadians, particularly those from indigenous communities or those living in the north of the country, write the three judges of the Court of Appeal federal government in their decision rendered Wednesday.

There is no doubt that the burden of consequences will disproportionately affect Canadian youth.

A quote from Excerpt from the decision of the Federal Court of Appeal

These consequences suffered by young people could be recognized as special circumstances under which the Canadian government would be legally obliged to protect the complainants. But a trial will have to take place to determine this, according to the Federal Court of Appeal.

When new claims come to test the limits of a right [guaranteed by the Charter], they may require the holding of a trial in order to understand […] the harm suffered by the plaintiffs, write the judges. This is one of those cases.

In October 2020, a Federal Court judge dismissed 's case TheRoseunder the pretext that it cast too wide a net for a court to legitimately tackle. The claims he said had no reasonable cause of action and alleged an unquantifiable number of actions and inactions on the part of the defendants, making it impossible to judge. p>

It's disheartening that our government has wasted four years of our time debating the fact that we don't have the right to a trial, responded Albert Lalonde, 21, who is participating in the pursuit.

In an interview with Radio-Canada this summer, Albert Lalonde deplored the fact that so much energy was invested on both sides in ruling on the legitimacy and admissibility of the cause instead of debating substantive issues raised by the prosecution.

Faced with the decision rendered on Wednesday, Albert Lalonde nevertheless praised the courage of the judges for having decided to listen to us and, above all, to x27;having recognized that there is a need for flexibility when dealing with an existential issue of this magnitude.

This is a crucial first step in protecting the rights of young people facing the power exercised by the fossil fuel industry in policy-making in Canada.

A quote from Albert Lalonde, a member of the La Rose v. His Majesty the King

This announcement brings hope for these young plaintiffs seeking climate justice, said Andrea Rodgers, lawyer at Our Children's Trust, which represents the plaintiffs. They will finally be able to tell their story and hold their government accountable, she stressed.

That this cause can move forward sends a message to provincial and territorial governments across the country, according to Tom Green, senior climate policy advisor at the David Suzuki Foundation. It's a reminder that [climate] inaction can have legal consequences, he noted.

Earlier this year, 16 young plaintiffs were able to claim victory in the state of Montana after a judge recognized for the first time in U.S. history that a government had violated the Constitution by supporting the fossil fuel industry.

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Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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