A student-organized protest in support of the federal carbon tax on Friday, Feb. 15 was cut short after less than 10 people attended.
A group of University of New Brunswick students organized the Friday for Future Climate Strike at the New Brunswick Legislative Building. The event has been postponed due to minimal attendance.
Fridays for Future is a movement started by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg which calls for individuals around the world to rally in front of their government buildings on Fridays and strike for climate change action.
“The main goal of this strike is to voice our support for the implementation of a revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend policy (carbon tax),” stated a Facebook event advertising the Fredericton rally. “It is seen as the most efficient first step in solving climate change by countless experts around the world.”
The Fredericton rally was scheduled to take place on Feb. 15 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m; it was intended for demonstrators to picket throughout the day. When The Brunswickan arrived to report on the rally however, no protestors were in sight.
So what happened?
According to Dominique Deveaux, the organizer of the event, a small group of nine protestors arrived at 9 a.m. and circled the front steps of the building before dissipating within an hour. The group was accompanied by Green Party leader David Coon, the MLA for Fredericton South.
Deveaux cited the cold, lack of participation and school work as his reasons for leaving the rally early. He said he would appreciate support from groups other than university students, whose time is often stretched thin.
“Ideally I’d like to have high school students take the lead, but that's not happening yet,” Deveaux said.
Two protesters arrived shortly after The Brunswickan, carrying signs that called for quick action against climate change. The supporters had come from Moncton to support the cause and were shocked and disappointed to see so little participation.
“We came to support the youth, because this is the world we’re leaving them. And where are they?” one of the protesters said.
They reported similar incidences of little to no engagement at previous rallies they have attended. They said this indicates a certain apathy towards this issue.
Deveaux and other strike leaders plan to attempt the rally again on March 19 when all New Brunswick’s MLAs will be in session at the legislature.