Young Quebecers to appeal rejected climate change class action against federal government
A group of young Quebecers will be back in court this week, trying to revive a class action lawsuit against the federal government for what they call an insufficient response to the threat of climate change.
Represented by the organization ENvironnement JEUnesse and the firm Trudel Johnston & Lespérance, the group is asking the Quebec Court of Appeal to allow them to move forward with their case against Ottawa.
They want Canadian authorities to set a more ambitious target to reduce greenhouse gasses, saying their right to life, security and equality, and their right to a healthy environment is being threatened.
In July 2019, Superior Court Judge Gary Morrison ruled that, while the environmental cause is important, the age range targeted in the application was too subjective.
The class action would be brought on behalf of the millions of Quebecers who were aged 35 and under at the start of the proceedings in November 2018.
The organization's executive director, Catherine Gauthier, said the same arguments will be defended before the Court of Appeal on Tuesday.
To the judge’s point on the action’s age spectrum, Gauthier said the provincial and federal governments themselves use the 35-year cap in their policies for young people.
“For us, it's not at all an arbitrary limit, and we have a solid case,” she said.
While the judicial process is slow, Gauthier maintains that the fight against climate change must be carried out on several fronts, including in the courts.
“Even if the deadlines are sometimes very long, longer than what the climate crisis requires in terms of short-term actions, these are tools that are very strong, which are powerful, and which we cannot afforded to miss.”
-- This report from the Canadian Press was first published on Feb 21, 2021.