I’m a 16-year-old high school student in Burnaby, B.C. In 2019, I joined the youth climate strikes that brought a million Canadians out into the streets shortly before the last federal election.

Now, voters are headed to the polls again as many parts of the country are still reeling from a summer filled with wildfires, droughts, and deadly heat waves. Disasters like these are going to shape my future — so my generation and I are looking for leaders who have the courage to do what it takes to face the climate emergency.

Last month, the world’s top climate scientists declared a “code red” for humanity, and they were crystal clear about what we need to do to put the brakes on climate change: stop extracting and burning fossil fuels.

Instead of more denial or delay, it's time to start listening and acting on the science. In Canada, that starts with cancelling the Trans Mountain pipeline and oil tanker project.

Right now, Trans Mountain is less than one-third built. If completed, not only will it destroy Canada’s chances of ever meeting its emission reduction targets, but recent studies have shown that very few permanent jobs will be created, and every minute the project stays alive, it makes less economic sense. To top it off, the project does not have the consent of all the Indigenous communities whose lands, territories, and other resources are affected.

If you support bold climate action in Canada, you stand — unequivocally — against Trans Mountain. Period.

Justin Trudeau’s Liberals have pitched themselves as climate leaders with policies like the carbon tax and setting a target of net-zero by 2050. But they have presided over six years of growing greenhouse gas emissions, and they are building a new bitumen pipeline that is designed to enable the expansion of the Alberta oilsands — with $16 billion of public money.

On the campaign trail, Jagmeet Singh has promised to end fossil fuel subsidies and has said he opposes Trans Mountain — but has refused to commit to cancelling it if he is elected. Meanwhile, the majority of NDP candidates in B.C. have set themselves apart from their leader, joining the 190-plus prospective MPs across the country who have signed a pledge to fight to scrap TMX.

Where does that leave the NDP in the eyes of young Canadian voters looking for a climate leader for our generation?

Singh and the NDP have the power to lead Canada’s fight for climate action. The NDP has deep ties to unions and workers, who will need to play a key role in the transition to renewable energy.

Opinion: The question for many young people is whether NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh will stand up to Big Oil in a way the Liberals never would, writes @TupperVijay. #Elxn44 #EndFossilFuel #cdnpoli

Singh has the platform and popularity to sway young voters — who, polls show, are key to NDP gains in this election. He can appeal to voters disillusioned by the gulf between the Liberals’ climate rhetoric and their actions — but only if he makes it clear how an NDP government would be different.

The question for many young people is whether Singh will stand up to Big Oil in a way the Liberals never would, and shake off the perception that the climate crisis isn’t a priority for him. Making a clear commitment to cancel Trans Mountain and redirect those billions to a just transition for workers would show that Singh and his party will take the climate emergency seriously. And that’s what my generation is looking for.

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THIS !!!

Yes, excellent piece, and old voters like me want exactly the same thing! Thanks!!

Well said, Vijay!!! This is proof of the desperate need for voters to STAY INVOLVED after elections!! And one of the best ways is to join the riding association of the party you support. That way, you have the representative's ear and can continue the process, for example, that many in the NDP are pursuing of PUSHING the party back to the left!!!

Thank you for this very clear statement to Jagmeet. His credibility with young voters is on the line with a refusal to stand against this pipeline. HOPE he gets the message!

"If you support bold climate action in Canada, you stand — unequivocally — against Trans Mountain. Period."

Are you listening, Andrew Weaver, Mark Jaccard, Martin Olszynski, Merran Smith, Dan Woynillowicz, etc.?
When you endorse the Liberals' plan for fossil-fuel expansion, you enable climate disaster, imperil future generations, and sell our young people down the river.
For shame!

You forgot one name: Jagmeet Singh.

Granted, Singh was far too passive on climate in the last parliament. But did he endorse the Liberals' anti-climate plan during the election campaign?
Is Jagmeet Singh a cheerleader for pipelines? Has Singh urged the Liberals to increase fossil fuel subsidies? Does Singh promote CCS and SMRs to solve the oilsands' emissions problem?
I somehow missed that.

Nope. He didn't. But my point is that the real big thing he didn't do is push Trudeau hard on climate in the last minority government. This time Singh's opportunity is even bigger mainly because he's got the balance of power in his hands once again just as all parties are loathe to undergo another election anytime soon, and co-operation is on the front burner.

I do give Singh and his caucus lots of credit for supporting the government's efforts to mitigate the COVID crisis in the last parliament, especially by pushing Trudeau harder on the CERB.

Good on you, Vijay!

Those of us who have endured criticism for strategic voting to keep the Conservatives out of government are asking the same question. This is especially acute now that another Liberal-NDP minority is in place, thanks largely to several hundred thousands strategic voters. This is a better place than a damaging majority with either of the two big parties -- especially the Conservatives; it's a better place than the wishful thinking that attaining a national NDP majority government is even possible given the lack of historical precedence.

Jagmeet Singh now has the balance of power in his hands, just as he did for the last two years. Did he demand that Trudeau kill off TMX in the last government? No. Why not? A very good question indeed. I suspect preoccupation with the pandemic had something to do with that, but still, there's no excuse for silence.

If those who thought using the same techniques parties use (the NDP is not exempt) to counteract the machinations of party hacks and strategy meisters in order to achieve a goal, something that has worked three times in a row now in my riding, then please find Jagmeet's quote where he promised to kill TMX. Having the NDP develop the spine it used to have in last century's minority governments to boldly accomplish great things as a condition of backstopping the more powerful Liberals is nothing less than the best chance we have. Trudeau won't do it unless shoved, that much is obvious.

Meanwhile, there are other policies on the table too, all of which requires not just the NDP's full attention, but the courage of its worthy MPs. Affordable child care tops the list to get women back in the workforce more quickly, to count just one of several blessings of this policy. Pharmacare should be next in line. Gun control is another. The NDP must push the Libs to actually build more housing supply at affordable prices but also with more energy efficacy and transit / walk / bike locus, not just grease demand with more mortgage subsidy schemes. Reconciliation, transit and sustainable urbanism, renewable energy and so on all need an extra push by Jagmeet et al.

The NDP needs to push harder than ever before, mainly because they remain the most honest party of conscience that happens to wield consequential power today when it matters more than ever. That is a fact that didn't start with wishful thinking about foreseeably unattainable nation-wide social democratic majorities, but is based on historical experience where big important things were accomplished with political accommodation and co-operation, like enacting public healthcare in the 1960s. That was our public healthcare moment. Now is our climate and social justice moment.