Muskoka – MP Scott Aitchison needs to set the record straight. Our MP has reported in some publications and on social media what is either misinformation from his staff or a deliberate misrepresentation of what occurred on June 28th.
Constituents representing two climate groups in his riding, Climate Action Muskoka (CAM) and Almaguin Climate Action (ACA), were taking part in the nationwide call by 350.org Canada to all federal MP’s to take climate action. Aitchison reported that the climate activists threatened his staff. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Here is what actually happened in Huntsville at Aitchison’s constituency office that day. Fifteen local representatives were invited into the MP’s office by his staff and, in his absence, delivered a letter with a call to action. “We are here to call on our MP Scott Aitchison to work with MPs from all parties to call on the Federal Government to immediately end subsidies to fossil fuel companies, cap emissions from oil and gas, and lead a just transition to a clean green economy,” said spokesperson Linda Mathers.
One of Aitchison’s constituents, a grandfather of newborn twins, became emotional. He pleaded his belief that the consequences of inaction to the climate crisis will be dire for everyone on the planet. While gesturing to the room, he said that his grandchildren will die; we are all going to die; you’re going to die.
What this passionate and outspoken climate advocate was calling out was the existential threat to us all. He was not threatening anyone, let alone Aitchison’s staff. To all present, it was clear that this was a grandfather trying to find the right words to talk about an issue he cares deeply about.
Aitchison’s decision to publicly lash out at the group implying that this was a death threat to his staff and calling the group extremists is a shameful misrepresentation of the truth. It is an attempt to discredit our groups and to deflect attention from the real issue, the lack of political will to forge a pathway to real climate action.
CAM and ACA have built relationships and worked collaboratively with all levels of government to push for climate policies; we have worked with other climate groups to educate the public on climate threats and real solutions; we continue to host weekly climate strikes in several communities to raise public awareness of the need for climate action. If Scott Aitchison were more interested in collaborating to find solutions to a climate crisis that he acknowledges is real, he would visit a weekly climate strike and see that our organizations are far from extreme.
Aitchison is right on one count. We can’t let extremes win. If we let the extremes of climate heating win, the Earth becomes uninhabitable. The matter is urgent and the matter is important – in the extreme.
For the record, the climate groups have twice requested, in writing, a meeting with Aitchison to discuss the issues, both on the day of the visit, June 28, and a week later in a second letter hand-delivered to his staff. There has been no acknowledgement from Aitchison to date. We await confirmation of a meeting with him in which we will continue our call for real, collaborative climate action.