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Canada's pandemic response left workers behind. Our climate response cannot do the same.

Canadian governments valued profits over people during the COVID-19 pandemic, and that status quo cannot continue in our response to the climate crisis, climate organizer Amara Possian said in her address at the 2022 Progress Summit.

"Workers have struggled to pay bills and access the basic necessities that they need to stay safe through the pandemic and at the same time, the top CEOs in the country have walked away $22 billion richer than they were at the start of the pandemic. They pocketed massive bonuses while demanding enormous sacrifice from the frontline workers who took care of all of us through this crisis," Possian said.

Governments also downloaded responsibility for the pandemic onto individuals instead of creating systemic changes to curb the spread of the virus, Possian added. Canada's climate response requires systemic action from governments, not just changes to individual behaviour.

"For us, as organizers, as people from many movements across this country, we have a choice to make in this moment: we can let the corporate elite continue winning the day just like they did during the pandemic, or we can come together across sectors across generations as workers as organizers, people from Quebec and Canada and many nations across these lands to demand a just transition that takes power from the wealthy elite, returns it to all of us, all while expanding public services and social programs, creating millions of decent low carbon secure jobs and upholding the rights title and sovereignty of Indigenous peoples."

"That's really what we've been talking about at this conference," Possian said.

"And of course, we know it won't be easy, but we also know that when faced with great challenges, we are capable of great things and we really owe it to ourselves to meet this moment. And we owe it to others to meet just the challenge of this moment."

"It starts right here in these rooms where we have a real opportunity to talk across sectors and movements about what we're going to do together to tackle the climate emergency while creating a just and equitable future for everyone."