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Hundreds gather in Montreal critical of Quebec's environmental record

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On the eve of Earth Day, Montrealers committed to the climate marched along Parc Avenue on Sunday to call for more to be done to combat climate change.

Just as in 2019, when hundreds of thousands of Quebecers rallied behind Greta Thunberg, Sunday's demonstration was instigated by the younger generation.

However, unlike in 2019, the protest came far short of reaching the same crowd. The crowd only stretched from the angel monument to George-Étienne Cartier to the intersection of Parc and Duluth Street, a distance of around 300 metres, the crowd counted more in the hundreds than in the hundreds of thousands.

Dozens gathered to protest the Quebec government's environmental policies in Montreal on April 21, 2024. (Laurence Brisson Dubreuil, CTV News)

Even organizer Shirley Barnea admitted that she was a little disappointed but not surprised.

She feels that it's easy to become discouraged when you realize that the government isn't taking the climate crisis seriously and sees natural resources more as a means of growing the economy than as something to be preserved.

Nevertheless, the 19-year-old activist is not sceptical and continues to believe in the cause.

She hopes that the provincial government, like the federal government, will hear the cry of anger from the citizens who have come to march with her and put the fight against climate change at the top of their agenda. 

Citizens gathered to protest the Quebec government's environmental policies in Montreal on April 21, 2024. (Laurence Brisson Dubreuil, CTV News)

Young and old, friends and families alike took to the streets of Montreal, holding up placards denouncing political inaction, half-measures and greenwashing.

Québec solidaire spokesman Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois and the party's environment critic Alejandra Zaga-Mendez took the opportunity to hold a news scrum just before the demonstration began.

The two MNAs emphasized the need to reinvest massively in public transport across the province and to offer Quebecers viable alternatives to activities and behaviour that emit large quantities of greenhouse gases.

A demonstration was also scheduled to take place in Quebec City.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on April 21, 2024.

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