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A civics and sustainability lesson to be remembered

| Categories: Events & Celebrations, Sustainability

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Grade 10 students at David Thompson Secondary got a lesson in civics and environmental sustainability earlier this week thanks to a surprise visit from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and two cabinet ministers. Indeed, some may say the lesson went both ways because students asked thoughtful and tough questions of the government’s most senior officials. 

 With Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault’s announcement earlier in the day detailing the government's plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions over the next eight years and meet ambitious 2030 reduction targets, students dove deep into the issue, asking critical and practical questions. 

 Students were interested in hearing how they as young people – who are not yet able to decide what type of car to buy or what heat fuel source to use at home – can make a difference for the climate. Other questions that students posed to politicians included: How does the government intend to ensure the emission reduction targets they’ve set will be met? How does this plan differ from previous plans which failed to meet targets? And, what is the government doing to address the unclean drinkable water in Indigenous communities? When addressing those questions, the Prime Minister and ministers echoed the importance of democratic literacy and participation in addressing climate change and environmental issues. Despite the seriousness of the climate crisis and students’ deep interest and passion to see solutions, a great deal of laughter abounded by all gathered at David Thompson that afternoon. 

Minister of International Development Harjit Singh Sajjan, local MP and a frequent visitor to the school’s social studies, recounted his days at the school as a student – and his familiarity with the principal’s office! Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault, recounted stories of his days as young activist – including the age of five when he climbed a tree to prevent it from being harvested by a logging company. And, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who was a substitute teacher at David Thompson, urged students to be kind to substitute teachers. “Because” said the Prime Minister, “you never know when they’ll show up again with a motorcade and backed up with police!” 

It was certainly a special day of learning, civic engagement and fun for all at David Thompson!

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