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Climate protests call for push to renewables as Canada deals with more heat, smoke

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About 50 Calgarians gathered in the northeast on Wednesday for a climate protest. 

It was one of 32 events held across the country to mark a national day of action on the climate crisis. 

Ronnie Leah helped organize the Calgary protest in Prairie Winds Park. 

"We want our children, our grandchildren and their grandchildren to have a planet where they can live and play and work free from fire, smoke, and floods," she told CTV News. 

The event took place across from George Chahal's constituency office. Organizers say the Liberal MP turned down their invite, so they passed along a petition to his staffers. It demands federal politicians stop supporting the fossil fuel industry and enact a "better" transition plan.  

"They just brought forward the Sustainable Job Act, which we think is a very important step," Leah said. "But we don't think it goes far enough or moves quickly enough. We really want to see workers and their families and communities moving towards a 100 per cent renewable energy future."

Speeches also took aim at the provincial and municipal governments. 

The latter has drawn the ire of Steve Bentley with the Calgary Climate Hub. 

"What we want are stronger plans," he said. "We need a city council that understands that this is a real problem. There are Calgarians that care about this and that are watching this, and we're gonna show up."

HEAT WARNINGS

The protest comes as both southern and northern Alberta are cloaked in heat warnings. During parts of Wednesday, Toronto had the highest air quality index reading in the world. 

A meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada says Canadians can expect the warnings to be a regular part of the season moving forward. 

"We expect to see increasing frequency of heat events and increasing intensity of heat events when they do occur," Sara Hoffman said. "A lot of this is par for the course with a warming climate."

FEDERAL FOCUS

Despite protesters saying they were "turned down," a spokesperson for Chahal claims the MP wanted to make the event but couldn't.

"I couldn't personally attend the event outside my office today, but I have received the letter attendees left behind," a statement said.

"Our Liberal government is working diligently to empower Canadian workers with the necessary skills and training to excel in a net-zero economy and contribute to reducing emissions. Throughout this transition, I remain dedicated to expanding Calgary's position as a leader in all things energy." 

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