For a labour organization, mobilization is crucial. So, how do you spark citizens’ interest and unite them, especially FIQ members, around environmental issues? This was the main topic addressed by a panel composed of Odette Sarrazin, Coordinator for Regroupement vigilance hydrocarbures Québec (RVHQ) for the Northern Region and rural mobilization, Colombe Larivière, head of the Comité mobilisation environnement Ahuntsic-Cartierville and coordinator of urban mobilization for the RVHQ, and Déric Noël-Lagacé, a representative of the group Alerte pétrole Rive-Sud.
Through high-profile battles, in particular the Vous ne passerez pas (you shall not pass) campaign, aimed at putting a moratorium on shale gas, citizen committees managed to gather public support for environmental protection. Their actions have often been spectacularly successful, so what exactly is their secret?
According to Ms. Larivière, “fun, action and flexibility” are key to efficient citizen mobilization. She convinced hundreds of residents in her neighbourhood to join in the fight against hydrocarbons using a range of initiatives to reach them: door-to-door, direct citizen action, petitions, protests at various events, citizen meetings with members of parliament, etc. She says that to achieve mobilization, the cause must reach the provincial level, as well as each person as an individual in their environment.
Mr. Noël-Lagacé agrees wholeheartedly. “Actions that establish human contact are still key. Regardless of age or the type of movement we’re part of (unions, environmental organizations or student bodies), we all share the same principles and values and must work together.” As he encouraged the young people to mobilize for sustainable development, Mr. Noël-Lagacé concluded by saying, “the FIQ, with its 75,000 members and affiliated unions, has mega potential.”
It was an energizing speech for the young FIQ members who will definitely make good use of his helpful advice!