TRUSU club leaders meet with Naomi Klein ahead of speech

TRUSU club members meeting with Naomi Klein. (Natalie Reisle/TRUSU)

Naomi Klein, an award-winning author and activist, visited TRU on Feb. 7 to speak to hundreds of community members and students about her book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate.

Klein addressed many topics related to her book such as the environment, Donald Trump, Justin Trudeau, the Kinder Morgan pipeline and more.

The event was hosted by the TRUSU entertainment committee, as a part of the Common Voices Lecture Series.

Ahead of the lecture, TRUSU club leaders were able to meet with Klein personally.

Logan Dafoe and Valerie Law are both campaign coordinators for TRUSU’s movement against the Ajax mine project and were impressed with Klein’s ability to spark interest back into older issues.

“I think it was incredible that an environmentalist can come in and physically meet with ten of the club members. She basically revived the conversation on Ajax and got more people to start thinking about it again,” Dafoe said, stating that Klein’s comments on the Kinder Morgan pipeline mirrored issues around the Ajax mine, bringing the topic back into the light.

“I found her most powerful statement was that people can’t step aside and let First Nations bear the burden of all these environmental decisions that affect everyone. We can’t push them to the forefront and expect that they will be the protectors of the land we all share,” Law said.

Kevin Pankewich, chair of the TRUSU socialist club, was most impressed by Klein’s statement of what to expect in order to see change.

“What really struck a chord with me was when she said the future is radical, and what kind of radical do we want,” Pankewich said, stating that with political issues there are always two sides to each argument, but that there must be more focus on the side that represents the majority interest.

“Her call for mobilization was so rational compared to the usual approach of simply recycling more or using less water. We should still do all those little things but it won’t make a difference as long as the attitude of ‘politics as usual’ continues.”

Klein addressed many topics related to her book such as the environment, Donald Trump, Justin Trudeau, the Kinder Morgan pipeline and more. (Natalie Reisle/TRUSU)

Tristan Muhr with the TRU Geography Society said, “For me, the most valuable message she delivered was the importance of organizing, working and growing your career within the context of decolonization.”

Muhr stated that regardless of your professional or political standpoint we all need to shift our perspective towards what is most beneficial for the land, water and our communities.

“As geographers, this message is incredibly important to us.”

Cole Hickson with TRUSU’s Eco Club, despite enjoying the talk, would like to see these events funded more equitably.

“TRUSU budgeted $30,000 this year for the Common Voices speaker, which I couldn’t help but feel frustrated over. With the event receiving no funding from TRU, despite the prestige and educational value brought by these speakers,” Hickson said.

“We also don’t charge anything for tickets for non-students, a population, I believe, filled a majority of the room.”