With the Ontario provincial election coming up fast, GreenPAC is gearing up for one of its most ambitious campaigns ever.
As a small but mighty non-profit with a big, ambitious mandate, GreenPAC has the resources to participate in one election per year. This year, we’re focusing our attention on a province that has been at the forefront of many of the country’s biggest, most contentious environmental issues—from climate change and energy, to toxics pollution and public health, to endangered species and protected areas.
And as the province gets ready to go to the polls June 7, we’ll be doing what we always do: Identifying environmental leaders running for all the major parties, endorsing a select group of candidates across the political spectrum, and encouraging our supporters to donate money and time to help those candidates win.
Pushing Past Partisanship
Look no farther than climate change for an urgent, topical issue where Ontario needs everyday political heroes working across partisan lines.
It’s a complex, multi-generational challenge that must be solved by mid-century—in Ontario, across Canada, and around the world.
Each of the major provincial parties has a climate plan that fits within its broader position on policy and politics.
But as a measure that those plans are still far more fragile than we need them to be, both of the provincial parties that have held office in this century have had moments when they’ve de-emphasized or stepped back from more ambitious positions on climate change, energy transition, and decarbonization.
If that’s a fundamental flaw, it’s one that elected officials in Ontario share with most of their counterparts around the world. Which helps to explain why the Washington Post is reporting this week that global carbon dioxide emissions are rising again, after steadying out for several years.
Two years after a landmark global agreement to get on a path toward climate stability, “the euphoria of Paris is colliding with the reality of the present,” the Post states. “Even as renewable energy grows cheaper and automakers churn out battery-powered and more efficient cars, many nations around the world are nonetheless struggling to hit the relatively modest goals” in the Paris Agreement.
There are many factors behind the trend, and implementing a complex, global decarbonization agreement was bound to have its ups and downs.
But from the ground up, the latest news on Paris implementation cries out for more environmental champions in every party caucus. It’s the only way to be absolutely sure that the next time Ontario debates climate action, the only points of contention among politicians of all stripes is how best to meet a bold, ambitious target, not whether to make that target a priority.
Learning from Experience
With the release of our Expert Panel’s candidate endorsements just a few weeks away, we’re looking forward to seeing what impact GreenPAC can have on the composition of the next provincial legislature, and the level and type of attention environmental issues receive as a result.
But we’re also excited about some of the new outreach tools and techniques that we’ll be pilot testing in this campaign.
We’ll be running a volunteer phone bank for the first time, to help our supporters connect with the candidates who best align with their own political and environmental values.
Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator Kate Belmore will be on the road for our first campaign tour, meeting with GreenPAC supporters old and new in ridings across the province.
We’ll be running focused volunteer recruitment drives in the specific ridings where we’ve endorsed candidates.
And our communications effort will build on lessons from past campaigns to try to get an environmental message out farther, faster, and deeper.
Running one campaign every year gives GreenPAC a great opportunity to test new strategies, learn from experience, iterate quickly, try again, then repeat the cycle. And that’s a very good thing. GreenPAC itself is an environmental leadership model that has never been tried before, so we have to be prepared to learn and improve as we go.
With Ontario going to the polls this year, then the federal election coming up in 2019, the stakes are high. And we’re ready to deliver the impact our supporters expect and the environment needs.