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FLIP2.0 Examines the Barriers to Environmental Progress & Why Youth Are Vital to Moving the Needle

On January 22, 2022 GreenPAC held the second-ever FLIP Summit (Future Leaders in Politics) on the virtual platform Gather.

A full day of sessions (workshops, panels, and a keynote address by Dr. Amita Kuttner, Interim Leader of the Green Party of Canada), examined the barriers to political progress on the environment, with a focus on how vital youth are to breaking them down.

Read more about it below!


Our Morning Panel Centering Indigenous Sovereignty in Environmental Politics featured MP Lori Idlout (Nunavut), Dr. Hayden King (Executive Director, Yellowhead Institute), and Graeme Reed (Senior Policy Advisor at Assembly of First Nations). Moderated by Austin Zacharko (Corporate Knights "Top 30 Under 30" Sustainability Leader). It examined some of the barriers to reconciliation that persist in environmental politics in Canada and the steps needed to shatter these once and for all.

MP Lori Idlout described politics as a “place of privilege” – where decisions are often dictated by the threat of loss of revenue in the present instead of through the lens of Indigenous rights and the health of our environment.


Closing out the FLIP Summit were these young movers and shakers for the environment - all are alumni of GreenPAC's Parliamentary Internship for the Environment program for young leaders. Alison Gu (Burnaby City Councillor), Tesicca Truong (Cofounder of CityHive and 2020 B.C. NDP candidate), Josh Swift (Regional Advisor for Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change), and Jesse Hitchcock (Senior Research Analyst at E Source & Founder of Young Voters of PEI). Moderated by Kat Cadungog (Executive Director, The Foundation for Environmental Stewardship).

Alison Gu reflecting on how young people aren’t confined by the ways things have always been done.


Dr. Amita Kuttner's (Interim Leader of the Green Party of Canada) Lunchtime Keynote answered the question Why Politics for Environmental Leaders and the importance of changing systems that exclude many from participating.

"As a young person, as a queer person, as a trans person, as a racialized person, these systems were surely not built for me… so we change them. It is possible."


The New Climate Conservatives: The Landscape for Environmental Change on the Right provided critical insights into the changing the landscape for environmental leadership in the Conservative Party of Canada from The Hon. Lisa Raitt (former CPC Deputy Leader), MP Dan Albas (CPC Shadow Minister for the Environment and Climate Change), Tim Powers (Chairman, Summa Strategies and Managing Director, Abacus Data). Moderated by George Philp (former GreenPAC Parliamentary Intern for the Environment).

The Hon. Lisa Raitt reflecting on the fact that it wasn’t the youngest party members who voted down the CPC’s resolution last year to acknowledge the reality of climate change - and that if more young people had been engaged, the outcome might have been different.


Making Every Vote for the Environment Count looked at the way we vote and how it impacts environmental policymaking and public discourse. It featured Anna Keenan (Green Party Democratic Reform Critic ), Sonia Theroux (Executive Director, Leadnow), The Hon. Hugh Segal (former Senator of Canada), and Dolly Cepeda Montufar (National Board Member, Fair Vote Canada). Moderated by Alejandra Bravo (Director of Leadership and Training, Broadbent Institute) in partnership with Fair Vote Canada.


Demystifying the Landscape for Municipal Climate Advocacy featured Megan Curren (North Vancouver Councillor, Steering Committee Chair at Climate Caucus), Don Iveson (Former Mayor of Edmonton), and was moderated by Shaun Trainor (Partnerships & Development Manager, YCL), and Sabrina Guzman Skotnitsky (International Policy Specialist, YCL), in partnership with Youth Climate Lab. It examined how municipal climate advocates can decide where to focus their energies, find allies among council or city staff & avoid pitfalls along the way.


FLIPPED: Getting Environmental Leaders into Office dove into what it takes to run for office as an environmental leader with Tria Donaldson (Former NDP Candidate for Regina-Lewvan), Robin Edger (National Director, Climate Change at the Insurance Bureau of Canada), Dr. Paul Thomas (Director of Parliamentary Internship Programme, Canadian Political Science Association), and MP Mike Morrice (MP for Kitchener Centre). Moderated by Najib Jutt (Political Advisor and Strategist).


Getting Science through Politics looked at the challenges scientists encounter in policymaking with expert guests, from scientific backgrounds, who are pushing for change both in and out of Canadian Politics. Featuring MP Richard Cannings (MP for South Okanagan-West Kootenay), Dr. Deborah McGregor (Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Environmental Justice), Dr. Devyani Singh (Green Party Green Recovery Critic), and Dr. Ted Hsu (former MP for Kingston and the Islands). Moderated by Dr. Verena Sesin (GreenPAC Parliamentary Intern for the Environment), in partnership with Evidence for Democracy.


A workshop by George Benson (Managing Director, Climate Displacement Planning Initiative), Breaking it down: Advocacy to Different levels of Government, focused on understanding how different jurisdictions work, how they work with each other and how participants can work with them.


Attendees networking in our FLIP Mingle Room - in partnership with Apathy Is Boring and Sustainable Youth Canada


Huge thanks to our Presenting Sponsors


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