Driving Strong Environmental Leadership Across Party Lines
No voter should ever have to choose between their political beliefs and their environmental values when they step into the voting booth.
None of the environmental challenges we face, like humanity’s response to climate change, should rise or fall based on who happens to hold a legislative majority. Partisan differences are a fact of political life. But there are basic, underlying environmental values the large majority of Canadians, of all political persuasions, hold in common. So the solution to both conundrums is for environmental champions on all sides of the political fence to seek and win office. That’s why GreenPAC, a unique Canadian approach to environmental democracy, has never been more necessary.
Smart, Sensible Environmental Policies
GreenPAC is built on the knowledge that Canadians of all political stripes want smart, sensible policies based on basic environmental principles (clean air and water, environmental conservation, healthy and walkable neighborhoods, safe and local food). We know there are articulate, informed, courageous environmental voices in every major party, and we need more of them in elected office. That’s why GreenPAC has come up with a non-partisan, non-profit strategy to support candidates with strong environmental credentials, across party lines.
In the Canadian federal election of 2015, GreenPAC endorsed 18 candidates; 14 of them won seats in parliament. We’ve also endorsed six candidates in British Columbia’s upcoming provincial election (May 9th, 2017) – representing all three parties with seats in the provincial legislature. We strongly encourage BC voters from across the political spectrum to use our Candidate Matching Tool to learn more about those candidates’ political views.
Our Expert Panel reviews candidates’ environmental track records and makes endorsement recommendations accordingly. It is important to note that GreenPAC encourages Canadians to make their own choices and direct support where they think it’ll make the greatest difference — even if it means helping out a candidate in a riding other than their own.
It’s Already Working
Canadians win when there are environmental leaders in every party caucus — and there is evidence that the strategy is already working. Canada only has a strong, effective Species at Risk Act because Members of Parliament cooperated across party lines to make it happen. Similarly, Parliament only agreed to regulate toxic chemicals after individual leaders in all the different parties agreed it was time for the country to take meaningful action.
When a common set of environmental values permeates every party in every legislature, Canada will be better for it. This vision is what makes GreenPAC, with its focus on multi-party environmental leadership, an effective way to create meaningful political change. We’re steadily gaining ground — and every federal and provincial election is another step in this journey.
GreenPAC is proud to endorse candidates like:
- George Heyman (NDP-Vancouver-Fairview), a former executive director of Sierra Club BC who’s worked as an MLA to support climate and environmental standards for LNG development, an aggressive renewable energy and energy efficiency plan, and a carbon tax with rebates to low- and middle-income households.
- Jennifer Rice (NDP-North Coast), a former biological technician and energy campaigner who spoke out on the environmental impacts of the Northern Gateway pipeline as a Prince Rupert city councillor.
- Colleen Ross (NDP-Boundary-Similkameen), a Grand Forks city councillor and advocate for energy-efficient, affordable, and walkable “pocket communities” who grows organic crops and raises livestock on her local farm.
- Dallas Smith (Liberal-North Island), outgoing president of the Nanwakolas Council, which represents six of the 26 Great Bear Rainforest First Nations, and a key negotiator of the Great Bear Rainforest agreement.
- Jordan Sturdy (Liberal-Vancouver-Sea to Sky), an organic farmer and Parliamentary Secretary for Energy Literacy who chaired the province’s Climate Leadership Team.
- Andrew Weaver (Green-Oak Bay-Gordon Head), a veteran climate scientist and author or co-author of more than 200 peer-reviewed papers who now leads the provincial Green Party in the BC legislature.
If these GreenPAC endorsees are all elected on May 9th, they’ll undoubtedly engage in fierce debate. However, they’ll all start out from the assumption that the environment and sustainability are at the center of our country’s politics and society — not a peripheral “extra” or a special interest.
Aaron Freeman is founder of GreenPAC. Join GreenPAC’s mailing list to learn more about the organization’s multi-party approach to environmental leadership in politics.