By Catherine Abreu and Teika Newton
Climate change and the environment has emerged as the number one issue for voters as we enter the final weekend before election day Oct. 21 2019, with a quarter (25%) of voters polled saying it’s the most important election issue to them. As you consider your options, here’s all you need to know to #voteclimate.
An astonishing 4.7 million Canadians voted in advance polls over the October 11-14 long weekend – a 29% increase over advance voting participation compared with 2015. But there are still millions of Canadians deciding who to cast their ballot for. Here, we share some essential resources from Climate Action Network – Réseau action climat (CAN-Rac) Canada, members, and allies:
CAN-Rac Survey of Federal Parties
On Oct. 1, 2019 CAN-Rac released the results of our brief questionnaire sent to the Bloc Québécois, the Conservative Party of Canada, the Green Party of Canada, the Liberal Party of Canada, and the New Democratic Party of Canada on behalf of our 110 member organizations across the country. Only the Conservative Party of Canada declined to answer the survey questions, instead sending us a short prepared statement on their platform position. The parties’ full, unedited answers can be found on our website. Here’s the summary:
Getting Real about Canada’s Climate Plan
CAN-Rac derived the 5 questions in our survey from a paper we released in June 2019 in partnership with 10 member organizations. It takes stock of Canadian climate policy as it stands and lays out 7 essential elements of a meaningful climate plan for Canada.
Environmental Groups’ Survey of Federal Parties
In anticipation of the need to bring forth important issues facing Canadians today – environmental protection, economic justice and human rights – 14 of Canada’s leading environmental organizations developed a 10-point questionnaire representing their collective priorities. The questionnaire was sent to Canada’s six federal parties and released on Oct. 1, 2019. See full responses on the website.
Climate Caucus Federal Election Report Card
The Climate Caucus is a non-partisan network of mayors, councillors and city officials in Canada who began organizing in January 2019. Its mission is to work collectively to create policy which aligns with the IPCC targets of holding global warming to 1.5°C. The Caucus has more than 200 members, representing municipalities across the country. CAN-Rac and some of our members who are most active at the cities level join the Climate Caucus for their biweekly calls and on some of their many issue-specific working groups. The Climate Caucus used their own internal rubrics to assess each federal political party’s platfrom on transportation, buildings, waste, land use and adaptation from the perspective of local government. The rubrics and the report cards for each party can be found on the Climate Caucus website.
Citizens’ Climate Lobby: Climate action counts in Election 2019 and the youth and the world are watching!
Citizens’ Climate Lobby is an active member of CAN-Rac that works to create the political will for a livable planet and to empower people to claim their political and personal power. In their lobbying, CCL promotes carbon fee and dividend carbon pricing. On Oct. 16, CCL issued their analysis of the major federal parties’ climate policies and how they plan to reduce GHG emissions. See their full analysis on their website.
Generation Squeeze is a national research, education and advocacy organization for Canadians in their 20s, 30s and 40s. Its mission is to help young people thrive, now and in the future. As they explain on their website, the “Squeeze” is created by high costs for things like housing and child care, stagnant earnings and mounting debts (including public debts like climate change). These pressures combine in ways that make it difficult to achieve the basic milestones of adulthood, and in ways that leave younger Canadians and future generations with less opportunities and new burdens compared to the past.
GenSqueeze assessed the federal parties on four key issues: housing affordability, climate change, family affordability, and generational fairness in public finance. We’ve included their climate scorecard here. Check out their website for in-depth analysis of policy frameworks for each issue area.
Shake Up the Establishment
Shake Up The Establishment is a non-partisan organization bringing climate action to the forefront of election 2019. Their aim is to help make Canada a leader in addressing the climate crisis by providing Canadians with scientifically-backed information on the issue to ensure informed voting.
Their website combines educational resource materials to inform voters about climate change, its impacts and solutions, with tools for comparing five federal parties’ platforms on emissions, oil & gas, transport, energy, electricity and industry, waste and land use, and community support. It does not rank or score the platforms, but simply provides data in a useful side-by-side comparative style.
EnviroVote is an initiative led by three academics, Isabelle Hurley, a Masters student at Dalhousie University in the Future of Marine Ecosystems Lab, Derek Tittensor, an Associate Professor in the Dalhousie Department of Biology, and Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist and professor of political science at Texas Tech University.
The EnviroVote platform compares the 4 major federal parties’ performance on climate change and biodiversity loss. The website address 21 questions about climate change governance and policies, 11 about biodiversity, nature and species at risk, and one about plastics, with data for the answers drawn from a variety of sources including the authors’ own expertise, expert analysis from environmental economist Mark Jaccard, the responses to the environmental groups’ survey (#2 in our list above), and the parties’ platforms.
Katharine Hayhoe, Climate Scientist, and Andrew Leach, Energy Economist
Katharine Hayhoe, well known Canadian climate scientist and professor of political science at Texas Tech University teamed up with Andrew Leach, associate professor at the Alberta School of business and former chair of Alberta’s now defunct climate change advisory panel, to analyze parties’ climate platforms. They graded parties on ambition and feasibility – take a look on the Macleans website.
Mark Jaccard, Environmental Economist
Simon Fraser University’s Mark Jaccard, a well-known environmental economist, has published several useful analyses of the politics of climate change prior to, and during, this election period. His academic colleagues behind EnviroVote rely, in part, on his expert analysis, and here we include links to two of his influential pieces of commentary on the “climate election”.