This Election, we need champions who put climate above politics

September 20th, 2019 

I remember waking up one morning in the summer of 2017 at home in Victoria, drawing the curtains open, and seeing the ominous orange haze in the sky for the first - but not last - time. It was my first taste of what became two long summers full of smoke and fear. Fear for people who were in the path of devastating wildfires ravaging BC. And fear that this post apocalyptic hell, where going outside meant breathing toxic smoke, was the new normal. 

Maybe if the federal election had been held that year, when the fires were still burning, our leaders would have spoken more boldly to their plans for combating the climate crisis. And maybe if we had seen the promise for electoral reform delivered, we’d be seeing a more constructive tenor among politicians and parties to solve the most complex challenge in our history.

But here we are.

I’ve worked in politics long enough to know that, though party machinery mostly hides it from public eyes, individual MPs have tools to hold their parties to account. We need climate champions doing just that - and loudly - in all the parties claiming to care about solving the climate crisis. And, there are ways within our Parliament for them to come together across the aisle to push for shared goals. One thing is certain, we need champions in the House of Commons putting climate above politics and calling for a comprehensive plan to address the twin crises of climate and inequality, no matter who “wins” this election.

That’s why Leadnow’s campaign for the 2019 federal election is to seek out climate champions, and then work in a few select ridings to help elect bold champions across party lines willing to cooperate for climate, and lay a course for a Green New Deal.

What is a “climate champion”?

Candidates listed as “climate champion” on this website means that, through our survey, they have committed to working across party lines to fight climate change with real, scientifically validated policies, laws, and actions.

We sent this survey to candidates for every major party. Candidates that expressed real commitment to fighting climate change in Parliament, and said yes to all of the actions in our survey, in line with a Green New Deal, appear on our list as a “climate champion”. This is not an endorsement, but an expression of their full support for the actions we asked them about.

You’ll notice that we have listed some candidates on our site who haven’t received our “Climate Champion” designation. These candidates, while not willing or able to take a strong stance on climate actions, are willing to abandon the hyper-partisanship that has poisoned our politics for too long and have made a commitment to cooperate across party lines, to work toward reaching Canada’s international emissions targets.

Who should you vote for?

We’ve put this list together to help voters do their homework. While we would love to tell you who to vote for, Leadnow is an independent organization, and we know that there are lots of great candidates across parties. Some ridings have more than one “Climate Champion.” Our hope is that you will use this as part of your decision making process. We also encourage you to:

  • Get to know your local candidates. Meet them if you can, at events or candidate debates. Or look them up with good ol’ Google.

  • Take a look at additional resources put together by some of our allies (links below)

  • Watch the polls. Polling is infamously not an exact science, but we know that our electoral system puts progressives in a tough spot, so it is totally valid to care about how the race is shaping up in your local riding.

So take a look at your local candidates, see if any of them are climate champions. If none of your local candidates are there, consider contacting their campaign and requesting that they fill out our survey.

Who are we recommending?

We're in the middle of selecting bold climate champions who are running in key swing ridings, where the race is tight. We’re looking at track records on climate, and electoral dynamics of ridings with identified climate champions. We’re going to choose ridings we can have the greatest strategic impact in, and help elect a handful of climate champions across party lines. (Stay tuned to this site!)

Helping elect Climate Champions who have promised to work across party lines is the first step in winning a bold Made in Canada Green New Deal that leaves no one behind. Once the election is over, with your help, we’ll hold politicians to account to make sure they live up to their commitments. 

I know that we are going to see more devastating wildfires, storms and floods in the years ahead. But if we act now, and take bold action, we can stop our planet from warming too much, too fast, and becoming uninhabitable. That is truly what we’re up against. And we think that it’s not too much to ask MPs in Ottawa to work together to protect our future.