In the fight to increase climate action in Canada and to limit greenhouse gas emissions, a third-party non profit that’s partly based in Victoria focused its efforts on eight ridings during the federal election.
Non profit Leadnow created the initiative, called Cooperate for the Climate, that worked to identify candidates from across the country as climate champions based on certain criteria. That included most of the candidates in the Victoria, Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke and Saanich-Gulf Islands ridings, such as winners Laurel Collins, Randall Garrison and Elizabeth May, respectively.
“We used a spreadsheet to gather data and we hired a consultant firm to create an algorithm,” said Sonia Theroux, Leadnow’s co-executive director based in Victoria.
If candidates supported all of the climate justice positions in their candidate survey, Leadnow labelled them a “climate champion.”
Twenty-seven of Leadnow’s climate champions won their seat. There are five Liberals, 18 New Democrats, three Greens and one independent (Jody-Wilson Raybould).
What Leadnow really focused on with its 3,000 volunteers, from across the country, was eight ridings where a climate champion was in a tight race against someone who was not deemed a climate champion.
They called them “battlegrounds,” Theroux explained.
“We focused our efforts, our interventions to make a difference,” she said. “In Victoria, like many ridings, we had a situation where the leading candidates were climate champions. In those cases, we didn’t get involved.”
They did it by contacting 200,000 voters in those ridings to ensure that people concerned about our climate future got out to vote for these candidates, Theroux said.
A total 228 candidates pledged to cooperate and 200 of those pledged to meet a the standards of a Green New Deal.
In the end, 63 per cent of all voters cast ballots for a party that committed to reaching emissions targets in line with what science tells us is necessary, she added.
Five of Leadnow’s eight “battleground champions” who were elected are Wilson-Raybould in Vancouver-Granville, Taylor Bachrach (NDP) in Skeena Bulkley Valley, Daniel Blaikie (NDP) in Elmwood Transcona, Man., Lenore Zann (Liberal) in Cumberland Colchester, N.S., and Matthew Green (NDP) in Hamilton Centre, Ont. Battleground candidates that did not get in were Paul Taylor (NDP) in Ont. and two Green Party candidates, Anna Keenan and Darcie Lanthier in P.E.I.
The Liberals’ climate platform was released late in the campaign but it was progressive enough to call for a legislated framework to reach emissions targets in line with what science says is necessary in order to avert the worst of catastrophic climate change. It aligned with the NDP, Greens and the Bloc, who all proposed reductions in emissions.
Leadnow’s Cooperate for Climate campaign grew from frustration with the failure of governing parties – driven by short-term political and partisan interests – to address the climate emergency.
“We expect that Trudeau will work with these parties to stay focused on the most pressing issues of our time,” Theroux said.