For the upcoming federal election, the environment ranks as a high concern. We in the environmental community need to engage right now, to grow awareness of key issues, to mobilize friends and neighbours, and to inform the debate.
Here in Toronto, all candidates – and voters – should hear about threats to natural areas, species at risk, the health of our lakes and rivers, and of course, the climate emergency.
Luckily, we have good tools for leverage:
Be at the Environment Debates: More than 100 Debates on the Environment are set to take place across Canada the first week of October. These events are non-partisan, and allow all candidates to explain their environmental platform ahead of the federal election. Go to 100debates.ca to find the environmental debate in your riding. Invite everyone you know! If there isn’t one scheduled, you can plan one yourself. For example, Parkdale-High Park is holding its environment debate on October 2nd.
Ask Good Questions: Ontario Nature has prepared a useful set of questions for candidates, addressing core issues like protected areas, climate and pollution. Use them or adapt them as needed.
Examine Party Platforms: A coalition of leading environmental groups have recommended a suite of environmental platforms for federal parties on climate, biodiversity, toxics and waste. So now we can compare party platforms against what is needed.
Speak up at All-Candidates Meetings: We can also highlight the environment at traditional all-candidates meetings, at our front door, and wherever else candidates campaign.
Use your voice: We can also share our environmental message through social media, through letters to editors, through phone-in radio programs and at gatherings with friends, neighbours and community.