Prior to the 42nd Canadian Federal Election, GreenPAC led by founder Aaron Freeman, released their “Green 18,” an endorsement of 18 election candidates from all four major political parties with strong environmental track records.
Recognizing Canada’s need for stronger environmental protection, GreenPAC was created with the goal of addressing the most serious environmental issues and translating these concerns into political action. With the help of hundreds of thousands of Canadians and a panel of experts, they recruited, nominated, elected and supported a group of environmental champions, fostering environmental leadership from the four major political parties.
Their campaign proved successful, with 14 of their Green 18 Candidates elected, including Francois Choquette, Linda Duncan, Dianne Watts, Kirsty Duncan, Romeo Saganash, Michael Chong, Elizabeth May, Richard Cannings, Jim Carr, Will Amos, Joyce Murray, Fin Donnelly, Terry Duguid and Nathan Cullen. Half of elected environmental champions were not the incumbent MPs.
“This was not just about the ‘red tide’” said Freeman. Among the elected included six New Democratic Party MPs, five Liberal MPs, two Conservative MPs and one Green Party MP.
“We’re very pleased about the environmental champions who have been elected,” said Freeman. “It is a pretty good story to tell how environment fared in this election.”
However the campaign was not without its share of losses, Freeman acknowledged the loss of environmental champion Megan Leslie, who held the Halifax riding as an MP for two terms, as well as Karine Desjardins, Bruce Hyer and Gord Miller. “There were some bittersweet elements to it but the takeaway for this election for us was that if you were an environmental champion, that was working for you in this election,” said Freeman.
Within three election cycles, GreenPAC hopes to have one in ten federal MP’s elected as environmental champions.
The success of GreenPAC’s campaign can only mean good things for Canada and the environment. The newly elected government has made several significant promises on making environmental progress. With the 14 environmental champions from all the major parties sitting in the House of Commons, there is a much better chance that those promises will be kept. Going forward, Freeman is confident that there will be many exciting opportunities to build politically relevant constituencies for the environment in politics.
What’s next for GreenPAC? According to Freeman, this is up to their supporters.
“We now have the ability and basis to have those [environmental] conversations and we now have the capacity to build environmental leadership in different levels of the government,” says Freeman. “What we want to do now is see where that [supporter] energy is the strongest and focus on those places.”
GreenPAC will continue to support their environmental champions in moving the needle on environmental issues as well as being active in other levels of government and getting involved in nomination races in local levels.
Within three election cycles, GreenPAC hopes to have one in ten federal MP’s elected as environmental champions. By continuing in their current path and building supporters, they are well on their way to achieving this goal.
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