Canada Federal Election Canada election

Greenpeace wants you to vote in Canada’s 42nd federal election. Early in the election period, before most Canadians were likely to be paying attention to the four major political party leaders’ campaigns, Greenpeace launched ivoteclimate.ca. Like many organizations, they’re trying to engage Canadians (especially young Canadians) to not only show up and vote, but to push candidates to make environment part of the campaign.

It’s not good enough to simply be better than Stephen harper on the environment.

Their mandate is to get people talking about moving Canada to a 100 percent renewable energy powered economy. With that, politicians must say no to tar sands expansion and arctic drilling. They just don’t go together.

“We want to see [environmental issues] talked about more, we also want to see it talked about differently,” said Keith Stewart who heads Greenpeace Canada’s energy campaign.

“It’s not good enough to simply be better than Stephen harper on the environment,” Steward said on the trend of Liberals and NDP environment platforms simply being critical of the Conservative record, rather than making plans for how they will address issues.

“We actually need leadership talking about how Canada can thrive in a low-carbon world, and why this is necessary from all of the horrible affects of climate change, but why there are all these great things that come along with it,” he said.

As far as environmental discussion goes, we’re doing much better this time around. “In the last five years we’ve seen the pipeline campaign take off in a way that I think really was unthinkable back in 2010 or ’11,” Steward said, comparing the current election to the last federal election. The activism on environmental issues in Canada has affected real change and proved to the government that citizens can stop harmful projects from moving ahead, said Stewart.

 “Now we need to show that if someone is willing to step up and talk about the good things, they will have people supporting them.”

A challenge for Greenpeace is to get mainstream media coverage of a positive message. Rather than just talking about the “doom and gloom” of environmental issues and why fossil fuels are bad for the environment, they want Canada talking more about the good things that can come from switching to renewable energy. 

“We actually need leadership talking about how Canada can thrive in a low-carbon world, and why this is necessary…but [also] why there are all these great things that come along with it,” Stewart said.

With less than two weeks until Canada’s next leadership is decided, Greenpeace is not losing any steam working to make environmental issues part of this election. To learn more about making Canada run 100 percent on renewable energy and pledge your environmentally conscious vote, visit ivoteclimate.ca and click here to read Greenpeace's run down of where each party stands on climate change. 

Megan is A\J's editorial manager, a lover of journalism, and graduate of the University of Waterloo's Faculty of Environment. 

 

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