Guide to election engagement for Green Economy Leaders
The 2019 Federal Election is underway and the economy and climate change are hot topics. Green Economy Hubs are working with organizations like yours to strengthen your business results through sustainability, build the local green economy, and improve our community’s environmental profile. Our network of members is therefore in an excellent position to talk about the importance of the growing green economy in a way that cuts through the divisiveness of the issue.
We hope you will consider sharing your perspective during this important election. Candidates, community groups, other businesses, and the general public will be interested to hear about your successes meeting sustainability goals, and the benefits you’ve seen. The following guide outlines some ways you and your business can get involved in positive, non-partisan activities which will support the green economy.
- Connect Directly With Local Candidates
- Write and Share a Letter to the Editor
- Attend and Participate in Local All-Candidates Meetings
- Support Community-Led Climate Action Events
Connect Directly With Local Candidates
- Why do it: Shape candidates opinions, including the next MP, by providing them with a useful perspective on this important issue.
- Time investment: High – lining up individual chats with candidates includes the time to schedule plus the individual conversations.
- Potential impact: High impact – can directly influence the campaign.
- Potential risks: Low risk – conversations are private unless you decide otherwise.
How to do it:
Step 1: Identify your local candidates
- Conservative: https://www.conservative.ca/team/2019-candidates/
- Green: https://www.greenparty.ca/en/candidates
- Liberal: https://www.liberal.ca/team-trudeau-2019-candidates/
- New Democrat: https://www.ndp.ca/candidates
Find your riding: https://www.elections.ca/scripts/vis/FindED?L=e&PAGEID=20
Step 2: Make contact
- Contact the campaign by phone.
- Ask for a call-back from the candidate, or to make a one-on-one meeting.
- The campaign will ask for some information and either direct you to the campaign manager or take a message.
Step 3: Engage and inquire
- Speak with the candidate, either in-person or over the phone (alternately, if the candidate isn’t made available, talk to the Campaign Manager).
- Refer to key points in our document “Building Canada’s Green Economy,” describe your organization’s efforts to become more sustainable, and why you believe it is important.
- Turn it back to the candidate by asking how their platform promises and/or personal beliefs align with your efforts, and the efforts of our broader movement.
Write and Share a Letter to the Editor
- Why do it: Adds an important public perspective to the ongoing discussion. Raise awareness.
- Time investment: Moderate-to-low – a template is available on request.
- Potential impact: Moderate-to-high.
- Potential risk: Moderate – taking any public point of view can generate those who disagree.
Details: Share a brief letter to the editor to local print or online media describing your experience running a business in the growing green economy. Tell the readers about your efforts to be more sustainable, why they were important to you, and why it’s valuable to the community for other businesses to do the same. Challenge candidates to support the green economy. Ask your Green Economy Hub to share a sample letter with positive, non-partisan language.
Attend and Participate in Local All-Candidates Meetings
- Why do it: An opportunity to interact with the candidates, share your perspective and shape the debate.
- Time investment: Medium – debates usually take 1-2 hours of in person time.
- Potential impact: Low – local debates have limited impact other than to those in attendance.
- Potential risk: Low – as above.
All-candidates meetings and local riding debates are regularly organized by chambers of commerce, civil society groups, and media outlets. They are an excellent opportunity to pose a question about the green economy to the candidates and the next MP for the riding. Most communities will play host to one of the 100 Debates on the Environment, an excellent opportunity to address this issue.
Sample question for all candidates:
“I am the operator of a [sector] business here in the city. We have worked to improve our environmental sustainability, for example by [undertaking a lighting retrofit / replacing a boiler / investing in more energy efficient equipment] as part of a larger and growing movement towards the green economy. My question for all the candidates is: how will you as an MP, and your party in government, help grow the green economy and encourage other businesses to follow suit?”
100 Debates on the Environment: Find one in your community – https://www.100debates.ca/
“100 debates on the Environment has a simple mission: to make the environment an issue that no party and no candidate can ignore by organizing more than 100 inclusive, politically neutral, and environment-focused all-candidates debates in communities across Canada.”
Support Community-Led Climate Action Events
- Why do it: Be attentive to the growing community and youth movement on the climate.
- Time investment: Low – use social media posts.
- Potential impact: Low – in general but more impactful for the participants!
- Potential risk: Low-to-moderate.
Events like the ongoing student-led Fridays for Future and the broadly supported Global Climate Strike will have a major impact on the election campaign. There are ways your business can be involved with, or share support for these movements, if that makes sense in your business context. For example: consider inviting student organizers to speak with your staff.
These events also present an excellent opportunity to tie your social media presence with the broader climate action movement. Communicate your organization’s sustainability successes during these events, and recognize that there’s more to do.
Here are sample social media posts:
Our team has worked hard to become more #sustainable, doing our part to build Canada’s #greeneconomy by [activity] and [activity]. [insert link to your org sustainability profile on Hub website]
We’re proud to be one of over 250 #GreenEconomyLeaders committed to reducing our environmental impact as a member of [Hub Handle/Tag] @GreenEconomyCa.
For events in your community, visit: