Throughout the last five months, Community Climate Hubs have been busy preparing for their municipal elections. Across British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, and the Northwest Territories, thousands of people have gone or will soon be going to the polls voting in new mayors, councillors, and school trustees that will serve their communities for the next few years. Elections can be especially pivotal for municipal climate action, as they offer a chance for councils to renew their commitments towards climate action - or be replaced with those who will. As the leader of the Maple Ridge Climate Hub notes in their preparation for organizing around the municipal elections: “It was critical that we elect a council that understands the science, gets the urgency, and knows what the solutions can be.”
“It was critical that we elect a council that understands the science, gets the urgency, and knows what the solutions can be.”
As Community Climate Hubs, our aim is to raise municipal ambition on climate action. An election is a key time to put that mandate into action, whether it be, for example, through creating a questionnaire to candidates on climate or organizing candidate debates highlighting questions on climate. Initiatives such as these showcase candidates’ standpoints on climate issues, and highlight climate as an important issue for citizens to think about when they cast their ballots. Some of the highlights of these last few months have been the work done in Winnipeg, Manitoba and in Maple Ridge, British Columbia.
In Winnipeg, the Climate Reality Project Canada’s Regional Engagement Coordinator for the Prairies, Adrian Werner helped to coordinate a coalition of 26 local environmental organizations to work together on creating a Mayoral Candidate Forum on the Environment. All but one of the 11 mayoral candidates attended. Over 250 people attended and another 50+ were following along online in the livestreamed version. Such an event confirmed climate as a priority issue for citizens, and demonstrated the eagerness of local citizens to hear candidates’ environmental platforms. When asked about the experience, Adrian said that “the key to success was providing multiple opportunities for organizations to engage or disengage based on their capacity while remaining informed about the project so they could help whenever they were able.” He also encourages other Hubs to use their networks to collaborate on shared projects because it allows time for important inclusive decision-making and tends to energize people wanting to make a difference in their city.
Municipal Election Resource Database
The following dates are when municipal elections have occurred or will take place this Fall:
- British Columbia - Oct 15
- Northwest Territories - Oct 17
- Ontario - Oct 24
- Manitoba - Oct 26
- Prince Edward Island - Nov 7