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100 Debates put Environment front and centre in Federal Election

Friday, October 4th 2019 7:42:50am

Last night saw unprecedented support for environmental leadership

Toronto, October 4, 2019 -- Large crowds at last night’s 100 Debates on the Environment across the country demonstrated that concern about the environment is fueling a powerful force that no party and no candidate can ignore in this election.  

Of the 104 confirmed debates nation-wide, 95 have taken place (9 debates are scheduled during the coming week). Overnight reporting indicates, 100 Debates on the Environment were attended by well over 10,000 Canadians at the locally organized debates.

“Protecting our land, air and water requires political leadership," stated Sabrina Bowman, Executive Director of GreenPAC. “Last night, thousands of Canadians showed they cared and sent a crystal-clear message to whichever party forms the next government: Canadians are watching and expect much more attention to environmental issues.”
“Voters will hold individual MPs from all parties to account in the next Parliament,” observed  Davon Callander, an organizer of the Yukon environmental debate.  “We don’t want party speaking points, we want to see that each MP will make sure their party is doing much more to create a safe climate and a healthy environment.”

Issue-themed candidates’ debates have never taken place on this scale in Canada. Hosted by local non-profits, scientists, health professionals and businesses, the debates took place in church basements and auditoriums in nearly every province and territory, with urban, suburban and rural ridings all well represented.

Each debate asked specific questions on climate change, wilderness protection, toxic pollution and water. Each was videotaped, with footage available here.

Of the debates reporting, candidates representing the following parties attended:
- 96% of Liberals
- 39% of Conservatives
- 79% of NDP
- 96% of Greens
- 43% of People’s Party
- 100% Bloc Québécois (for Quebec ridings only).

Here are just a few highlights from across the country:

– Debates featured high-profile Ministers running for re-election, including Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna (Ottawa Centre, ON), Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland,(University-Rosedale, ON), Minister of International Development and Minister for Women and Gender Equality Maryam Monsef (Peterborough-Kawartha, ON), Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility Carla Qualtrough (Delta, BC), and Minister of Tourism and Official Languages Melanie Joly (Ahuntsic-Cartierville, QC), and Minister of Tourism and Official Languages Melanie Joly (Ahuntsic-Cartierville, QC).

– Independent MP Jody Wilson-Raybould (Vancouver-Granville) and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May (Saanich-Gulf Islands, BC) also attended debates in their communities.

– One of the largest debates, in Ottawa Centre, was attended by 800 residents.  

– Debates in several ridings were at capacity or had to turn people away at the door. In Peterborough-Kawartha, ON, and Cowichan-Malihat-Langford, BC, local organizers responded by live-streaming the event at additional venues in the riding.

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100 Debates on the Environment is a project coordinated by GreenPAC. Visit www.100debates.ca for more information on the project.

Launched in 2015, GreenPAC is Canada’s non-partisan non-profit organization that works to build environmental leadership in politics. GreenPAC’s other initiatives include a political internship program on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, as well as a non-partisan endorsement program for aspiring political candidates with a demonstrated commitment to the environment. Visit www.greenpac.ca for more information.

For more information or interview requests including with local organizers, please contact:
Kate Belmore, GreenPAC, 647-457-3075, k.belmore@greenpac.ca

Left to right, Green Party candidate Tim Grant, NDP candidate Melissa Jean Baptiste Vajda, and Liberal Candidate Christia Freeland debate environmental issues at the University of Toronto as part of 100 Debates on the Environment. Over 235 attended the October 3 debate. Hi-resolution images available upon request.

Over 800 community members attend Ottawa Centre Environment Debate, one-of-four Ottawa area debates. Hi-resolution image available upon request.