When was GreenPAC created?
GreenPAC was created before the 2015 federal election. Since then we have gone on to run successful endorsement campaigns in the Manitoba (2016), B.C. (2017), Ontario (2018), and Federal (2019) elections.
We have also expanded the scope of our work and piloted innovative programs like our Parliamentary Internship for the Environment (www.greenpac.ca/internship) and 100 Debates on the Environment (www.100debates.ca).
How does GreenPAC work?
During elections, GreenPAC screens political candidates and identifies proven environmental leaders in all major parties. Then we drive donations of time and money to our endorsed candidates to help them win.
How is GreenPAC different from American PACs?
Any similarities to an American PAC are in name only. GreenPAC seeks only to endorse political candidates who have demonstrated environmental leadership. We ask Canadians to pledge their financial and volunteer support directly to the candidates’ campaigns. GreenPAC will not pool funds from political donors, nor will we directly donate or fund any campaigns as an organization.
Canada has strict laws on political donations that limit an American-style Political Action Committee from forming in Canada, and GreenPAC adheres to the letter and spirit of these rules.
I’m a political candidate with a demonstrated record of environmental leadership. How can I be endorsed by GreenPAC?
The GreenPAC endorsement process is done by our Expert Panel, made up of credible, independent members who have no ties to political parties and are not on the payroll of any environmental NGOs. Panel members reflect a diversity of views from various parts of the country and areas of expertise. They have profile and integrity.
What criteria does the Expert Panel use to make their endorsements?
Our Panel is looking for political leaders who know how to get things done when it comes to the environment. They are not looking at campaign promises or platforms. Rather, candidates are assessed on what they have accomplished on environmental issues.
Environmental leaders are those who work to identify environmental problems through the lens of their own experience and moral values, are committed to leveraging their area of expertise to achieve positive environmental outcomes in their professional and private lives, and act as a catalyst towards a more sustainable society.
In addition, to receive an endorsement, the candidate must also have a reasonable shot at winning.
Will GreenPAC endorse candidates in all ridings?
In order to ensure that GreenPAC can have the most impact for the candidates we endorse, endorsements will be focused on a small number of candidates. We will not be endorsing in all or even most ridings.
GreenPAC will endorse candidates from "all major parties". What parties are included?
GreenPAC’s Expert Panel will endorse at least one candidate from each party that has official party status. Considerations will be made for candidates from other represented parties provided that they meet environmental leadership and winnability criteria.
GreenPAC only endorses candidates that meet the winnability criteria. Which candidates are considered "winnable"?
Our general rule is that a candidate is considered winnable if their party has lost by less than 10% of the votes in the past three elections. That being said, candidates can make the case for their winnability if they don't meet this criteria when they fill out a nomination form (available during elections).
What do you do between election campaigns?
We try to be involved at some level in all provincial elections, which keeps us pretty busy. But outside of endorsement campaigns and other elections, we manage our Parliamentary Internship for the Environment, booth at community events, and keep track of our endorsed politicians. Last year, we held the largest coordinated debates event in Canadian history as part of our 100 Debates project.
What is the GreenPAC Parliamentary Internship for the Environment?
The GreenPAC Parliamentary Internship for the Environment is a leadership development program that places young environmental stars with MPs from across the political spectrum. For ten months our interns immerse themselves and learn the inner workings of federal government, as well as attend workshops, committee meetings, leadership development training, and sit-downs with environmental champions.
For more information, check out our Parliamentary Internship for the Environment page at www.greenpac.ca/internship
Does GreenPAC set policy or take a political stance on certain environmental issues?
No, GreenPAC is a political organization that believes that Canada needs parliamentarians in office who put the environment first. As an organization we generally do not take stances on specific environmental policies.
What is your connection to the Green Party?
None. GreenPAC is a non-partisan organization that believes that environmental concerns are not a one-party issue.
Who funds GreenPAC? Do you accept corporate donations? If so, will it be made public?
GreenPAC is funded by like-minded Canadians who want to see environmental concerns appropriately represented in Canadian politics. While many of these individuals have made personal donations (non-charitable), we also rely heavily on volunteer hours and in-kind contributions from those involved with the organization.
We do not solicit donations from political candidates. GreenPAC accepts corporate donations, and revenue from fundraising events. Any donation, from any source, over $50,000 will be disclosed.
We adhere to all relevant electoral law provisions governing third parties, including disclosure of donations for any third party spending during elections.
Why should we focus on electing individual MPs when party discipline limits their ability to make a difference in Ottawa?
Though party discipline is hardly new in Canada, there has been a troubling long-term trend of MPs choosing to relinquish the power and authority that they already have under our system of government to party leaders' offices. In reality, MPs do have the power to be more independent — they can speak out in caucus, be more assertive in committee, lobby their Ministers and advance private member’s bills. Instead, as many groups like Samara Canada have noted, they’re often self-censoring and choosing to toe the party line. In contrast, most of the instances where we have seen leadership on the environment and other issues in the last couple of decades, have been due to the actions of individual MPs who have played a determinative role and who facilitated cross-party cooperation. For example, when Parliament passed the Species At Risk Act in 2002 (arguably the last major environmental law passed at the federal level), it was because MPs in all parties – working across party lines – pushed their leaders’ offices to strengthen and pass the bill. Subsequently, the government regulated several highly toxic chemicals, like bisphenol A and perfluorinated compounds, following private member’s bills and other actions that were initiated by backbench MPs.
GreenPAC is addressing this challenge head on by directly supporting individual MPs who are willing to make use of the power they already have, to stand up for the environment. That’s one of the reasons why we focus our criteria for candidate endorsement on leadership, as opposed to whether a candidate can spout back the right words on an issue. One of the best ways to de-politicize environmental action in Ottawa is to harness the broad support that exists across the country for environmental leadership into a politically relevant base, and focusing it on electing a critical mass of MPs from all parties. When party leaders know that they will lose their seats over this issue, they will be a lot more likely to take action.
Does GreenPAC lobby politicians on specific environmental issues?
We do not lobby and and are not, nor ever have been, on political lobbying registries.
What impact will GreenPAC have? Have your candidates shown leadership in office?
We’ve already had an impact! We've helped elect over 40 environmental champions to legislatures across the country, and they have been working to move the needle forward on the environment. Some examples include:
Michael Chong, Conservative: Michael continues to be a strong voice for the environment within his party and in the All-Party Climate Caucus. In 2017, he ran for the CPC leadership race as the only candidate with a plan to address climate change.
Terry Duguid, Liberal: With his previous experience in assessing water quality and waste management, Terry was selected to lead community collaboration efforts to address toxic algae in Lake Winnipeg.
Mike Schreiner, Green: In response to the growing threat of climate change and urban sprawl, Mike introduced Bill 71 to protect the Paris Galt Moraine, an important source of drinking water for hundreds of thousands of Ontarians.
Peter Tabuns, NDP: Peter played a key role in developing the Green New Democratic Deal, a starter document that outlines a path to net-zero emissions while strengthening the economy.
The best way to stay up to date on our candidates is to subscribe to our monthly newsletter.
How can I help GreenPAC reach more Canadians?
Start by telling your friends about GreenPAC! You can send them an email asking them to get involved or join our mailing list.
You can follow us on Facebook (@envirogreenpac) and invite your friends to like our page.
GreenPAC (@greenpacdotca) is tweeting regularly, so please follow us on Twitter.