We are the Climate Majority

November 1, 2019 

As I watched the results roll in on election night, I felt a mix of exhilaration and exhaustion. At Leadnow, we spent months planning our campaign. In fact, we could barely remember a time when we weren’t thinking about this election! 

Then it all happened so fast. 

Results came in, ridings were called and soon it was over. Justin Trudeau would remain Prime Minister, but without a majority. Canadians rebuked the Liberals, but also rejected Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives, the only major party without a serious climate plan. 

Like many of you, I woke up the next morning and groggily asked, What happens now? 

Let’s go back to how we put together our election plan. Early on, we consulted with you, our community, and heard loud and clear that there were two things you wanted to see happen. 

  • You wanted the next parliament to take bold action on climate change. 

  • And you wanted to prevent the Conservatives from forming government. 

Early polls pointed towards a minority government, but we were wary of ending up with a majority. We recognized that, whatever the exact makeup of the next government, the only way to get through the partisan logjam was to elect ‘climate champions’, from multiple parties, who pledged to work across party lines to fight climate change with real, scientifically-validated policies. These climate champions would inspire and energize their parties towards more ambitious climate commitments in line with a Green New Deal. 

That’s how Cooperate for Climate was born.

We sent this survey to candidates from every major party, asking them to commit to working across party lines for climate commitments, such as: 

  • A reduction of Canada’s GHG emissions of at least 50% from 2005 levels by 2030, reaching net zero by 2050

  • A legislated accountability framework to ensure parliament meets these targets

  • A commitment to climate justice, including support for implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People in Canada

  • Forming a climate caucus, where members from different parties work together and put climate above politics

In addition to the survey, teams of Leadnow volunteers across the country secured commitments in person at candidate meetings. In total 228 candidates from different parties pledged to do politics differently and cooperate for climate action. 

As the election heated up, we made over 185,000 phone calls and knocked on over 10,000 doors to help elect climate champions in eight tight battleground ridings

Together, we made this the climate change election. 

On election night, fully two-thirds of voters chose parties that had made firm climate change commitments. Twenty-seven of our climate champions were elected, including five out of eight of Leadnow’s recommended candidates in battleground ridings. 

Although some media pundits focused on division, what we saw were Canadians not only voting for climate action, but rejecting Andrew Scheer’s do-nothing denialism. New exit polling confirms that the lack of a credible climate plan cost the Conservatives pivotal seats. The lesson for all political parties -- the days when you can ignore the climate crisis and expect to win are gone. 

We have a Canadian consensus on climate change. We call this consensus the Climate Majority. 

This week Justin Trudeau visited the Governor General and asked to form a government. He should know that the MPs who will join him in Ottawa overwhelmingly support climate action at the scale the scientific community deems necessary to avoid catastrophic climate change. Trudeau may lead a minority government, but those who recognize the climate threat and support bold, systemic change are in the majority. 

Where do we go from here? 

  • We now call on the Liberals to cooperate for climate, and work with other parties on a made-in-Canada Green New Deal. This includes investing millions in new clean energy jobs, ending fossil fuel subsidies, and respecting Indigenous and migrant rights. Only through a Green New Deal can we combat the climate crisis while supporting workers and communities with a Just Transition. 

  • We call on all parties to support the creation of a cross-party Climate Caucus, where MPs work together towards innovative climate solutions, without the intense partisanship which is too often a product of our political system. What better way to represent the majority of Canadians who support climate action than with a climate caucus dedicated to policy breakthroughs not for one party or government, but for a sustainable Canadian future? 

On election day, our votes sent a powerful message. But the work’s not done. In the coming days and weeks, the priorities of the next government will be set. 

Canada’s climate majority will need to raise its voice and demand a climate caucus and a made-in-Canada Green New Deal that transitions our economy and leaves no one behind. 

Sign and share our petition here