Citizen Action Monitor

How Ottawa’s grassroots citizen advocacy team plans to get the federal government it wants in October

Ecology Ottawa team wants a government committed to the environment, to clean energy, air, and water

No 1396 Posted by fw, July 11, 2015

“Ecology Ottawa volunteers are already going door-to-door in [swing riding] communities. We are asking people about the environmental issues that matter most to them. We are providing information to help people make an informed decision and we are trying to get people involved in key riding-level electoral races that could end up being decided by just a few hundred votes. Instead of sitting on the sidelines, we are laying the foundation for a short AND long-term conversation about how we can all work together to demand environmental leadership.”Ecology Ottawa

As an Ottawa native, born and bred, I am deeply envious of my home town for having Ecology Ottawa, a dynamic, volunteer-driven, citizen advocacy team, and city hall watchdog. Relatively new to the political game, it cites with pride two important achievements:

  • Ecology Ottawa was instrumental in re-engaging the City of Ottawa in climate change planning beginning with the March 2013 GHG Roundtable.
  • Ecology Ottawa has been a prime mover in gaining commitment from Ontario and the federal government to fund the Ottawa River Action Plan to stop raw sewage being dumped into the Ottawa River.

And now it is launching a campaign to get the federal government it wants in the upcoming election.

I wish them all the best. If only Windsor had a comparable citizens’ group I might stop dreaming of moving to Guelph to hook up with its remarkable Transition Guelph team. Sigh!

Until that day, I can soak up the inspiration derived from Ecology Ottawa’s emails, such as the one I received today, posted below.

So with a tip of the hat to the Ecology Ottawa team, here’s the message.

**********

Ecology Ottawa

100 days left until the next federal election — email from Ecology Ottawa, July 11, 2015

Hi

What is the single most important thing that you can do to make sure that the next federal government moves Canada in the right direction?

There’s no easy answer to this question – and please don’t trust anyone who tells you otherwise – but there are a number of close races in the Ottawa area that provide a great opportunity to promote environmental leadership.

Canada goes to the polls on October 19, but the real work is going to happen over the next 100 days. Democracy is about a lot more than just voting on election day and there are a lot of ways that you can make a difference.

Ecology Ottawa wants a federal government that is committed to environmental leadership. We want a government that cares about greenspace, public transit, clean water, clean air, and clean energy.

As a grassroots environmental organization focused on the City of Ottawa, we know that there is only so much that we can do to influence a national election. We know that if a massive “Orange Wave”, “Red Tide”, or “Blue Lagoon” washes across Canada then the outcome of most election races will be pre-determined.

But we also know that those of us who care about the environment are in this for the long haul. We know that right now the election is looking like a three horse race and, most importantly, we know that there are places in the City of Ottawa where real change is possible.

The outcome of the next election in ridings like Orléans and Ottawa West Nepean is far from clear, and these ridings will be hotly contested areas for years to come. Spending time and energy in these places is not only an opportunity to promote environmental leadership in the short-term, it is also part of a long-term strategy to demonstrate to all of the political parties that people who care about the environment are organizing in key swing ridings.

That’s why Ecology Ottawa volunteers are already going door-to-door in these communities. We are asking people about the environmental issues that matter most to them. We are providing information to help people make an informed decision and we are trying to get people involved in key riding-level electoral races that could end up being decided by just a few hundred votes.

Instead of sitting on the sidelines, we are laying the foundation for a short AND long-term conversation about how we can all work together to demand environmental leadership.

So today, with only 100 days to go before the next federal election, we are writing to ask you to get involved. Please consider doing one or both of the following two things:

First, commit to joining our direct door-to-door outreach at least one night a week for the next three months. That’s roughly twelve evenings over the next 100 days. We’ll provide training, coordinate the outreach, and make sure that your valuable time makes a short AND long-term contribution to promoting environmental leadership. Just four hours a week of your time can make a big difference. If this is a commitment that you can make, please click here.

Second, we understand that many of you are working several jobs and running a household, so, if you can’t contribute your valuable time, then please make a donation. Or, better yet, organize a living room fundraising event with your friends. We’ll work with you to plan the event and we’ll make sure that your money helps keep organizers in the field building a strong, local, environmental movement.

There are 100 days left until the next federal election. There are lots of ways that you can help make a difference. This election is too important for any of us to sit on the sidelines.

Thanks for all you do,

Graham, Taylor, Alex, Kanwar, and the Ecology Ottawa team

SEE ALSO

So you want to fight city hall. Here’s how: Pt 1/3: Build a citizen advocacy organization — posted September 24, 2010 — In composing her Organize to Win presentation, Liz Benneian drew on two resources: great mentoring from other community organizers and justice campaigners; and “do / don’t-do” lessons learned from an analysis of Oakvillegreen’s Conservation Association’s own advocacy battles.

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