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Election 2019
Federal Politics

The Election and the Climate Crisis: A Tyee Reader

You asked us to make the climate emergency a key election issue. Here’s what we did.

Geoff Dembicki 16 Oct

Geoff Dembicki reports for The Tyee. His work also appears in Vice, Foreign Policy and the New York Times.

When The Tyee asked its readers to guide our election coverage by identifying five key election questions you wanted answered by candidates and parties, the number one choice was no surprise.

“Do you agree Canada should be on an emergency footing regarding climate change, and if so what actions will your party take?”

Tyee readers — and Canadians overall — wanted this election to be about the damage we are doing to our environment and what parties will do to avert disaster.

So while federal leaders fixated on each other’s individual failings, The Tyee ran story after story aimed at answering your question.

This update serves two purposes. More than 1,000 Tyee readers contributed to help fund our election coverage, and we want to show you how much we were able to do with your support. And this update gives you a chance to catch up on any stories you might have missed.

Here are some of the ways we went about answering your number one election question.

Early in the summer we profiled the youth, labour, environmental and Indigenous groups leading the charge for an economy-transforming Green New Deal in Canada. We also reported on Our Time, a youth-led movement pushing to make climate change an election issue.

We asked two experts from different backgrounds — a policy wonk and a social movement organizer — to evaluate each climate platform and break down the substantial but sometimes hard-to-discern differences between all the parties. And we took critical looks at Andrew Scheer’s climate plan, concluding it was “designed to show voters he really doesn’t care,” and Justin Trudeau’s climate record.

The Tyee asked candidates in four of Canada’s most climate-exposed ridings what they will do to confront the emergency and received a lacklustre but illuminating response.

And we reported how much — or little — the parties would do to help Vancouver, a stand-in for many cities across the country, meet its climate goals.

We ran a widely shared open letter from Mount Royal University journalism professor Sean Holman urging media to do a better job covering the climate emergency and followed that with a piece looking at the responses from leading news media organizations.

We profiled Svend Robinson, a former radical superstar in the NDP who’s returning to politics in the hopes of accelerating Canada’s fight against global heating, and Indigenous socialist NDP candidate Leah Gazan who said that bold climate action and ensuring human rights for Indigenous peoples must go hand in hand. And we talked to Green candidate Amita Kuttner, who explained why they're in favour of evidence-based policy.

Seth Klein contrasted the weakness of the political response to the climate crisis with the federal leaders’ remarkable and effective response to another crisis — the Second World War.

The Tyee interviewed experts in Canada and the U.S. about why federal leaders here are so reluctant to name and confront the main barrier to climate progress in this country — the fossil fuel industry — while leading U.S. Democratic candidates are calling for that industry’s demise. We dug into a group of Calgary oil and gas executives backing Scheer. And James Boothroyd helped us explore the political importance of the climate issue.

We were in New York to cover Greta Thunberg’s fiery call-to-arms to hundreds of thousands of teens and other people worried about climate change. And we were inside the United Nations meeting where world leaders failed to take Thunberg’s warnings about ecological collapse seriously.

Hundreds of interviews and thousands of words on one of the defining issues of our time, and Tyee readers’ most urgent election priority.

Now the decision is up to you.  [Tyee]

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