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GreenPAC looks to reshape federal electoral politics

by Mark Sabourin
EcoLog, 4/2/2015 11:20:00 AM

Candidates in the next federal election will have their green credentials vetted by an independent panel. Those who pass muster can expect to reap rewards in the form of additional campaign funding. If the program works, the next federal Parliament will be more sympathetic to the environment than its predecessor.

That’s the idea behind GreenPAC, a novel new organization that hopes to help shape the next Parliament and those that follow.

“Our mandate is political transformation,” Aaron Freeman, owner of Pivot Strategic Consulting in Toronto and GreenPAC founder, told EcoLog News.

Money doesn’t determine election results, “but it still plays a very important role,” says Freeman. Candidates with environmental expertise “typically . . . are going up against much better funded, much better connected candidates,” he says. GreenPAC is hoping to level the playing field, says Freeman.

GreenPAC has assembled a diverse panel of experts unconnected with environmental organizations or political parties, says Freeman. That panel will vet candidates in the next federal election, scheduled for October 19, 2015, looking not at party platforms but at past actions.

“We want to know what you’ve accomplished,” says Freeman.

At the same time, GreenPAC will also collect pledges from individuals, asking them to list their driving issues and concerns. It will then link up like-minded candidates and citizens, hoping that the dollars pledged will be transformed into donations of money and/or time to the recommended candidate and that the impact will eventually be felt at the ballot box.

Freeman cautions that Green Party candidates shouldn’t automatically expect to receive GreenPAC’s imprimatur. There’s one other criterion: winnability.

“You’ve got to have a shot at winning,” says Freeman, so fringe candidates are out, and any candidate who feels unfairly excluded from GreenPAC’s consideration is welcome to try to change GreenPAC’s mind.

GreenPAC was launched March 28, 2015 at Toronto’s Green Living Show to a standing room only audience, says Freeman. Response so far has been overwhelmingly positive.

Within the next few weeks, expect GreenPAC to release its criteria for assessing candidates. He promises the program will be ready for the October 19, 2015 vote.

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