Source: CBC

The worst kept secret in BC is finally out. The election will be October 24. We hope you and your fellow climate advocates will consider meeting with the candidates in your riding. It is really important that candidates know citizens want real action on the climate crisis.

To help you feel comfortable making that lobbying appointment,  BC Climate Alliance is offering a short lobby training workshop run by experienced citizen climate lobbyists. This is open to any BC resident.

You will learn:

  • Effective non-confrontational approaches to lobbying

  • Teamwork and roles

  • Meeting preparation 

  • Making your ask*

The training will include a lobby meeting role play, time for questions  and we will provide key materials for your use.

The training will be via Zoom:

Tuesday September 29 5:30-7:00 PT / 6:30-8:00 MT

Feel free to bring your supper!

Everyone is welcome even if you know absolutely nothing about lobbying. An election campaign is a great time to dip your feet in because candidates are eager to meet.  

Please fill in this form to save your spot.

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Meeting with MLA Sonia Furstenau

What to do during a pandemic? Bake more bread? Watch more Netflix?  A number of us concerned about the climate crisis also took advantage of this time to do some organizing. We started by asking ourselves: 

Outside of partisan politics who is holding the BC government to account on its climate policies?  

The B.C. government certainly deserves credit for CleanBC and its legislated greenhouse gas  targets, but will they actually meet these goals? The climate solutions are there, but are overshadowed by a heavily subsidized fracking industry being expanded for LNG exports. The forests we rely on to sequester carbon are being logged at an unsustainable rate, and logging emissions are not being counted. There is a lot of work to do to get things right in B.C., but it can be done.

“This work is really important and worth making time for. I want to do everything I can to ensure our provincial government supports effective climate solutions.“ Heather Baitz, clinical psychologist and mother of two young children in Nanaimo.

So the time seemed right to form  a new BC climate lobby group. We started with some B.C. chapters of Citizens’ Climate Lobby and our friends at First Things First Okanagan to see if we could create an umbrella organization for groups and individuals who care about serious climate action in B.C.  Lockdown felt like a great time to plan.

Judeth Betts in the Kootenays got involved because “As a new grandmother I felt I really needed to do something effective to ensure my grandchildren have a liveable planet. The next generation is asking us to clean up our mess, and that's what I'm trying to do.”

We developed a clear statement of values, a clear ask of the B.C. government, a website and an organizational structure, all in a few months. Now we are working on recruiting more partner organizations and more individual members. Already we represent British Columbians from Vancouver and the lower mainland, the Kootenays, the Okanagan and Vancouver Island.

This September we will start lobbying key Ministers as well as MLAs in our ridings. How can you help? 

Simply joining helps bolster our numbers, so please join here and recommend that your friends and family who care about a liveable and sustainable B.C. do the same.

Would you like to lobby with us? It makes all the difference if we can include constituents. We take a non confrontational approach and work as a team. Novice lobbyists will feel fully supported and will learn a lot of new skills to make effective change. Get in touch if you’d like to take our short lobbying course this fall and join one of our teams.

We want the B.C. government to know that there are a lot of citizens watching this government’s climate agenda carefully and working to ensure accountability.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead

 Meeting with Ministerial Assistant for Carole James, BC Minister of Finance

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Updated: Jul 21, 2020

British Columbians are bracing for yet another hot and dry summer, following two summers of record wildfires and smoke. The timing was definitely right for us to travel to Victoria to lobby MLAs about the climate crisis.

We hosted meetings with NDP, Liberal and Green Party caucuses and held a number of individual lobby meetings including ones with George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, and Michelle Mungall, Minister of Energy, Mines, and Petroleum Resources.

This year we lobbied a total of 26 MLAs compared to 17 last year. We also met with the Executive Director of the BC Climate Action Secretariat. This year we lobbied one last time under the umbrella of Citizens' Climate Lobby BC before expanding into the BC Climate Alliance.

Our group of 14 included experienced lobbyists and quite a number new to the task. We made good use of Zoom in the months before to develop our asks, talk about our approach to lobbying, schedule and plan lobby meetings. All were there because of the urgency they feel about the climate crisis. One volunteer said, “ It was the birth of my first grandchild that prompted me to find the courage to ask our MLAs to take action.” Another in his early twenties knows that it is his generation that will feel the real impacts of climate change.

BC has just launched an impressive climate action plan called CleanBC for which we expressed our sincere appreciation. We are also very proud that BC was in the forefront of implementing carbon pricing. However, we are concerned about exemptions to the BC carbon tax, and the need to ensure that the price keeps rising past 2021. Several MLAs were worried that it would be hard to increase BC’s carbon tax if it is frozen at the federal level. We did see strong support for carbon pricing among MLAs from all three parties.

Another area of concern is that BC, along with Alberta, has the highest fossil fuel subsidies in Canada, and subsidy levels in BC are increasing significantly as the province expands fracking to develop an LNG industry. This raises serious questions about how BC’s legislated GHG targets can be met if the upstream methane emissions grow as anticipated.

We presented the Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources with a petition and open letter asking that financial supports be shifted from developing fracked gas and a new LNG industry, to our communities to help with the costs of reducing emissions and adapting to climate impacts. Signatures were collected in the Minister’s riding. The petition was signed by hundreds of people and the open letter was signed by most of the local governments and by various community groups, businesses and faith organizations in her constituency.

During the lobbying week we hosted a display of over 30 BC Parachutes for the Planet on the lawns of the Parliament Buildings in Victoria. The display was well attended, including a visit from several ministers and a local school.

A big benefit of the trip for all of us was getting to know lobbyists from across BC. Last year just a few communities were represented, but this year we had citizen advocates from seven different BC communities. So we made sure to plan a social evening for everyone involved. A special guest that evening was Sonia Furstenau, MLA. So we had lots to celebrate.

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