How to get involved and help elect a greener city council

Monday, October 22nd is the date of the municipal elections for Ottawa.  That means we have the opportunity to elect a city council and mayor who prioritize a green, healthy and liveable Ottawa for the next four years.

Ecology Ottawa sees the upcoming election as an important opportunity to elect a greener city council. We want city councillors who value sustainable modes of transportation like walking, cycling and transit, who seek to preserve and enhance Ottawa’s trees, greenspaces and waterways, and who are committed to strong action on climate change. We can only achieve this vision if hundreds of people across the city come together to take action.

Passionate about the environment and want to help out? Here are different ways you can get involved.

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1. Door-to-door outreach canvass

2. Organize a flyer drop

3. Phone bank to recruit volunteers

4. Organize an all-candidates’ debate on the environment in your ward

5. Ask your candidates to respond to our all-candidates’ survey

6. Attend a debate in your ward and ask your candidates about their environmental priorities

7. Ask candidates about their environmental priorities when they come to your door

1. Door-to-door outreach canvass

The most important action you can take in the election is to conduct direct outreach – to help us speak to the thousands of voters who want environmental leadership but need to know more in order to place their vote. This is the most effective way to communicate directly with the voters who will determine the future composition of council. It’s a chance to find out what environmental issues matter to voters, to enlist their support for a greener city council, and to get their contact information in order to share events, candidate survey results and other information at critical moments.

Getting involved in our door campaign is easy: just join the team of Ecology Ottawa volunteers going out to canvasses several times a week. Contact our organizer Dana to sign up.

Door-to-door canvassing is more fun when you’re joined by dozens of other people. With that in mind, Ecology Ottawa is organizing three mass canvass days in priority areas of the city – two “Storm the Ward” events over the summer and one “Get Out the Vote” event towards election day. These are opportunities for new volunteers to get involved, and for a massive amount of people to knock on thousands of doors in a few hours. Best of all, they’re a lot of fun.

The two Storm the Ward days are scheduled for July 29 and August 26 at 3:30 pm. You can contact Dana (dana.taylor@ecologyottawa.ca) to sign up and find out about Get Out the Vote days.

2. Organize a flyer drop

We expect all responses to our survey to be in by mid-August, with findings for public consumption by late August / early September. This also happens to be the time that voters start paying closer attention to the election. The flyer drop will consist of delivering ward-level summaries of candidates’ responses to our environmental survey to voters in your ward. 

If you would like to organize in your ward, we’re here to help. Contact Dana Taylor (dana.taylor@ecologyottawa.ca) to let her know you would like to conduct a flyer drop in your ward. Ecology Ottawa will help by preparing and printing materials, and by connecting you with other volunteers in your area.

3. Phone bank to recruit volunteers

We need volunteers! We’re phoning up the hundreds of people who express an interest in volunteering at Ecology Ottawa and are looking for ways to get involved. We’re organizing phone banks on a regular basis to drum up support for our campaign and to grow our network of community organizers. Join us by emailing Dana Taylor at dana.taylor@ecologyottawa.ca.

4. Organize an all-candidates’ debate on the environment in your ward

All-candidates’ debates are a great way to hear directly from candidates about their positions and platforms. By airing key questions in a public forum, we also get a chance to alert engaged citizens and community leaders as well.

Organizing an all-candidates’ debate in your ward can be easy, especially if you start planning early and involve other groups and community associations. If you are interested in organizing a debate, we would be happy to lend a hand. Email vi.bui@ecologyottawa to get started.

5. Ask your candidates to respond to our all-candidates’ survey

Ecology Ottawa has issued an all-candidates’ survey to every candidate for mayor and council in this election. The goal is to find out where candidates stand on key environmental issues. This is important as a way to connect with and educate council candidates on the key environmental initiatives at play in the city, but this effort requires more than a few emails and phone calls to candidates. One key challenge will be to get candidates to respond to our survey. To do this, we need volunteers to ask candidates to respond to the survey. Plus, it is a lot more impactful when candidates hear from residents in their ward.

You can find out the candidates in your ward and check out who has responded to our survey by visiting ecoott.ca/surveyresults.

You can download the all-candidates’ survey, as well as see the list of local candidates and their contact information, by visiting ecoott.ca/survey.

We encourage you to email or call your local candidates to talk about the Ecology Ottawa’s all-candidates’ survey. Even better, arrange a meeting or host a meet-and greet to get to know your candidates and talk to them about key environmental issues in your ward. Reach out to us at vi.bui@ecologyottawa.ca if you need help hosting or preparing for a meeting.

6. Attend a debate in your ward and ask your candidates about their environmental priorities

If organizing a debate isn’t your cup of tea, you can also attend one. An all-candidates-debate is an opportunity for candidates to directly hear from their constituents. That’s you! Using Ecology Ottawa’s all-candidates’ survey as a guide, you can attend the debates hosted in your ward and ask your candidates questions about their environmental priorities and their plan to address environmental issues specific to your ward.

7. Ask candidates about their environmental priorities when they come to your door

Many candidates are already out there knocking on doors in their ward to talk to their voters. Some might have already knocked on your door. One way to bring environmental issues forward is to let them know you care. Tell them about local issues your ward is facing, as well as city-wide issues outlined in Ecology Ottawa’s all-candidates’ survey.

Have ideas about how else you can help? Let us know! 

 

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