As we come to the end of a summer with some of the highest recorded temperatures, Elections Canada’s decision to declare climate crisis ads as partisan activities during the election period fueled a lot of reactions across the country.
Although Election Canada says it only applies to “activities or ads that specifically identify a candidate or party,” Dianne Saxe, former environmental commissioner of Ontario, argues that such regulations means the absence of science-based information.
“It’s absolutely outrageous. It’s wrong in law, it’s harmful to this election and it’s dangerous to public trust,” Saxe said in an interview with CBC Radio’s Metro Morning.
The decision came after the leader of the People’s Party of Canada, Maxime Bernier, made some remarks questioning the urgency and legitimacy of the climate crisis. As a result of such claims, any groups planning to run paid advertisements over $500 must now register with the government as a third party.
While there’s much misinformation and fake news threatening our democracy, declaring such an important issue as partisan is stopping environmental organizations from carrying the facts and helping Canadians make the best decisions throughout the election.
The environmental crisis is not an opinion. Nor is it a choice. It has become everyone’s responsibility, especially our leaders, to start making decisions that will positively affect our planet. And if we can’t even talk about it during elections, we are destined to remain blind.
Graphic by Victoria Blair