Ignoring the environment will cost candidates, says poll

A poll found candidates who ignore the upcoming all-candidates debate on the environment — including the one in Coquitlam — could face a backlash from voters

Ignoring the environment could be a ballot-box issue in the upcoming federal election. 

That’s according to results of a recent Mainstream Research poll asking Canadians how they would respond if a candidate were to skip one of the 100 environmental all-candidates debates — including one in Coquitlam — slated for next week.  

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The survey found 60% of Canadians are less likely to vote for a candidate that doesn’t show up to one of the debates, and a majority said such a candidate would be out of touch with most Canadians. 

"Poll after poll shows that the environment is a top voting priority for Canadians," said Ari Pottens, Manager of 100 Debates on the Environment, in a press release. "Now we know there is a political cost for being AWOL on this issue."

At a time when climate change appears to be playing a major factor in a federal election, more than 260 candidates have confirmed they would attend the environmental debates across Canada.

The poll found 48% of Canadians consider climate change and the environment "very important" when considering who to vote for, while another 29% considered the issue "important." Only 9% of voters said it is "not important at all."

The issue resonated the most among women and those over 65, according to the poll. Young people are also lending their voice in calling for action on climate change after School District 43 issued a letter this week to parents saying it would excuse students to participate in the demonstrations with parents’ consent.

The 100 Debates on the Environment is a national initiative to hold politically neutral debates focused on the environment. Most of the debates will be held on Oct. 3 in over 100 ridings across the country.

The Tri-Cities Environment Debate, however, will be hosted Monday, Oct. 9, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Douglas College’s Coquitlam campus (Douglas College Lecture Theatre A1470, 1250 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam).   

Most of the candidates from Port Moody-Coquitlam and Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam have confirmed their attendance. 

You can RSVP here.

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