GreenPAC marked World Environment Day Wednesday by announcing plans to host near-simultaneous election debates in 100 ridings on October 7, just two weeks before Canadians go to the polls in this year’s next federal election.
The organization says it already has 65 of the debates confirmed. It’s putting on a country-wide push with a wide mix of partners to get the remaining sessions in place.
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“Issue-based all-candidates debates have never taken place in Canada on this scale,” GreenPAC notes  in a release. “Each debate will have community hosts and moderators. These include local businesses and non-profit organizations, health and medical groups, schools, colleges and universities, and individuals.”
“Concerns such as climate change and water pollution are now ballot box issues for voters from all walks of life,” said Executive Director Sabrina Bowman. “100 Debates is a solution-oriented, non-partisan forum for Canadians who want to see our political leaders work together to build a safe and healthy environmental future.”
Bowman added that debate organizers “are already in place from Charlottetown to Penticton, and from Milton to Yellowknife.” The 100 Debates Facebook page  lists confirmed events in the federal ridings of Halifax, Charlottetown, New Brunswick Southwest, Fredericton, Beauséjour, York Centre, Wellington-Halton Hills, Waterloo, University-Rosedale, Toronto-Danforth, Sudbury, Richmond Hill, Pickering-Uxbridge, Peterborough-Kawartha, Parkdale-High Park, Ottawa West-Nepean, Ottawa Centre, Oakville North-Burlington, Oakville, Milton,, London-Fanshawe, Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lake, Kitchener-Conestoga, Hamilton Centre, Guelph, Dufferin-Caledon, Don Valley West, Winnipeg Centre, Elmwood-Transcona, Saskatoon-University, Vancouver Granville, South Okanagan-West Kootenay, Calgary-Confederation, Banff-Airdrie, and Northwest Territories, among others.
GreenPAC is a non-partisan political action committee formed ahead of the 2015 election to endorse environmental leaders across the political spectrum in federal and provincial campaigns. In the 2015 vote, 14 of its 18 endorsees from four federal parties won their campaigns, three of them currently sit in cabinet, and one is a party leader. [Disclosure: The Energy Mix publisher Mitchell Beer is a former communications consultant to GreenPAC, and currently sits on its Council of Advisors.]Opinion research over the last couple of months has found nine million Canadians declaring  climate change their top or top-two voting issue and 48% identifying  it as a lead policy concern.