Non-Partisan Political Action
Non Partisan Advocacy Working Group Report for 2016 AGM
Slowly but surely, as the ‘advocacy chill’ felt by most environmental organizations over the past half decade starts to recede, the Suzuki Elders are finding their way back into non partisan advocacy. In doing this we are mindful of our placement within the Foundation and recognize that political activities are still bound by CRA guidelines.
To that end we have found within us a chair, Simon Wheeler, for the about-to-be-formed Non Partisan Advocacy working group. The 2016/17 strategic work plan contains several advocacy initiatives, and we are in dialogue with Foundation staff about effective ways to align Suzuki Elder advocacy work with DSF issues and projects.
During 2015/16 the Elders undertook several non partisan activities.
- Last summer’s Suzuki Elder retreat included a full day of training in non partisan advocacy background and methods, led by DSF staff Steve Kux and Alvin Singh.
- During the fall 2015 federal election campaign we co-sponsored an all-candidate forum with the Environment and Social Justice Committees of the Unitarian Church of Vancouver. The well-advertised event attracted 75 people who, after listening to presentations from candidates, engaged in what one candidate later said was a “very civil and thoughtful dialogue” on the issues presented.
- The Elders made two submissions to the BC Climate Change Leadership Plan, both written by Simon Wheeler.
- Suzuki Elders were involved in forming an International Alliance of Grandparents for the Climate, which included co-writing letters to Heads of State attending the COP 21 meetings in Paris in November 2015.
- A letter of congratulation was written from the Suzuki Elders to the new Prime Minister in December 2015. This also allowed us to introduce ourselves and our work.
Materials prepared by Diana Ellis.
Over time, about 1/3 of members have indicated an interest in non-partisan advocacy. For various reasons, this advocacy work has been held in abeyance for several years but can now move forward, utilizing an agreed-upon process and overseen by the Council and its executive.