This article originally appeared on Climate Access.
Those who work on climate change were both chuffed and chagrined by its role in Canada’s federal election campaign, which peaked last week with the victory of Liberal leader Justin Trudeau and defeat of Conservative incumbent Stephen Harper.
“The environment” — a catch-all concept that often encompasses concern about climate change — consistently ranked close to economy and healthcare on voters' list of top priorities. Oilsands and climate change issues took up nearly a quarter of the first leaders debate, commanding more than twice the airtime they did in 2011. Several media outlets ran editorials calling on all parties to take a strong stance on reducing GHG emissions or put a price on carbon.
To quote professor and commentator George Hoberg, “energy and environmental issues have become central to Canadian electoral politics.”
Despite all of this, climate change didn’t have a significant impact on the election’s outcome. Fundamentally this was a campaign about values where action on global warming was bundled into a broader set of aspirations and ideas that Canadians said yes to on October 19th.