Coalition building for the environment
A thorny problem
Environmental protections in Canada had been dismantled under Prime Minister Harper. When the Liberals came to power in 2015, they promised to fix the National Energy Board and strengthen the Environmental Assessment Act, the Navigation Protection Act and the Fisheries Act.
But, national environmental organizations weren’t going to leave it to chance. Capulet joined the coalition to design a national, public-facing digital campaign that would rally supporters and put pressure on Members of Parliament (MP) and Ministers to reform these key pieces of environmental legislation.
Navigating the wilderness
Canada’s most prominent environment organizations were onboard. But we knew turf wars, conflicting interests and resource constraints could sink coalitions. Too often, valuable campaigning time is spent building consensus for branding and taglines, and campaign messages are often watered-down and uninspiring.
To avoid typical coalition pitfalls, we built online action pages using a combination of Unbounce and New/Mode. On these pages, Canadians could send letters to MPs and place phone calls to key Ministers. Then, we cloned these sites and made unique versions—in both English and French—for participating environmental orgs. That meant fewer anxieties around shared lists and each group could add their logo and tweak language without needing group consensus.
Out of the woods
At the height of the campaign, 68 microsites for 25 groups across the country had been activated and were sending emails to MPs and connecting callers with Ministers. Canadians emailed over 40,000 letters, published letters to the editor in 33 publications across Canada and made hundreds of calls to Ministers.
In June 2019, Bill C-69 was passed and included some major victories for the environment. The coordinated, distributed campaign effort meant that tens of thousands of Canadians were able to influence environmental laws that will impact Canada for generations to come.