National Post (Latest Edition)

Dear Mr. O’toole,

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Congratula­tions on becoming the new leader of the Official Opposition and the Conservati­ve Party of Canada.

We’ re members of the small change fund, a group of leaders and experts whose experience, knowledge, and connection­s help communitie­s reach their full potential. We help community advocates accomplish innovative solutions to important environmen­tal and Indigenous issues. We use the powers of storytelli­ng, community engagement, and crowdfundi­ng to achieve real, tangible impacts.

As youknow, Canadians are ready to help each other, especially when we face something challengin­g ahead. In that spirit, we offer you some perspectiv­e and guidance that will help you navigate these tough times.

First, the problem: we’re simultaneo­usly facing two challenges. THE COVID-19 crisis has shown the need to rebuild Canada: tomake it more resilient and to overcome the barriers that have impeded too many from living decent lives— fitting with your recent comment on “solidarity.” In addition, the climate crisis is forcing us to re imagine our country to dramatical­ly reduce our carbon emissions.

Inaction isn’t an option. We must work together to find solutions thatwork for everyone. We know that any recovery plan can and should be green and just for all parts of the country.

But we’re not writing to convince you of this.

Rather, we’re writing to urge you to tap into the wisdom, ideas, and enthusiasm of local groups and people from a cross Canada. The solutions and energy required to tackle these challenges lie with local experts and advocates, starting with locally- based environmen­tal groups.

Here’s why:

They care about their community, understand it, and reflect its values. Successful­ly transformi­ng your community requires passionate community advocates. Much like a small business, you can’t attract people to “buy” your solutions if you don’t understand the mor meet their needs. Such groups know their community and are its biggest ally.

They’re entreprene­urial and have a history of innovation. Thismay seem counterint­uitive since local groups are not-for-profit organizati­ons. But successful groups stretch a dollar much further than even the best business. And they know the value of money, volunteers, and sweat equity. Add to this innovation —historical­ly, locally-based groups find solutions to difficult problems and then throw their limited resources at them, making the impossible happen over and over again.

They’re tapped into global networks and knowledge. Like a good business, locally-based groups rely on networks and outside knowledge to succeed. They excel at determinin­g how best to adapt innovation to local circumstan­ces and values.

So, this is our advice: just as you meet with small local businesses to develop a business recovery plan, please consult local environmen­tal groups as you deliberate on creating A COVID-19 recovery plan. We guarantee you that their knowledge, passion, and insights will help you find a future that is green and just for all Canadians.

Mr. O’toole, congratula­tions again and we are here to offer any assistance your equire.

Sincerely,

Burkhard Mausberg, CEO Franzhartm­ann, Chief engagement officer

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 ??  ?? FORMER CITY OF MARKHAM COUNCILLOR ERIN SHARPERO ( LEFT) ENGAGES CITIZENS ON LOCAL SUSTAINABI­LITY ISSUES
FORMER CITY OF MARKHAM COUNCILLOR ERIN SHARPERO ( LEFT) ENGAGES CITIZENS ON LOCAL SUSTAINABI­LITY ISSUES

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