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SHIFTING ACTION looks at the massive opportunity for the MTB community and the broader outdoor community to lobby for policy action. Written By Dave Erb

Modern society seems to thrive when 3 pillars of society work in conjunction. The 3 pillars being government, corporations & NGO’s (Non-Governmental Organizations) which include non-profits like POW Canada. Our job is to push against AND sometimes also with government and corporations ensuring checks and balances and that initiatives and policies are not purely led by profit. This is where lobbying comes in.

Some people think “lobbying” is a 4 letter word. By definition (according to lobbying is any attempt by individuals or private interest groups to influence the decisions of government.  From healthcare, to affordable housing to energy and environment, lobbying is a common tactic to ensure your interests are taken into consideration when policy is drafted and passed. 

The fossil fuel industry is REALLY good at lobbying. Actually, in May 2023, fossil fuel lobbyists had 146 lobby meetings with government officials in three departments; Climate Change and Environment, Natural Resources and Innovation. 146! OK,  regardless of their messaging, we have to give them props for their hussle………………that equates to 6 meetings per day!   

But this is where it gets interesting. In the US, according to the Department of Economic Analysis, the Outdoor Recreation Economy is almost 3 times bigger than the fossil fuel industry. That’s right, the Outdoor industry has $887 billion USD of economic impact annually compared to $304 billion USD  from the fossil fuel industry.  Here in Canada, we are working with researchers from the University of Waterloo to measure the size of Canada’s outdoor industry, but earlier analysis paints a similar picture to the US. 

This highlights the massive opportunity for the outdoor industry to own the narrative on climate change and shift the focus in Ottawa to a conversation about economic vitality within communities across the country.  Not only is it about clean air, clean water and a healthy planet, but it’s also about jobs which resonates with all political parties. 

So here’s POW’s 3 ingredient secret sauce. 

#1. Our athlete ambassadors are wizards at opening doors in Ottawa - politicians love professional athletes.  

#2. Once we’re in the door, in collaboration with outdoor community stakeholders (CEOs from resorts, brands etc), we emphasize the economic contribution of the outdoor industry and speak to policy that will protect the economy and the places and experiences we love from climate change.  

#3. So where do you come in? Every member of POW Canada, represents a vote in the eyes of politicians. The more members, the more votes we represent and the more appealing we are to politicians.   

The MTB community is a vital part of the outdoor community in Canada. We’re massive, we’re passionate and we’re powerful.  There’s no other organization or segment of the economy that is connected to nature like we are and at POW we believe that connection to nature demands our participation in the fight to save and protect it.  



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