May 2, 2018

Moving on from the CCPA-BC: A Message from Seth Klein


Dear friends and CCPA-BC supporters,

If you are reading this post, you’ve heard that I’ve decided to step down as the CCPA’s BC Director at the end of this year.

I’ve been mulling over this decision for some time and it has been a difficult one. But it’s time for me to move on.

I feel tremendous pride in what we’ve built at the CCPA–BC—for the policy and research contributions we’ve made, and in particular, for all the amazing people and public intellectuals we’ve helped to train. I feel immense gratitude for the people I’ve been able to work with here. And I feel passionately committed to the CCPA and the importance of its work. I hope to remain connected with the CCPA-BC in some way, but after 22 years I feel it’s time to let others lead and try my hand at something new.

I feel immense gratitude for the people I’ve been able to work with here.

I was 28 years old when I was given the honour of being asked to open the CCPA-BC office, joined a few months later by Shannon Daub, who now serves as our Associate Director. My deep gratitude to those who entrusted me with that task way back then—in particular Ken Novakowski, Marjorie Griffin Cohen, Duncan Cameron and Bruce Campbell.

I just turned 50 and I think I have another career in me. I don’t know what that is yet, but I have no doubt it will be related in some way to the social and climate justice work we do here. That remains my life’s work.

I feel some nervousness about this decision for myself, but not for the CCPA-BC. There is such immense talent in this office. We have excellent leadership that has long functioned as a team. I know the organization is in highly competent hands and is staffed by incredibly smart people and strategic thinkers, which gives me great comfort. I’ll be sticking around for a reasonably long transition period so the shift in leadership can unfold nice and smoothly.

When things are as solid as they are at the CCPA–BC office right now, that is precisely when it feels like the right time to leave.

The CCPA-BC’s reputation has never been stronger as a highly credible, independent think tank, committed to doing research in the service of our social movement partners. Our research work is values-based, but rigorous and peer-reviewed. And that’s why so many people rely on us—they can trust that our work is reliable and solid, stays true to our principles, and is grounded in a shared commitment to a more just world.

We are in solid financial shape and are growing modestly. We are reaching more people than ever in new and innovative ways. And there is no doubt in my mind that all of these strengths will continue after I leave the CCPA.

We are reaching more people than ever in new and innovative ways.

My anxiety about leaving is more personal. I wonder if I will ever find myself working again with a team of people with whom I share such a strong values fit, and who are so committed to their work and mission. It is a joy to work with such smart people; people who are not only great at their jobs but whose minds you admire.

I’m surrounded each day by talented people who can do things I can’t. Our Associate Director Shannon, in particular, is a deeply strategic thinker, has driven so much innovation in our shop, and brings such rigorous oversight to the research we publish. Our staff economists and policy analysts are so clever and knowledgeable. How rare it is to find people like them—passionate about their work and with an uncommon ability to popularly communicate it. Not that they don’t want and need help on that front, which we all get from our remarkable communications staff, each of whom brings unique skills and experience in traditional, digital and visual media. And the office as a whole is backed up by a superb operations team that makes everything function smoothly and who daily engage with our supporters.

It’s been my privilege to be the aggregator of all their good work and tasked with communicating the whole of what we do.

I’m pretty good at coming up with questions. But I frequently lack the skills to answer them. Which is what makes me so appreciative of working with people who can. I usually bike to work (hope I still can in my next job), and often come into the office with questions I can’t answer. Sometimes they are operational, and frequently they are wonky policy queries like, if BC taxes were at the average level of Canadian provinces, how much more revenues would we have? That kind of thing. I’ll be damned if I’m capable of answering such questions. So it is humbling and amazing that I get to ask them to people who can and do so with ease.

I’m going to miss working daily with these people.

I’m also going to miss the freedom we have at the CCPA to take on the issues and topics for which we feel a passion and curiosity. I treasure the unique platform the CCPA affords us to share our research, analysis and policy solutions. And I feel gratitude that I’ve been able to work with our province-wide team of research associates—what a gift to be able to get regular free tutorials from people who are leading experts in their fields!

My thanks to all those CCPA-BC research associates over the years. And to our committed office and event volunteers and to all the people who have served as advisors and research collaborators with our various projects (the Economic Security Project, the Climate Justice Project, the Corporate Mapping Project, the BC Good Economy Project, and more).

In particular, my deep thanks to all the wonderful people who have served on the board of the CCPA-BC over the years—we have been truly blessed with fantastic, wise and committed leadership there.

And of course, a special thanks to my wife and partner in this purposeful work, Christine Boyle, and kids Zoe and Aaron, who keep it all real for me and keep me grounded. Thanks for your patience and understanding when this work made me stressed.

This organization still has so much work to do and a vital role to play.

To all of you who have been both individual and organizational financial supporters of the CCPA: first and foremost, thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for believing in us and the importance of this work.

Second, keep it up! This organization still has so much work to do and a vital role to play. Today we find ourselves in a renewed moment when the CCPA-BC can help to see policy solutions we’ve long advocated finally implemented. But it’s also no time to go quiet or to stop pushing for the policies we believe in. Transition times are always a bit risky so I hope you will all dig even deeper and continue to support the research and engagement work of the CCPA-BC.

The record of policy-making in our society is marked by pendulum swings. But I’m convinced, as Martin Luther King Jr. said, that the arc of history bends slowly towards justice.

And so, onward friends! Keep fighting for a better BC and Canada and world. We know a better one is possible.

And keep supporting the CCPA. We’ve built something great together. Its mission is secure. It will remain well worthy of your contributions.

In solidarity and with deep gratitude,



News release about Seth stepping down at CCPA’s BC Director.