Ashamed, today, to be Canadian as Conservative-dominated Senate connives to kill Commons-passed climate bill

What will it take, violent riots in the street?

The Conservative government and its refusal to take meaningful action on climate change has fallen to a new low despite the relentless stream of scientific evidence that human-caused global warming is real and getting worse. A climate-change bill that would impose stricter emission-reduction targets on Canada, a piece of proposed legislation that was passed by a majority of MPs in our House of Commons, has been killed by our Conservative-dominated federal Senate, the same unelected Senate that Prime Minister Stephen Harper wanted to abolish because he considered it anti-democratic. Now isn’t that ironic?

To rub salt in the wound, know that this is the first time in at least SEVEN DECADES that a bill has been voted down without debate, without a hearing.

The bill was called The Climate Change Accountability Act, and it was defeated in the most unaccountable way. It called for a 20 per cent reduction in greenhouse gases over 1990 levels by 2020, a necessarily more aggressive target than the Conservative government’s aim of reducing emissions by 17 per cent over 2005 levels during the same period. And even at that low level, all indications are that we’re not on the path to achieving that weak Conservative target.

Fine, Harper says the proposed bill’s targets were unrealistic, but they’re only unrealistic based on the Conservative’s current plan/initiatives — or lack thereoff — for reducing emissions.

Harper, in his attempt to justify the Senate’s agenda-driven decision, stooped to fearmongering by saying the bill, if turned into law, would lead to the “shutting down of sections of the Canadian economy and throwing hundreds of thousands, and possibly millions of people out of work.” As usual, he wildly exaggerated the negative while paying no mention at all to the tremendous positives — keeping Canada competitive, creating green jobs, green industries, diversifying the economy, cleaning up the air, and doing our share to reduce emissions from fossil fuels. There’s so much more that could be done, and so little that we’re attempting — even of the easy stuff.

This government is being reckless with the future health and safety of future generations who will look back and blame us for being self-centred, narrow-minded and morally vacuous. If this is how it’s going to be, if we are to stand by and do nothing as a nation on this issue, it should at least be decided through national referendum, not by a bunch of overpaid, unelected, do-little Senators who should have been abolished from the Canadian scene many years ago.

Let me quote NASA climate scientist Andrew Lacis from a recent report. “Humans are at a difficult crossroad. Carbon dioxide is the lifeblood of civilization as we know it. It is also the direct cause fueling an impending climate disaster. There is no viable alternative to counteract global warming except through direct human effort to reduce the atmospheric CO2 level.”

Can you find a hint of uncertainty from that statement? Didn’t think so.

Maybe it is time to demand a referendum, and let the nation throw all its cards on the table. Bring it on… But sadly, I fear most Canadians would be more concerned about that extra $1 being charged on their monthly hydro bill than the future of their own children, not to mention the billions of people who will be most vulnerable to the earliest and most severe impacts of our warming climate.

Want to express your outrage? — Prime Minister Stephen Harper — Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff – NDP leader Jack Layton (couldn’t find his NDP address)

6 thoughts on “Ashamed, today, to be Canadian as Conservative-dominated Senate connives to kill Commons-passed climate bill”

  1. I’m proud to be a Canadian tonight. Way to go Senate.

    Western Canada never voted for Kyoto; Western Canada does not want Kyoto targets. You want to see riots in the street? Bring on the referendum but perhaps one to see if the West wants to stay in Canada. Bring that on.

    We need reasonable strategies and targets. Not blanket cuts.

    As the Prime Minister states, “”It sets irresponsible targets, doesn’t lay out any measure of achieving them other than … by shutting down sections of the Canadian economy and throwing hundreds of thousands and possibly millions of people out of work,” Harper said. “Of course, we will never support such legislation.”

  2. Climate progress blog has a good summary of 10 research reports that came out in the last year alone that should give us pause, and drive us to make deeper GHG cuts than we had committed to:

    Another implication of the IEA report that you mentionned in the previous post, is that one of the only ways that we can mitigate the economic impacts of peak oil, was by meeting our GHG reductions target. Essentially, we are forced to reduce demand due to supply constraints, so it will be much more desireable if we do it in an orderly fashion, through mechanism such as carbon taxes or cap and trade, instead of relying on economic recessions/depressions to cut demand.

    Some argue that peak oil will force us to meet GHG reduction targets, yet, with peak oil at our door step, it is unlikely that Canada will do anything but increase the output for the Tar Sands, which will inevitably increase our GHG emissions. The US and China are building a huge coal liquification plants to produce alternative fuels, which will increase GHG emissions…

    As Steve Lapp commented on the previous post, regardless of peak oil, we need to look at what are the maximum allowable GHG emissions to avert disaster, and stick to them. There is no global political will to do so. On November 12, you asked: “Can social networking help solve our energy woes?”, only if it leads to “riots in the street” as you suggested in desparation today. Unfortunately, based on my experience, my facebook friends are not interested.

  3. Robert, setting a general target for the country to work toward is not penalizing the west. Why do you folks in the west get so bloody defensive?

    The legislation doesn’t dictate across-the-board cuts, it holds us legally accountable for taking meaningful action — as existing plans are not meaningful nor are they being acted on.

    You say we need “reasonable strategies and targets”. Okay, well where are they?

    The legislation creates the requirement, it doesn’t lay out measures to achieving them. That’s the government’s responsibility. That’s Harper’s responsibility, which he has neglected. He has made ZERO meaningful effort to coordinate activities with the provinces, or to embrace a green economy — he avoids the issues and treats it as a distraction.

    Anyone who truly is concerned about climate change knows that the current course of action is ineffective and the current path unsustainable. This monolithic “West” you talk about is deluded if it believes that long-term prosperity is about doing what they’re doing, and to ignore the other jobs/opportunities that would come with diversification of their economy.

  4. I just sent a note to the PM thanking him and the senate for allowing this bill to fail. At least someone in government is showing some sense.

  5. It seems your adversaries love following your blog Tyler. You must be actually make a positive difference for the benefit of mankind.

    Show these mofo`s how it is done…

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