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?
firstname.lastname@example.org — Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Ignatieff.M@parl.gc.ca — Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff
LaytoJ@parl.gc.ca – NDP leader Jack Layton (couldn’t find his NDP address)