You know how Al Gore won the popular vote in 2000, but lost the election?
Well, in a way, that’s kind of what happened in Canada recently.
Last week, a Bill called The Climate Change Accountability Act (Bill C-377) received a majority vote in the House of Commons and if enacted would be the toughest climate legislation passed by any national government in the world. It would also be the first piece of legislation completely in line with the levels of greenhouse gas reductions recommended by the world’s scientific institutions in the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The Bill calls for an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by from 1990 levels, by 2050.
Unfortunately, the The Climate Change Accountability Act was not introduced by the governing Conservative Party who are in a minority vote position in the House of Commons. The Bill was introduced by the New Democratic Party and received the support of the other opposition parties – the Liberals and the Bloc Quebecois – whose combined vote outweighs the governing Conservatives.
This Bill didn’t just squeak through it was passed 148 -116. But hey, since when is the will of the majority an essential part of a democracy?
Under the rules of the House of Commons a private member’s bill cannot propose the spending of public money. The House of Commons Procedure and Practice rules say: “The Crown alone initiates all public expenditure.” The ruling Conservatives, who have promised a lot and delivered nothing on climate change, have stated on the record that they will ignore The Climate Change Accountability Act and the will of the House because the Bill would require new spending.
But unlike the Democratic Party in the United States, we won’t have to wait the 4 years to vote out a government unwilling to take action on climate change.
The number one issue in Canada for over two years now has been climate change, and by continuing to do nothing and ignoring a call to action by the majority of the country’s members of parliament, the Conservative party is setting itself up to go from minority government status to out-of-office status very early in the Fall.
That is, if Canadians who want to see action on climate change start to put the pressure on and keep it on. So far this isn’t the case, as Dave Sasoon at Solve Climate rightly points out: “It’s [the Bill] headline news, and the lack of attention being given to this development is mystifying.”
So what can you do?
You can start by writing a letter to the Prime Minister demanding that the government honor The Climate Change Accountability Act – you can find all the contact information you need here.