Update: Per a comment below, after I posted this story, Sean Holman at Public Eye Online called to say that the NDP had voted against this cap-and-trade enabling legislation because of secrecy provisions within. (Thank you, Sean.)
In turns out that the David Suzuki Foundation objected on the same grounds (see the first attached document), after which the government withdrew the secrecy provisions (see the second attached document), before the final, contrary vote.
On April 3, 2008, the BC government introduced the Greenhouse Gas Reduction (Cap and Trade) Act.
On May 28th 2008, the BC NDP, who claim that the issue of climate change must urgently be addressed, voted en masse against the bill.
The Minister of the Environment, Barry Penner, described the Act as:
You can read the entire introduction of the BC Government’s Cap and Trade Act here.
As Penner points out, this critical Act enables the BC government’s involvement in the Western Climate Initiative, a collaboration of seven U.S. states and four Canadian provinces. The WCI was created in February 2007 to identify, evaluate, and implement collective and cooperative ways to reduce greenhouse gases in the region, focusing especially on a market-based cap-and-trade system.
Nick Heap, Climate and Energy Policy Analyst for the David Suzuki Foundation explains the importance of the Western Climate Initiative:
“… on the whole it’s a promising initiative. What’s remarkable about this initiative is that when it started early in 2007 there were no Canadian jurisdictions involved. The WCI came out of wish of American States to be more proactive than the American Federal government was willing to be. And the provincial governments have the same dynamic with our Federal government. The governments of British Columbia, Manitoba, Quebec and Ontario in that order have all joined on because they want to take action on climate change and they want to see action sooner than what will happen under the federal framework
Thus, the WCI was the leading (and then, only) opportunity to create a cap-and-trade regime – and thanks to the work WCI members have already done, it may be the policy body from which a continental cap-and-trade agreement flows. Yet the NDP, which is now proposing a cap-and-trade regime in its election platform, voted against it.
So, NDP leader Carole James says that her party cares about climate change, but leads her caucus in an “axe the tax” campaign against the BC carbon tax, which most economists agree is the cheapest, most efficient mechanism to fight global warming.
Ms. James further says that her party prefers cap-and-trade regulations to carbon taxes, but then leads her caucus in a vote against the only cap-and-trade mechanism currently on offer anywhere in North America.
It looks increasingly like this batch of BC New Democrats care very little about climate change and a great deal about jockeying for political advantage at any price.
We are sending a copy of this post to BC NDP candidates, asking whether and why they oppose BC’s involvement in the Western Climate Initiative. Here’s a list where you can find your BC NDP candidate if you’re interested in doing the same.
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