There are two very important problems with the recent Senate overturn of Bill C-311, the Climate Change Accountability Act, this past Tuesday.
First, the Senate is supposed to act in “sober second thought”. When the Conservative-stacked Senate killed Bill C-311 last Tuesday, it was strictly following the orders of the Prime Minister. Bill C-311 was a very small step – but important – toward mitigating climate change domestically. It would have committed the Canadian government to emissions reductions of 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 – and Prime Minister Harper has once more eliminated this attempt that falls among the least ambitious of OECD countries. If he were really concerned about Canadians, he would respect the decisions made in the democratically-elected House.
Second, politics in Canada is a game: If you leave your players at home, or if nearly half of them (17/49) don’t show up, the opposition will call a surprise vote and kill a bill that was democratically passed in the House of Commons. In short, if you don’t show up, the other team wins. However, in this case Canadians lose because Bill C-311 was democratically passed in our House of Commons in May.
The Conservatives did not want this Bill to become law, and they strategically called a surprise vote, undermining the democratic process while the Liberals were not even in Senate to vote.
Devon Paige Willis
U3 Political Science and Environmental
Member of the Canadian Youth Delegation to COP15
Former Daily blogger