Canada’s Senate, better representing the will of the people, rejects climate change bill
Last year, three political parties in Canada’s fractured minority government decided to pass a grandstanding climate change bill that would have required Canada to make draconian cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. The bill, designed to embarrass the minority Conservative government, was bulldozed through Parliament without any meaningful debate. It represented the Will of the Parties.
This week, the Canadian Senate, a chamber famously known for its sober second thought, dismissed Bill C-311. In doing so, the Senate saved the country from economic harm while better representing the Will of the People.
Bill C-311 offered nothing but empty rhetoric
, specifying none of the concrete steps that would need to be taken to achieve its goal of a cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 25% from 1990 levels by 2020 and by 80% by 2050. It proposed neither a carbon tax regime nor a carbon trading system nor any other way to meet its goals. The Senate rightly discarded it.
As in other western democracies, the Canadian public has become increasingly sceptical over the years over claims that human activity leads to dangerous global warming. According to this year’s Climate Confidence Monitor survey
, just 29% of Canadians consider global warming to be among their chief concerns, down from 34% in 2008. Ex-Liberal Leader Stephan Dion learned that the hard way, when he ran a federal election campaign on a platform highlighting a carbon tax. The Liberals then suffered its worst electoral defeat since Confederation.
Thank you, Senate, for fulfilling your role under the Canadian constitutional system.
Lawrence Solomon is executive director of Energy Probe and the author of The Deniers.