OTTAWA – “The country’s only federal climate change bill passed a final vote in the House of Commons Wednesday night with the support of New Democrat, Bloc, and Liberal MPs,” reports Thunder Bay Superior North MP Bruce Hyer. The bill was introduced in February 2009 by Hyer as a private member’s bill, and has survived numerous roadblocks and delays before tonight’s successful vote.
“Tonight, Parliamentarians recognized their responsibility to future generations. They took an important first step towards tackling the most urgent challenge of our time.” said Hyer. “This is an important victory for all Canadians. Faced with conclusive evidence for years, successive governments promised that they would act on climate change – but didn’t. The Harper government has merely continued that tradition by opposing real action in order to appease big oil interests. A new level of accountability is necessary.”
Bill C-311 sets science-based targets in law to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80%, from 1990 levels, by 2050. It requires the Environment Minister to publish 5-year plans to achieve the 2050 target, starting in 2015, and report on progress every two years. It mandates an independent body, the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy, to review and report on each plan. Finally, C-311 requires interim targets to be in place within 6 months of the bill becoming law.
“It’s a great day for Canada as we finally have a blueprint for greening our future,” said New Democrat Leader Jack Layton. “But we wouldn’t have this victory today without the thousands of Canadians who called and wrote to their Members of Parliament, pushing them to finally adopt meaningful climate-change legislation.”
“The Climate Change Accountability Act sets firm but achievable targets to reduce greenhouse gas pollution over the next 40 years.” Hyer added “It obliges the federal government to finally publish a plan to achieve those targets, and provides oversight to ensure accountability to Canadians. It provides badly-needed leadership that will offer stability to business and pave the way for new industries, new innovation, and new technologies in a more sustainable Canada.”