OTTAWA – “In an unprecedented move Tuesday night, the Harper government called a surprise Senate vote on the country’s only federal climate change legislation, the Climate Change Accountability Act, killing the bill before any consideration or debate was held,” states Bruce Hyer the bill’s sponsor and Thunder Bay Superior North MP. “Conservative Senators had been ordered not to debate the bill since it arrived the Senate on May 6th of this year”.
“What we have witnessed here is unprecedented.” said New Democrat Leader Jack Layton after the Senate vote. “Stephen Harper’s appointed Senate has killed the country’s only federal climate change bill, without any consideration or debate. This vital legislation was passed by the majority of democratically-elected MPs in the House, representing two-thirds of Canadians. What Harper has done tonight is not only an assault on Canadian democracy, but the worst type of head-in-the-sand negligence towards our future health and prosperity as a nation.”
The Climate Change Accountability Act has actually been passed by the House of Commons twice. Before passing earlier this year, the House passed it in 2008, but the bill died when the last federal election was called.
“Tonight, Stephen Harper’s hypocrisy was breathtaking.” added Bruce Hyer, who is the New Democrat Deputy Environment Critic who introduced C-311 and steered it through the House of Commons. Hyer is expressing complete shock at the move.
“For most of his political career, Harper has lambasted the unaccountable Liberal Senate for killing bills passed by elected representatives, and promised he would never appoint unelected Senators. Tonight he has demonstrated all this positioning was a sham, and he is using the Senate in the same way. Canada will now be going to international climate talks in Cancun without a single law on the books or bill in Parliament to tackle climate change.”
“Harper is bad for our environment, and bad for democracy. But New Democrats are determined to see action taken on climate change, regardless of whether the Prime Minister has his head in the tar sands or not.” said Hyer, with determination “We will be tabling climate legislation again after the next election. The science tells us we must tackle greenhouse gas pollution and achieve the ultimate target in this bill. We must: our future depends on it.”