Conservatives must act on Commons climate motion

Passage of Liberal motion crushes Conservative obstruction and clears the way for a third reading vote on Bill C-311.

James Clancy, president of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE)Ottawa (15 April 2010) -  Opposition parties in Canada's minority Parliament combined Wednesday to pass a strongly-worded motion calling on the Harper government to take swift and decisive action on the environment and climate change.

The vote clears the way for Bill C-311, the NDP's Climate Change Accountability Act, to be passed later this spring.

The bill would commit Canada to setting and achieving science-based greenhouse-gas reduction targets. It will now move to third reading debate in late May or early June. Commons rules call for a vote to follow within two weeks of a debate at third and final reading.

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) has been one of many organizations and groups pushing to have the bill passed.

NUPGE president James Clancy wrote to Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff prior to Wednesday's vote, urging Liberal MPs, who had waffled in their commitment to the bill at times previously, to stand behind it.

The crucial vote, on a Liberal motion covering some of the same objectives as those contained in the bill, passed 155 to 137. Only the Conservatives voted against it.

"We welcome the responsible action taken by MPs to move this important bill toward a final vote," Clancy said. "This bill must be approved for the good of all Canadians and for future generations. Its passage will also begin to reverse the negative global reputation on climate issues that Canada has acquired under the Harper Conservatives."

Bill C-311 would require the government to set targets reducing emissions to 25% below 1990 levels by the year 2020 and to 80% below by 2050. It would also require the federal minister of the environment to set an interim emissions reduction target for 2015 within six months after the bill becomes law.

Following the vote, Ignatieff issued a statement putting the Harper government on notice that it now has an obligation dictated by a majority of MPs in Parliament to take serious action on climate change.

“The government is responsible to the House of Commons, and with the passage of this motion, Canadians expect the Harper government to put in place a national climate change plan,” Ignatieff said.


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

More information:
NUPGE urges Liberals to support C-311 climate bill

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