NUPGE urges Liberals to support C-311 climate bill

'We urge [Michael Ignatieff] and all the Liberal MPs to vote for this bill and pressure the Conservatives to make real plans that make Canada an environmental leader once again.' - James Clancy.

James Clancy, president of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE)Ottawa (14 April 2010) - The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) has written a letter to Michael Ignatieff, urging the Opposition leader and members of his Liberal caucus to vote for Bill C-311, a private member's bill that would require the government to set targets reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 25% below 1990 levels by the year 2020 and to 80% below by 2050.

If approved, the federal environment minister would have to establish an interim emissions reduction target for 2015 within six months and a federal commissioner would be required to publish a report every two years analyzing the government's progress in meeting both shorter and longer range emissions targets.

The Conservatives have opposed the bill, known as the Climate Change Accountability Act, since the NDP first introduced it in 2006. In spite of Conservative obstruction, the bill passed the minority Commons in 2008 but it did not receive Senate approval before Parliament was dissolved for the fall federal election that year. The NDP re-introduced the measure in 2009.

Last week, Conservative MPs used procedural tactics to deny the unanimous consent required for the bill to move to final debate, setting up a key vote that will happen this week on whether or not the bill is allowed to come to a vote at third and final reading. In the past, opposition parties have voted for the bill every time it has come up for a vote. If they do so this time, it will pass.

In a letter to Ignatieff, NUPGE president James Clancy urged all Liberal MPs to unite with other parties and ensure that the bill gets through.

"The National Union is in full agreement with the intention of the bill," Clancy said. "A majority of Canadians want action on climate, there is no doubt. Parliament must stop playing politics with C-311.  It is an integral part of Canadian success at combating dangerous climate change."

Clancy said the act creates "a framework" beyond 2010, when the Kyoto Protocol ends and it is time for Canada to take meaningful action.

"With the failure at the Copenhagen meetings, we must work domestically to focus on targets for the years 2020, 2030, 2040 and 2050," he argued.

"With a progressive set of targets, we can adjust strategies to most effectively reduce Canadian emissions. We urge you and all the Liberal MPs to vote for this bill and pressure the Conservatives to make real plans that make Canada an environmental leader once again," Clancy added.

NUPGE

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:
Conservatives must act on Commons climate change motion