Although I intended all my posts to have a positive slant, I feel that today must be an exception. It is a sad day for Canada, and for more than one reason. Not only has the government struck again by abusing the democratic process, the bill that died was Bill C-311, The Climate Change Accountability Act. As stated at the David Suzuki Foundation‘s Website,
Last night, in a near-unprecedented move, the Canadian Senate held a surprise vote and defeated Bill C-311, the Climate Change Accountability Act. The snap vote to kill the Bill in the Senate happened without notice and without debate — even though it was put before the Senate more than half a year ago. Had notice been given of the vote, more senators would have been present and the bill may have passed.
And so, just as Canada prepares to join world leaders at the UN climate change negotiations in Mexico, a group of unelected senators have decided, without any debate, that the future of Canada’s youth is not worth the bother. It’s a shame these elderly senators may not be around to face the most severe consequences of their actions.
The Bill is now dead.
Just as tens of thousands of Canadians wrote to their MPs and government to ensure the Bill’s passage through the elected House of Commons, Canadians must now let their politicians know that enough is enough. Yesterday’s decision by Conservative senators to avoid debate and call a snap vote shows disrespect for our democracy and for Canadians, who time and again have told our elected representatives that we want the federal government to act on the most serious threat facing our country and the world.
Bill C-311 passed through the House of Commons with a strong majority (NDP, Liberal, and Bloc Québécois), thanks in part to the incredible support of Canadians from across the country. It was originally introduced by federal NDP Leader Jack Layton as a private member’s bill in the last parliament and was set to go to the Senate when the election was called in 2008. After the election, the Bill was re-introduced by Bruce Hyer, NDP MP for Thunder Bay-Superior North. The Bill was debated in the House of Commons, where Conservative government members tried to obstruct it. It was then amended and sent back to the House for a final vote. It passed in the House and was sent to the Senate for the last stage in its passage through parliament before receiving Royal Assent and becoming Canadian law.
I am always stunned at how this government, knowing that they are in the minority, keep ignoring Canadians and thwarting the democratic process for their own ends. Then I went on CBC’s blog to see what people were voting and saying. Thankfully, more than 80% of readers agreed that this was abuse of democracy.
But in quite a number of comments I couldn’t believe that there are educated people out there who still don’t see climate change as a problem and who agreed with the underhandedness with which the government axed the bill. I wanted to yell at them and at the government. HELLO? THE EARTH IS FINITE! CLEAN AIR IS FINITE! CLEAN WATER IS FINITE!
To my relief, the vast majority of readers didn’t agree with them. Yeah, Canadians!
This is my real motivation for starting the Non-Disposable Earth Project. What this latest event demonstrates is that we can’t sit on our hands and wait for government to do anything about climate change. We have to be the change ourselves despite what the government is willing to do. And we have to do it now.
More tomorrow…. In the meantime, if you feel so motivated, send a quick message to your MP and let them know how you feel.