Bill C-377 (Historical)
Climate Change Accountability Act
An Act to ensure Canada assumes its responsibilities in preventing dangerous climate change
This bill was last introduced in the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in September 2008.
This bill was previously introduced in the 39th Parliament, 1st Session.
Jack Layton NDP
Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)
Second Reading and Referral to Committee
(This bill did not become law.)
- June 4, 2008 Passed That the Bill be now read a third time and do pass.
- June 4, 2008 Passed That Bill C-377, An Act to ensure Canada assumes its responsibilities in preventing dangerous climate change, as amended, be concurred in at report stage with further amendments.
- June 4, 2008 Passed That Bill C-377 be amended by adding after line 12 on page 9 the following new clause: “NATIONAL ROUND TABLE ON THE ENVIRONMENT AND THE ECONOMY 13.2 (1) Within 180 days after the Minister prepares the target plan under subsection 6(1) or prepares a revised target plan under subsection 6(2), the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy established by section 3 of the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy Act shall perform the following with respect to the target plan or revised target plan: ( a) undertake research and gather information and analyses on the target plan or revised target plan in the context of sustainable development; and ( b) advise the Minister on issues that are within its purpose, as set out in section 4 of the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy Act, including the following, to the extent that they are within that purpose: (i) the quality and completeness of the scientific, economic and technological evidence and analyses used to establish each target in the target plan or revised target plan, and (ii) any other matters that the National Round Table considers relevant. (2) The Minister shall ( a) within three days after receiving the advice referred to in paragraph (1)(b): (i) publish it in any manner that the Minister considers appropriate, and (ii) submit it to the Speakers of the Senate and the House of Commons and the Speakers shall table it in their respective Houses on any of the first three days on which that House is sitting after the day on which the Speaker receives the advice; and ( b) within 10 days after receiving the advice, publish a notice in the Canada Gazette setting out how the advice was published and how a copy of the publication may be obtained.”
- June 4, 2008 Passed That Bill C-377 be amended by adding after line 12 on page 9 the following new clause: “13.1 (1) At least once every two years after this Act comes into force, the Commissioner shall prepare a report that includes ( a) an analysis of Canada’s progress in implementing the measures proposed in the statement referred to in subsection 10(2); ( b) an analysis of Canada’s progress in meeting its commitment under section 5 and the interim Canadian greenhouse gas emission targets referred to in section 6; and ( c) any observations and recommendations on any matter that the Commissioner considers relevant. (2) The Commissioner shall publish the report in any manner the Commissioner considers appropriate within the period referred to in subsection (1). (3) The Commissioner shall submit the report to the Speaker of the House of Commons on or before the day it is published, and the Speaker shall table the report in the House on any of the first three days on which that House is sitting after the Speaker receives it.”
- June 4, 2008 Passed That Bill C-377, in Clause 13, be amended by replacing lines 28 to 43 on page 8 and lines 1 to 12 on page 9 with the following: “the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy established by section 3 of the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy Act shall perform the following with respect to the statement: ( a) undertake research and gather information and analyses on the statement in the context of sustainable development; and ( b) advise the Minister on issues that are within its purpose, as set out in section 4 of the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy Act, including the following, to the extent that they are within that purpose: (i) the likelihood that each of the proposed measures will achieve the emission reductions projected in the statement, (ii) the likelihood that the proposed measures will enable Canada to meet its commitment under section 5 and meet the interim Canadian greenhouse gas emission targets referred to in section 6, and (iii) any other matters that the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy considers relevant. (2) The Minister shall ( a) within three days after receiving the advice referred to in paragraph (1)(b): (i) publish it in any manner that the Minister considers appropriate, and (ii) submit it to the Speakers of the Senate and the House of Commons and the Speakers shall table it in their respective Houses on any of the first three days on which that House is sitting after the day on which the Speaker receives the advice; and ( b) within 10 days after receiving the advice, publish a notice in the Canada Gazette setting out how the advice was published and how a copy of the publication may be obtained.”
- June 4, 2008 Passed That Bill C-377, in Clause 2, be amended by adding after line 15 on page 2 the following: ““greenhouse gases” means the following substances, as they appear on the List of Toxic Substances in Schedule 1 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999: ( a) carbon dioxide, which has the molecular formula CO2; ( b) methane, which has the molecular formula CH4; ( c) nitrous oxide, which has the molecular formula N2O; ( d) hydrofluorocarbons that have the molecular formula CnHxF(2n+2-x) in which 0<n<6; ( e) the following perfluorocarbons: (i) those that have the molecular formula CnF2n+2 in which 0<n<7, and (ii) octafluorocyclobutane, which has the molecular formula C4F8; and ( f) sulphur hexafluoride, which has the molecular formula SF6.”
- April 25, 2007 Passed That the Bill be now read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development.
Opposition Motion--Climate Change
Business of Supply
November 20th, 2009 / 1:05 p.m.
Jean Crowder Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC
Madam Speaker, I thank the member for Thunder Bay—Superior North for splitting his time with me. I also want to acknowledge the passionate work he has done in terms of ensuring that Canada takes a leadership role in protecting the environment.
As the member noted, we will supporting the Bloc opposition day motion and, in part, it is because it reflects work that the NDP has already proposed. The NDP has long been out there speaking to the need to take on action around climate change and to protect the environment. We recognize the significance of the crisis that is facing us.
Bill C-377 was originally introduced by the member for Toronto—Danforth. In his appearance before the committee, he talked about the fact that we need to deal with climate change. It is a fundamental issue. How fundamental? The United Nations Secretary General has called climate change the biggest challenge to humanity in the 21st century. The Global Environment Outlook by the United Nations environmental program stated:
Biophysical and social systems can reach tipping points, beyond which there are abrupt, accelerating or potentially irreversible changes.
We must do our share to prevent the planet from reaching the point of no return.
That was the underpinnings of Bill C-377, which was adopted by Parliament on June 4, 2008, so clearly there was debate and the hearing of witnesses. The bill talked about long term targets to reduce Canadian greenhouse gas emissions 80% below 1990 level by 2050 and medium term targets to bring emissions 25% below 1990 levels by 2020.
We have heard in the House that the NDP simply does not have an action plan. That is absolutely untrue. Our fighting climate change program contains a lengthy list, so I will not go over every detail, but it does talk about implementing a $3 billion green collar jobs plan, including a fund for training; establishing an industry innovation plan to help businesses reduce their energy use; investments in renewable energy solutions; reduce pollution through an early adopters program that encourages the purchase of commercial and electric hybrid vehicles; investing in environmental solutions and incentives to encourage individual Canadians and small businesses to make better choices for their environment through a better building, retrofit and energy efficiency initiative; investing in stable annual transit funding, and it goes on and on.
I would encourage members who have not read our fighting climate change action plan to read it because there are those kinds of concrete actions in it.
The member for Thunder Bay—Superior North has covered some of the details and some of the other potential links with the economy. Sadly, however, we have some serious inaction by the Conservative government. As the member for Thunder Bay—Superior North pointed out, the Minister of the Environment said that they would wait for 192 other countries to put in place regulations before Canada would develop its regulations.
Canada should be a leader, particularly since we are the second highest emitter per capita in the world. We should be out there demonstrating leadership in this field, not waiting for 192 other countries to come onside.
In Canada, fortunately, we have communities and members of Parliament who are actually taking action, not waiting for the government to step up to the plate. I want to turn to a couple of communities on Vancouver Island. In Victoria this past week, about 1,000 people showed up to say that they wanted the government to demonstrate global leadership on climate change. We also know that greater Victoria is the national leader in green commuting. Its bike commuting rate is nearly triple the second place city and the walking rate is tops among census metropolitan areas.
Victoria also has a an excellent member of Parliament who is also taking some initiative. The member for Victoria has introduced Bill C-466 to make employee benefits for transit car pooling and bike commuting tax free. That would go a long way toward encouraging the kinds of behaviour that we know can have an effect on greenhouse gas emissions.
We also know that the member for Victoria has called for a national transit plan. Canada is the only G8 country without one. We also need to increase the municipal share of the gas tax. I am well aware that the City of Victoria and the member have called for global leadership at Copenhagen.
As well, there is an organization in Victoria called the B.C. Sustainable Energy Association, which is certainly an organization that is taking concrete, meaningful action. It has a program called the SolarBC Solar Hot Water Acceleration Project, which has put solar systems in 50 homes in 17 B.C. communities. It also has a climate change showdown program, delivering an interactive climate change education program to 5,000 grade 5 and grade 6 students and challenging their parents to reduce emissions. These are grassroots community initiatives that can have some influence on the kinds of behaviour that we see as important to position Canada as a global leader.
As well, I know the member for Victoria has also taken a leadership role right here in the House, by initiating a series of talks to bring parliamentarians together to find common ground on climate change. These are important educational initiatives to help parliamentarians understand the seriousness of the problem.
I want to turn to my own riding of Nanaimo—Cowichan for a couple of minutes, because in my riding we have many local initiatives. I just want to focus on a couple. One is the Cowichan Green Community, part of whose mandate is the promotion of energy efficiency, healthy housing and environmental sustainability in the Cowichan Valley. It does that through a whole series of initiatives. It has a food security initiative for community gardens, for growing one's own food, fruit gleaning and buying local. It has healthy, efficient housing initiatives, which build sciences geared specifically to the valley's temperate climate. It has a water conservation and water quality initiative; sustainable gardening and landscaping around organics and native plants; natural based household products; rural air quality; and alternative transportation.
Just a couple of things it has undertaken to help support local responsibility for greenhouse gas initiatives include a buy local push to prompt local grocers to support local farmers; a car share co-op; help to start a garden; support for the Duncan Seedy Saturdays, including seed sharing and preserving heritage seeds; and food security concepts, where they have initiated a local food security program.
It does not stop at Cowichan. The little town of Cowichan Bay is part of the slow food initiative, which links local restaurants and farmers.
We have a biodiesel co-op and local restaurants providing vegetable oil to it. We are finding that a lot of our local people are signing up to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by using local biodiesel.
We have the Nanaimo food link program, which has a field-to-table program and is looking at food policy and food security systems. Again, it is trying to link up and protect local farmers, and encouraging and purchasing local food.
We also have programs supporting the cultural and traditional indigenous foods project. In this particular project, we are seeing organizations work with first nations all over Vancouver Island to support the traditional local diets that were far healthier. It is also making links back to local growers and local suppliers, including our wild salmon suppliers.
We can see that local communities are stepping up to the plate. Local communities recognize that in the absence of leadership, we need the municipalities, the provincial governments and the federal government to come to the table.
In its recent report, the “World Energy Outlook”, the International Energy Agency warned that each year of delay in addressing climate change will cost $500 billion globally. This is the kind of legacy we are leaving behind for our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. I would argue that it is time for us to come together as a House and work across party lines to take on this very serious challenge and demonstrate that Canada can be a leader in fighting climate change, both in this country and internationally.
November 17th, 2009 / 12:40 p.m.
October 29th, 2009 / 12:50 p.m.
Mark Warawa Langley, BC
Mr. Watson brings up a very good point, though, that his letter dated April 20, 2009, requested a costing of Bill C-311, because the author of Bill C-377 and Bill C-311--the Pembina Institute and Mr. Layton, both said it should be costed. And under that logic, that was his request.
To hear back from the budget officer saying he couldn't afford to do it and yet now can afford to do a costing at the request of a Liberal member of Parliament raises a number of serious questions, and we need to look into this.
October 20th, 2009 / 12:45 p.m.
Jeff Watson Essex, ON
I have a question on the IPCC's fourth assessment report targets. We've heard a lot in discussion, both on Bill C-311 and Bill C-377, its prior incarnation in the debate. Particularly the New Democrats will call them scientific targets. Greenhouse gases know no political boundaries. Science has been able to quantify the aggregate problem. It's global in nature. But in proportioning the targets, a choice was made to divide target responsibilities between developed and developing countries using something called, I think, an equity interpretation.
First, to the panel, are you familiar with what an equity interpretation is? Secondly, is that a standard scientific judgment, or is that a values or policy judgment?
I'll start with Mr. Zwiers.
Bill C-311--Climate Change Accountability Act
October 8th, 2009 / 1:45 p.m.
Mark Warawa Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment
Madam Speaker, I listened intently to my colleague from the Bloc and I have a question for him.
He has listened to the same testimony that I have been listening to at committee. We have heard that Bill C-377, now Bill C-311, is no longer relevant. It actually is a bad bill that opposition members are trying to divide and make into two bad bills. It sets targets that were before the global economic recession, targets that would be harmful to the Canadian economy. That is why the NDP leader said that it should be costed. It has not been costed yet and yet we have the Bloc members supporting these random targets that are no longer relevant.
We have also heard from testimony today from science the importance of having a harmonized, continental approach to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is not possible to do it in isolation. He should well know that because climate change is not a Canada issue. it is a global issue.
Why would the member want to do something in isolation from what the rest of the world is doing? Why does he have a history of not supporting good environmental programs? Why has he voted against carbon capture and storage in this House? Why has he voted against renewable fuels?
Why do those members just talk the talk but never walk the walk?
Bill C-311--Climate Change Accountability Act
October 8th, 2009 / 10:25 a.m.
Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC
Mr. Speaker, the member's question is inexplicable. It seems to me he is mixing apples and oranges. I do not know to which other bill he is referring.
The reality is that the committee has had this bill for six months. As he himself pointed out, there was an almost identical bill in the last Parliament, Bill C-377, which also had extensive examination by the committee.
If he had issues or concerns around economic questions, he and his government had more than ample time. Good heavens, the Conservatives have claimed from day one that this is something they care about, so why have they themselves not done their economic analysis? They should not pin it on this bill. This bill has been the only one to come forward that has set a course that Canadians want in terms of climate change.
Again, the excuses and rationales are incredibly lame because they do not deal with the question as to why the committee chose to delay this bill. We should deal with the substantive part of this bill, get it before committee, hear the witnesses and deal with the arguments. That is what we are here to do. We should ensure it comes back for a proper debate and vote in the House. That is what we are here to do. Let us get on with it.
Bill C-311--Climate Change Accountability Act
October 8th, 2009 / 10:25 a.m.
Mark Warawa Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment
Mr. Speaker, it was the member's own leader who, in a previous Parliament, introduced Bill C-377 which is virtually the same bill. He recommended that the bill be costed.
We know that there would be a substantial cost to the Canadian economy if Bill C-311 were to go ahead. It was the same thing for Bill C-377 and her leader suggested that it be costed. The fact is it was that member who said to “abandon this bill. Get rid of this bill. It is no good from beginning to end. So I think that is a message that we need to consider very carefully. Unfortunately we could not offer what the costs were going to be. Do we have any idea what the costs would be? Has anyone tried to figure this out? I feel that the committee needs to do this before we blindly go ahead and adopt this very radical approach on something that we have no evidence that it is even going to work”.
It was that member who said that. It was not on this bill. It was on a bill that she disagreed with, but the principle is the same. Why would she not want to have a fulsome debate, find out what the cost would be, what her carbon tax bill would mean to the economy of Canada?
June 18th, 2009 / 11 a.m.
The Chair James Bezan
It shall read:
That, in order to ensure a timely and efficient review of Bill C-311, An Act to ensure Canada assumes its responsibilities in preventing dangerous climate change, the Committee agrees to accept information, testimony, and materials considered during hearings conducted by the Committee in the 2nd Session, 39th Parliament on Bill C-377, An Act to ensure Canada assumes its responsibilities in preventing dangerous climate change, as supporting documentation for review of Bill C-311.
June 18th, 2009 / 10:55 a.m.
Linda Duncan Edmonton—Strathcona, AB
I have to say that I'm completely befuddled by Mr. McGuinty's comments. His motion must have been raised when I was at the international climate change conferences, so I wasn't actually aware of it. His motion appears to support the very motion I've raised to expedite the review of Bill C-311. In other words, in my absence the committee agreed to move to it.
That's expediting it, in lieu of the fact that the review of this bill has been continuously deferred by both the Liberals and the Conservatives. We have swayed from the traditional practice of all committees, which is that review of legislation and estimates is given first. This bill is being given short shrift and has been put at the bottom of the pile. Instead of completing a review by now, we are only going to start it in September. I remind the committee that we have to report back to Parliament by October 22.
We are also reviewing Bill C-311. We're not reviewing whatever the Liberal new climate change plan might be. We're not reviewing “Turning the Corner”. We are reviewing a bill that has been tabled before this committee by Parliament. So I think it's incumbent upon us.... Certainly everybody can have full rights and propose whatever witnesses they want to bring in. I am simply again, as I have continuously done in this committee, trying to suggest an efficient review.
I have already agreed, at the request of Mr. Warawa, to take out the clause-by-clause. That may have been my mistake as a new member. I know he was suggesting that we preclude amendments. I'm not even excluding that there be additional witnesses. I'm simply suggesting that my motion, on review of past testimony, certainly helped inform me who would be additional witnesses. There's a lot of pressure by outside forces, by members of my own party, about all kinds of witnesses who should be brought forward.
I am trying to balance the interests of this committee, because I feel responsible for proceeding with all the matters that are before us--and there are a number of other matters. The committee can choose to vote against it. I would accept a friendly amendment to take out the clause-by-clause. I'm in no way excluding that there be additional witnesses. I will certainly be objecting, as a member of the steering committee, to an endless list of topics, witnesses, and so forth, that do not directly speak to Bill C-311.
I would like to thank Mr. Bigras for his comments. There is something new in Bill C-311 that was not in Bill C-377: there are actually less than three months until Copenhagen. In fact, the negotiation position of this country is being made right now, not six months from now.
We were asked by Parliament to seriously review this bill. It puts forward targets to be considered to take to Copenhagen. So I think it's incumbent on us to move forward. If we only have that number of meetings we will have to seriously decide, as a steering committee and as a committee, how to constrain that review. That's all there is to it. This is simply my suggestion on how we constrain that review.
June 18th, 2009 / 10:40 a.m.
Mark Warawa Langley, BC
Okay, then the first half of this motion--that the deliberations on Bill C-377 be taken into consideration and that we have that testimony--may be appropriate. I myself have it, but there are some new members on the committee, and I think it'd be helpful for them to have previous testimony as a resource.
In regard to the last two sentences talking about immediately proceeding to clause-by-clause consideration, we've just heard from Ms. Duncan that she's not opposed to hearing from further witnesses. Well, that's exactly what would happen if you move to clause-by-clause: you would restrict hearing from any further witnesses. That's inconsistent.
We've also heard from Mr. Hyer that he's open to having amendments to his bill, to having this committee do work on his bill and make possible amendments. That takes time. That needs consideration.
To immediately move to clause-by-clause would restrict witnesses and it would restrict consideration of amendments to this bill and healthy dialogue, so I'm opposed to the motion. If the last two lines were taken out in the form of a friendly amendment, I think you might find consensus around the table.