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.)


Not active, as of April 25, 2007
(This bill did not become law.)


This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

The purpose of this enactment is to ensure that

Canada meets its global climate change obligations

under the United Nations Framework Convention

on Climate Change by committing to a long-term

target to reduce Canadian greenhouse gas emissions

to a level that is 80% below the 1990 level by

the year 2050, and by establishing interim targets for the

period 2015 to 2045. It creates an obligation on

the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable

Development to review proposed measures to meet the

targets and submit a report to Parliament.


All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, an excellent resource from the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.


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.

Motions in amendmentCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 9:20 p.m.
See context


Taylor Bachrach NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise and speak to Bill C-12, such an important piece of legislation we are considering this evening. It is a bill that would create a framework for real climate accountability in Canada at long last.

We are debating this closure motion because we are running out of time in this place to deal with a bill that concerns the climate crisis, incidentally an issue on which we are also very much running out of time on. The springtime temperatures above the Arctic circle broke records last month, rising to over 30 degrees.

As we debate this bill, the American west is experiencing an unprecedented heat wave and mega draught, and NASA has just alarmingly reported that the earth is now trapping twice as much heat as it did in 2005. Across the globe, the climate emergency is already having serious impacts on human health and our economies, and it is time we take serious measures to at long last make a difference on this issue.

The purpose of accountability legislation is to keep our country on track toward its major emissions milestones, most notably those for 2030 and 2050. This is a tall order because, as a country, we have been dismal in living up to our climate commitments. In fact, we have not met any of the targets we have set as a country, and we have the shameful distinction of being the only G8 country whose emissions have risen since the Paris Agreement was signed.

It is unfortunate that the Liberal government, in crafting this bill, did not look around the world to the gold standards of climate accountability. We have heard a lot about the U.K. example in debate on this bill. Of course the U.K. example uses something called carbon budgets, and in that country it has led to the U.K. meeting and exceeding every single aspirational carbon budget it has set.

Instead, the minister took a different tact with this bill, and he never really clearly explained why that is, but as a result we have this bill in front of us.

A carbon budget is much easier to understand after all because it mirrors our financial budgeting framework. There would be a certain amount of emissions that, as a country, we could emit in a certain amount of time, and if we were to emit more than that, we go into deficit. It is something that is transparent and easy for citizens to understand. I still do not understand, even at this late date in debate, why the minister chose not to use that structure for this bill in front of us.

The Liberals introduced the bill they did, and we had some choices. We could obviously reject it outright and know it is going to be at least a year, if not two years, before we have another shot at a climate accountability bill, or we could work as hard as possible to strengthen the bill and make the most of this opportunity. That is the option we chose. That is because during the election we heard from thousands of Canadians who called on us to collaborate across party lines with other parties to ensure Canada had some semblance of climate accountability coming out of this Parliament.

In a minority Parliament, that is just not an opportunity. I believe it is a responsibility, and one we in the NDP took to heart. We brought our ideas to the government and we pushed hard for changes that would strengthen Bill C-12. Of all the changes we pushed for, the most significant one, as we heard so much about this evening, was the setting of an interim emissions objective between now and 2030.

The scientists tell us that this is the most important decade if we are going to turn around catastrophic climate change. So many of the witnesses we heard at committee told us that we needed accountability before 2030, and that, given the government's track record over past decades, it was not enough to simply say to trust us and wait until the end of the decade.

We are very pleased we were able to leverage a commitment to a 2026 objective for emissions. While it is procedurally different than the other major milestones in the legislation, we believe it plays the basic role of providing transparency and accountability and showing to Canadians whether or not, as a country, we are on track to meet that critical 2030 milestone.

There were other changes we pushed for as well, and we heard about those this evening. We wanted the bill to lay out the specific requirements of the emissions reduction plans. We wanted the advisory body to have certain expertise on it, so that Canadians could trust that the advice the minister was getting was adequate. The third thing I would mention is that we wanted indigenous knowledge, which we know is so important to have reflected in our legislation. We wanted that to be defined and built into the bill in a much more substantive way.

The minister agreed with many of our proposals. There were other proposals he pushed back on. That, after all, is how negotiation works, but let us be clear that this bill in front of us is much stronger today than it was when it was first drafted. With the passing of the Bloc Québécois amendment calling for a five-year legislative review, Bill C-12 now includes amendments from the government and two of the three opposition parties. It is not the bill we would have written, but it is a bill we can accept.

Canada's major environmental organizations agree Bill C-12 should pass, and six of these groups wrote us a letter back on June 7. They said that we cannot afford another decade of ad hoc, incoherent Canadian climate action. Climate legislation is essential to help drive the necessary changes and Bill C-12, as amended, provides a foundation we can build on to ensure Canada develops the robust accountability framework we need.

We have heard in previous speeches that the Bloc and the Conservatives are frustrated with the process, and that is fair enough. If the Liberals had given Bill C-12 greater priority in this parliamentary session, introduced it earlier and given it more hours of debate, we could have seen a more exhaustive, deliberative process. Why this did not occur is a fair question for the government.

As for the Conservatives, it is difficult to know how to take their amendments. They voted against pretty much every aspect of this bill. At second reading, they voted against the very principle of the bill, and the amendments they put forward at committee did not seem to me intended to strengthen the bill, but rather to blunt its impact.

Regardless, we now have a bill in front of us that is both less than perfect and much better than it was. The essence of this bill is transparency. Its value lies in the idea that a concerned and informed electorate, if properly and regularly updated, will not tolerate a government that refuses to take the actions necessary to drive down emissions. It would achieve this by requiring frequent reports, empowering an advisory body, requiring the minister to rationalize her or his decisions when it comes to deviations from the advice that body provides, and requiring ever more ambitious targets.

This bill cannot likely withstand a climate-recalcitrant, insincere government nor one that explicitly rejects our climate reality. By the same token, there is nothing in this bill that would hinder a truly progressive NDP government from tackling the climate emergency with the urgency that it deserves.

We have a choice, and I wanted to end in this way. Fifteen years years ago, our former leader, the late Jack Layton, put forward Canada’s first climate accountability framework with Bill C-377. I found the speech that Jack gave in this place at second reading, and I would like to read a passage from it in conclusion. Jack said:

Canadians have been seeing these changes and are calling for action. I think we have to say that they have been disappointed to date, but they are hopeful that perhaps for this House, in this time, in this place, when we have a wave of public opinion urging us on, when we have every political party suggesting that it wants to be seen to take action and, let us hope, actually wants to take action, there is a moment in time here that is unique in Canadian history when action can be taken. It is going to require us to put aside some of what we normally do here, and we have to understand the need for speed....

Our commitment to the House and to all Canadians is to do everything that we can to produce results from the House in the very short period of time before we find ourselves having to go back to Canadians. I do not want to go back and tell them we were not able to get it done. I want to go back and tell them that we all got together and we got it done.

Amen, Jack. Let us get moving at long last.

Climate Emergency Action ActPrivate Members' Business

December 4th, 2020 / 2:20 p.m.
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Laurel Collins NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to speak today in support of the member for Winnipeg Centre and her bill, Bill C-232, which would guarantee all Canadians the right to a clean, safe, healthy environment and would provide for a climate emergency action framework, a tool for accountability for those most impacted by climate change.

This is a critical framework for all transformative climate action policies, including a green new deal, and it would ensure we uphold our responsibilities toward future generations. The bill explicitly outlines the critical importance of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to Canada's climate response, and would require the government to consult meaningfully with indigenous peoples and communities and civil society.

The NDP has a long history of calling for accountability on the climate crisis, leading the way with Jack Layton's climate change accountability act in 2006. Jack's bill passed in the House, but was killed by the unelected Senate.

We have also been long calling for the full implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and for upholding the right to free, prior and informed consent for indigenous peoples. In particular, I want to recognize the work of former MP Romeo Saganash in bringing forward legislation on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the House of Commons, as well as the work of my colleague, the member for Winnipeg Centre. It is because of their work and the work of indigenous and grassroots organizers from coast to coast to coast that we saw an important step forward this week with the tabling of a government bill on the declaration.

New Democrats have also long called for the right to a healthy environment to be enshrined in law, and the bill continues and builds on that critical work to uphold human rights.

The climate emergency poses a serious threat to our environment, to our economy and to our health and safety, and Canadians are tired of governments committing to targets and then missing them again and again. We are running out of time. We are not on track to meet our international climate obligations. We need an action plan that honours our international climate commitments and obligations. We need an action plan that addresses the urgency of the climate crisis, and we need to ground that plan and that action in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The Liberals have acknowledged the climate emergency, but their current plan in no way will achieve our international commitments. The Prime Minister claims to be a climate leader, but he keeps handing out billions of dollars to fossil fuel companies. He declared a climate emergency and then, the very next day, approved and bought a pipeline.

The government recently introduced Bill C-12, the Canadian net-zero accountability act. The Liberals' bill is a step in the right direction, but it would not adequately ensure that we are doing everything we can to address the climate crisis. They promised five-year milestone targets but then left out 2025, so there is no real accountability measure for the next 10 years even though we know the next decade is the most critical. The accountability mechanisms in the Liberals' bill, including the advisory committee, are weak and they rely on the environment commissioner, whose office is already underfunded.

It is important that any legislation on accountability is paired with significant investments in a just and sustainable recovery plan that will support workers, families and communities with training and good jobs, creating a more affordable life while tackling the climate crisis.

There is no climate accountability without climate action. Despite some nice words about a green recovery, the Prime Minister has just rehashed his inadequate climate plan from last year's campaign, while many countries like Germany and France are releasing bold plans to kick-start a sustainable economy and a sustainable recovery. Even President-elect Joe Biden announced a $2-trillion economic stimulus plan, heavily focused on climate-related investments.

Far from being a climate leader, Canada is being left behind. We need a just transition to a low-carbon economy that brings workers along. We need to stop handing out billions of dollars in fossil fuel subsidies and, instead, invest in a sustainable economy that will create good, family-sustaining jobs across the country.

There are a ton of gaps in the government's bill, Bill C-12. One critical gap is that it mentions the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, but the bill is not actually grounded in a framework of upholding these rights and also in upholding the right to a healthy environment.

The impacts of the climate crisis are already being felt in Canada, particularly in the Arctic and along the coast, and are disproportionately impacting indigenous nations, rural communities, marginalized and racialized communities. We know that extreme weather events are continuing to worsen and are creating conditions where the occurrence of intense wildfires, flooding, droughts and heat waves are increasing both in frequency and in intensity. Indigenous and northern communities, farmers and food producers and others have been sounding the alarm about the impacts of climate change on our ecosystems.

The climate emergency is threatening our food security. It is threatening indigenous peoples across Canada, and they often are the most impacted.

Indigenous peoples are among the most impacted by the climate emergency, including disrupting traditional ways of life and food security, especially in the north, which we know is warming at a much faster rate. This has driven up the cost for imported food alternatives, leaving individuals with only being able to afford unhealthy food options, which contributes to greater food security and negative impacts on health, which can have a vicious cycle effect. The climate emergency has significantly impacted the traditional territories of indigenous peoples and, in turn, has impacted their livelihoods.

The national inquiry has also noted an increased rate of violence against indigenous women and girls by workers who are being housed in extractive industry work camps. The severity of this crisis was confirmed in the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls with a need to act within the calls for justice.

Risks to indigenous nations increase with the severity of the global climate emergency and indigenous people have experienced the impacts of the climate crisis for generations and are most often the ones on the front lines, fighting for the protection of lands and resources. Indigenous science and knowledge provides a complex understanding about how to address the climate crisis and it is critical for developing a climate emergency action framework.

Canada's nation-to-nation relationship with indigenous peoples must be respected under the framework, among others, of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Liberals say that they support the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, but they have failed to engage meaningfully in consultation with indigenous peoples and accommodate the concerns raised across Canada, including failing to obtain free, prior and informed consent.

Reconciliation and environmental justice must go hand in hand or, as my colleague said in her speech, there is no reconciliation without justice. There is now a widespread consensus that human rights norms apply to environmental issues, including the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment. The lack of a legal right to a healthy environment has a direct impact on indigenous and racialized communities in Canada and people from coast to coast to coast. More than 150 countries in the world have recognized that particular human right and it is time for Canada to step up to follow their lead.

The NDP is calling on the government to live up to our international obligations, including the United Nations convention on climate change, the Paris agreement and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and to recognize the right to a healthy environment as a human right.

The New Democrats want to move forward with a green new deal that supports the human rights of all people, while investing in a just and sustainable recovery that brings workers along. Bill C-232 would provide a clear path forward by calling on the Government of Canada to take all measures necessary to address the climate emergency. For the first time, the right to a clean, healthy and safe environment would be enshrined in law. The government would be accountable for implementing a climate action emergency framework that would respect human rights and this framework would save lives, mitigate the impacts of the climate emergency on public health and the natural environment.

This would be an important and transformative step to uphold fundamental human rights and protect a healthy environment for future generations.

Opposition Motion--Climate ChangeBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

November 20th, 2009 / 1:05 p.m.
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Jean Crowder NDP 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.
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Blaine Calkins Conservative Wetaskiwin, AB

Did you have an opportunity to read Bill C-377, which was basically the precursor to this bill from a previous Parliament? Do either of you remember ever reading Bill C-377?

October 29th, 2009 / 12:50 p.m.
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Mark Warawa Conservative 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.
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Jeff Watson Conservative 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 ActRoutine Proceedings

October 8th, 2009 / 1:45 p.m.
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Langley B.C.


Mark Warawa ConservativeParliamentary 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 ActRoutine Proceedings

October 8th, 2009 / 10:25 a.m.
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Libby Davies NDP 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 ActRoutine Proceedings

October 8th, 2009 / 10:25 a.m.
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Langley B.C.


Mark Warawa ConservativeParliamentary 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.
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The Chair Conservative 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.
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Linda Duncan NDP 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.
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Mark Warawa Conservative 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.

June 18th, 2009 / 10:40 a.m.
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Mark Warawa Conservative Langley, BC

Mr. Chair, has there already been a motion or an understanding that previous testimony from Bill C-377 will be incorporated into the consideration of Bill C-311?

June 18th, 2009 / 10:35 a.m.
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Justin Trudeau Liberal Papineau, QC

In response to that, Ms. Duncan, and to clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C-311 immediately when Parliament resumes, I'm open to accepting all the previous Bill C-377 testimony, but the world situation has changed so much that we have some serious issues we need to look at in and around Bill C-311. We have to hear what Canada's position is, what the world's position is, what's coming out of the negotiations that are happening now with the G17, and these sorts of issues. We need to know where the BRIC countries are and what kinds of targets....

There are things we need to talk about around Bill C-311 that will prevent us from getting immediately into clause-by-clause consideration with any ability to get somewhere.

June 18th, 2009 / 9:55 a.m.
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Bruce Hyer NDP Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

I'll try to be brief.

First of all, Mr. McGuinty, thank you for voting for Bill C-377 last time.

When I was doing my homework, I found one of your comments from last time. You said, “I think it's important for Canadians to understand we're debating a bill that is going to shift targets, a bill that is going to guide Parliament based on science,” which is basically what you said again just now.

My simple answer to you is no, I do think those are important issues, and I think they're very important issues bearing on how we achieve these targets.

So do we need to cooperate with the G20, the G17, the G8, and any other G-combination that we care to come up with? Absolutely. We live in a finite world. Is that going to be tough? Yes. Is it up to the opposition to do that negotiation? No, we don't get to do that.

So just to reiterate, to set science-based targets, which you agree with, I think will set the stage in a strong way for Canada to do what we haven't always done, which is to actually show leadership, rather than just follow the lead of the U.S., Japan, or any other country.