That it be an instruction to the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development that it have the power to divide Bill C-311, An Act to ensure Canada assumes its responsibilities in preventing dangerous climate change, into two bills: Bill C-311A, An Act to set targets and timelines to prevent dangerous climate change, and Bill C-311B, An Act to ensure the Government of Canada is held accountable for meeting its responsibilities in preventing dangerous climate change; that Bill C-311A be composed of clause 6 of Bill C-311; that Bill C-311B be composed of all remaining parts of Bill C-311; that the House order the printing of bills C-311A and C-311B; that the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel be authorized to make such technical changes or corrections as may be necessary to give effect to this motion; and that, if Bill C-311A has not been reported back to the House by the tenth sitting day after October 19, 2009, it shall be deemed to have been reported back without amendment.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to advise that I will be sharing my time with the member for Thunder Bay—Superior North. I thank you for reading the motion, because that means I do not have to. However, I do want to explain it and explain why this motion is being brought forward.
Just a few moments ago, the chair of the environment committee brought forth a motion from the committee to basically ask for an extension and delay of 30 sitting days for the examination of Bill C-311, which is the climate change accountability act. I have to say that there is absolutely no legitimate reason for delaying consideration of this bill.
This has caused the NDP to bring forward this motion this morning in the House to instruct the committee to separate the bill and to ensure that the bill will now be examined in two parts. Part A would deal with the targets that are set in the bill and they would be brought back into the House by the 10th sitting day after October 19, which would be November 2. If the committee fails to do that, the bill will be deemed to have been reported back without amendment.
I would like to explain why we are doing this. I think members are aware that this bill was first debated in March 2009. It was actually sent to the committee on April 1 of this year. In our opinion, the committee has had ample time to deal with this very urgent matter. I would say that our goal all along has been very clear. This very substantive and important bill needed to be debated and processed through the House in order to be approved, we hope, in time for the international climate change conference in Copenhagen in November.
It was with deep concern that we learned that the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development voted to delay this bill for no good reason. From the email we get, the folks we talk to in our ridings and the strong environmental community across this country, I think it is very clear that Canadians believe that government after government has dragged its feet on climate change.
There has been no substantive action, whether by the Conservative government or by the previous Liberal government. This bill that we have brought forward both in the last Parliament and in this Parliament, and in fact it was approved in the last Parliament, is a strong effort to say that the will of Parliament should be brought forward to Copenhagen and that the will of the Canadian people to see action by our government on climate change and to set clear targets is something that is fundamental to the direction and the health and safety of Canadians and the future of our planet.
It was with dismay that we saw that various members of the House are trying to delay this bill. I think we have to ask why this bill is being delayed, because there is no legitimate reason to do so. The bill is actually very clear and straightforward. In fact, clause 6, which is the clause that we are now saying should be brought back to House by the 10th sitting day, through this debate today, is the clause that deals with the interim greenhouse gas emissions and sets out a target plan for 2015, 2020, 2025, 2030, 2035, 2040 and 2045.
The target plan clearly lays out that it would establish a Canadian greenhouse gas emissions target for each of those years; specify the scientific, economic and technological evidence and analysis used to establish each target, including consideration of the latest reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the most stringent greenhouse gas emissions targets adopted by other national governments, and it would show that each target is consistent with a responsible contribution by Canada to the UNFCCC's ultimate objective of preventing dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system and with Parliament’s strong commitment to the Kyoto Protocol.
The separation of the bill and what we have now been forced to do is necessary in order to ensure that Canada has set targets and that those targets will be met. We want to go to that conference in Copenhagen knowing that Canada will finally have some legitimacy. After so many years of delay and inaction, we want to have a bill that speaks for the Canadian people on the issue of climate change.
When this was first debated in the House, the member for Thunder Bay—Superior North, who introduced the bill, gave one of the most beautiful speeches I have ever heard in the House. It was passionate, articulate and full of scientific fact. It was about his own riding. I remember one of the things that he said:
Opinion polls keep saying that 80% of Canadians favour strict measures to reduce emissions, yet our own governments have been impotent and unwilling to confront what will be the defining issue of the 21st century: a changing climate and a dying world.
The next world conference in Copenhagen this December will provide another opportunity to regain some stature on the vital issue of climate change. This act would help re-establish our credibility at the bargaining table and increase the chances of persuading major developing countries to take on such commitments. In this 40th Parliament, we have one last opportunity to take real action to prevent the threat of worsening economic and health effects of climate pollution. Bill C-311 would ensure that the government is accountable to Canadians on climate change and that Canada is accountable to the world.
That is a perfect summary of what this issue is about and why it is so urgent. All the more shame for what took place at the environment committee and the fact that there is an attempt now to slow down this bill so that it will not make it through the House in time for the Copenhagen conference.
As New Democrats, we are committed to doing everything we can for Canadians to ensure that this legitimate and credible and very sound bill does come before the House for a vote. We hope that it will be passed. We hope that a majority of members of Parliament will listen to their constituents about what needs to be done in this country, to take a stand and set real targets for climate change. Nothing less will suffice.
We regret that this debate is taking place today. It should not have to take place. The bill should have come out of committee. I am sure witnesses were lined up. I am sure all kinds of people were ready to debate the bill clause by clause. I am not on the committee so I do not know if there would have been some amendments. I find it most disturbing that it appears the bill is being deliberately delayed.
This motion is to put on the record how urgent this issue is. The bill must come back from committee. The motion before us is clear. It asks the committee to examine clause 6 that deals with the interim targets and get the bill back into the House by November 2.
This is a very straightforward and transparent motion about what needs to be done. I implore members of the House to ensure that we rise above the partisan politics and whatever political agendas are operating here and think about what Canadians sent us here to do. I implore members to think about the most urgent issue facing our country and our planet: climate change. It is shameful that in the international community Canada has such a terrible record.
Let us deal with this legislation and get it through the House. Let us hear witnesses--