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I've been delighted to receive so many emails from Canadians on the issue of Bill C-311, the Climate Change Accountability Act. We have been trying to respond to everyone, and here is what we have been saying:
Thanks for your email. I too regret that Bill C-311 was defeated at second reading last week. I find it particularly disappointing because the Senate did not honour its long standing custom to debate the principle of all bills and to ensure they all go to committee (i.e., pass second reading) so we can hear from Canadians on the subject matter. However, that is a custom, not a rule. Unfortunately, a snap vote was called and the Conservatives took advantage of the fact they had more members in the Chamber that day. I myself was not present for the snap vote, being unavoidably detained elsewhere.
Nevertheless, we need to remember that Bill C-311 was, in essence, a reporting bill. It was designed to pick up where Bill C-288 (the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act, or KPIA) left off and tell Canadians how it is doing with respect to meeting the GHG reduction targets. The KPIA continues the current reporting regime until 2013, so we can expect to see more data on a regular basis. It should be noted, mind you, that the Government of Canada has not changed its policies in any way despite the KPIA, and we all know that independent analysts have demonstrated it is far from reaching even its own reduction goals.
I appreciate your concern about how Bill C-311 was handled, and thank you, again, for sharing your views with us all.
Independent Progressive Conservative
UPDATE: November 29, 2010 ... a bare-faced (and other body bits) response to the defeat of Bill C-311 is going viral. Do watch this zesty call to action staged at Guelph University last week ....
Posted On Nov 23 10:10AM
This is disappointing. Unfortunately it made the Senate in general (and the Liberals in particular) appear asleep at the wheel, when, in fact, several Senators supported this bill.
Conned by the Cons once again!
Into all things politics, policy and parliamentary.
Posted On Nov 23 10:09AM
Too bad there couldn't be some way to vote when you are not physicially present in the Chamber. That would prevent many of the shenanigens (also sometimes known as 'strategy') that takes place in the House and Senate voting.
Secondly, with all of this talk of Senate reform, why not reform the easier stuff (internal reforms) such as preventing votes before readings/discussion &debate...not just as a custom, but as a rule? Perhaps that's more complicated than it sounds...?