OTTAWA – Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion today called on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to bring an end to the Conservative strategy of inaction and failure on climate change, by setting a price for carbon emissions and working with all parties to ensure the passage of the Clean Air and Climate Change Act (Bill C-30), whether or not he prorogues Parliament.
“ This legislation must pass. If your government attempts to avoid scrutiny by ending this session of Parliament, we urge you to bring forward the Clean Air and Climate Change Act into the next session, ” Mr. Dion wrote in an open letter to the Prime Minister. “ We will work to ensure C-30 survives and becomes the law of the land. ”
Bill C-30 is strongly supported by all parties in the House of Commons, except for the Conservatives. It is a strong framework that brings market forces to bear to drive energy efficiency and green energy. The Liberal Party – which put a carbon budget at the centre of C-30 – calls on the Conservative government to embrace this parliamentary consensus and intention to act.
Mr. Dion responded to the Conservatives’ report published pursuant to the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act (also known as Bill C-288) and outlined the many flaws in the current Conservative approach to the environment.
“Your plan will result in absolutely no reductions in Canada’s total greenhouse gas pollution during the first phase of Kyoto. Where Canadians expect a climate change plan that will reduce carbon emissions, your government has cobbled together an approach that does nothing to reduce greenhouse gas pollution,” he wrote. “Your so-called climate change plan will not meet your own far too modest targets and will allow this country’s carbon emissions to actually increase until 2050 or beyond.”
The Liberal leader pointed out that the Conservatives are missing a huge opportunity to radically improve the environmental performance of the oil sands, which represent the fastest-growing source of emissions in the country.
“The fact is that the greenhouse gas proposals that your government put forward will let the oil sands exploitation run wild without any price on the carbon dumped into the atmosphere as a result,” Mr. Dion stated. “Polluters don’t pay – polluters get paid.
This weak approach is unnecessary, because “for slightly more than $1 per barrel of oil, we can propel green investment and green solutions here in Canada,” he wrote.
Finally, Mr. Dion pressed the Prime Minister to stop the “inaction and denial” and ensure that Canada does everything it can to honour our Kyoto commitments while strengthening our economy.
“Since the Kyoto framework sets out mechanisms for non-compliance, the Conservatives’ decision to walk away from the agreement is nonsense. Canada can cut megatonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and make megatonnes of money. But to do so, we need to be leaders in the post-2012 period and continue to stay within the Kyoto framework, to set targets and to work to achieve them.
“I urge you to put consensus ahead of confrontation. We need to replace rhetoric with a strong plan now to create real momentum for transformative change in our economy – immediately, and certainly before 2012,” he stated.
A text of Mr. Dion's full letter is available at: