Letter to Jagmeet Singh, MP – Sept 5, 2020
Jagmeet Singh, MP
Leader, New Democratic Party
Dear Mr Singh
re: Climate Change Accountability Act
JustEarth: A Coalition for Environmental Justice asks you, indeed urges you and your caucus, to give your best support to the adoption of a new Climate Change Accountability Act for Canada.
As you will know, Jack Layton succeeded in getting one adopted in the House of Commons in 2010, which was shamefully defeated in the Senate, without debate. We note that a member of caucus, Leah Gazan, has proposed a private member’s bill on climate change accountability, and we commend her for it.
Six major Canadian environmental organizations (CAN-Rac, Eco-justice, Pembina Institute, Equiterre, Environmental Defence, and the West Coast Environmental Law Association, have urged the government to adopt such a law, modeled on the successful laws of the U.K. and New Zealand.
You may be interested to know that the U.K. law, adopted in 2008 and strengthened (a higher target for emission reductions) in 2019, has been successful. Reports on the first two five-year “carbon budgets” show they were met. Overall, the U.K. has reduced its GHG emissions by 44%, while in the same period Canada’s have risen by 21%.
We are pleased with the NDP’s support for a Green New Deal, which we see as complementary to an Accountability Act. Of course green policies are needed. The Accountability Act provides structure, a regime for checking that emissions are actually going down. Canada has a sorry history of agreeing to targets (even back to Kyoto), then not meeting them, but even increasing emissions.
The U.K. is a good example for you, because it was an MP from a sister party, Labour, that was the first to propose such a private member’s bill, which was adopted in both Houses. A Labour prime minister, Tony Blair, put it in the throne speech, to turn the private member’s bill into a public bill. It was finally adopted under another Labour government, with Gordon Brown as prime minister, in 2008.The bill throughout got massive support from Conservatives (only a few recalcitrants), a far better situation than we have in Canada with current Conservatives.
We ask you and/or your environment and climate change critic to raise the need for an accountability act in question period. JustEarth members hope to see it in the throne speech. We ask you also to press for it to be monitored in the Senate, mindful of the disgraceful way Jack Layton’s bill was treated.
Lyn Adamson ,Robert Bennett, Rose Dyson, Joyce Hall, John W.B. Hill, Susan James ,Eva Kushner, Lynn McDonald, Jessie Pennington, Dorothy Goldin Rosenberg, Peter Shepherd, Ronny Yaron, for JustEarth
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