A rare event is about to occur in Ottawa. A piece of legislation that obliges the government to take strong action on global warming is set to pass the House of Commons.
The Climate Change Accountability Act (Bill C-311) sets science-based targets for Canada's global warming pollution at five-year intervals between now and 2050. The Act would require the government to implement a plan to reach each milestone and would include oversight from Canada's environment commissioner.
The bill has been in Parliament for more than a year, and it appears that today's vote, like others before it, will split along party lines, with the NDP, Liberals, and Bloc voting for and the governing Conservatives voting against. This shows, once again, that the Conservatives are holding back action that a majority of MPs, federal parties, provinces, and Canadians support.
In fact, support is so universal outside of the federal Conservative party that the same bill (called Bill C-377, but exactly the same otherwise) also made it through the House of Commons in the last Parliament. It had majority support, but unfortunately it died in the Senate when the last election was called in fall 2008.
This time, the challenge will be to get it through the Senate before the next election. And who knows when that will be? Let's hope there's enough time to get this important piece of legislation passed.