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:: PoliticsWatch Legislative Update

Opposition parties plot next move day after Kyoto officially killed

[PoliticsWatch Updated 5:30 p.m. April 27, 2007]

 

OTTAWA —  As expected, Environment Minister John Baird announced Thursday new greenhouse gas emission regulations that will not live up to Canada's 2012 Kyoto emissions targets.   

While Baird continues to say the government is committed to the Kyoto process, the targets themselves are the primary part of that process.  

Despite all their threats, posturing and press conferences, the opposition parties have been revealed to be virtually powerless in getting any results in the minority Parliament when it comes to meeting Canada's Kyoto commitment. 
 
On Friday, the opposition parties sounded like players on hockey teams who had just lost the first three games of a seven-game series. 

Faint hope that something could be done was everywhere on the opposition side on Parliament Hill Friday after morning question period. Very faint hope. 

National Post columnist Don Martin put it best when he wrote Friday that the opposition parties now face "a moment of truth."

"They've sworn allegiance to the Kyoto Protocol as a sacred cow, but the Conservatives have put it out to pasture for at least another 13 years," he wrote. 

"They're now confronted by the option to put forward a vote of non-confidence to back up their principles -- or curl up in a fetal position and whimper as their beloved Kyoto turns into a belch of hot Canadian air."

Liberal MP Michael Ignatieff was asked whether the Liberals would put their money where their mouth is on climate change and introduce a non-confidence motion in the government. He said it was something the Liberals would have to think about, but didn't sound really committed to the idea. 

That could be a big disappointment to greens who Liberal leader Stéphane Dion is trying to court. 

After all, it is Dion who feeds the envirohysteria by regularly calling climate change a "crisis" and who demands Canada meet its Kyoto targets before Canada misses the boat on the green economy. 

This week, the Globe and Mail reported a senior Dion strategist defended the Liberal leader's deal with Green Party leader Elizabeth May by saying it was part of a winning strategy because the "environment is the only issue."
 
Well if the Liberals think the environment is the only issue and such a big winner then wouldn't now be the best possible time to bring down the government and have a campaign similar to the 1988 free trade election? If not now then when? After all, Canada is running out of time to avert what Dion calls a crisis, isn't it? 

Another big loser in this is NDP Leader Jack Layton
 
For months, Layton has been asked if he was concerned about the Green party's surging support in a number of polls and May's strong finish in a London byelection due mainly to a significant voter shift from the NDP to the Greens. 

Layton has consistently responded by pointing out that, unlike the Greens, the NDP have 29 MPs in Parliament who are "getting results" for Canadians on important issues. He has noted that the NDP was the one party able to salvage the government's Clean Air Act from the trash heap after he reached out to Prime Minister Stephen Harper

While that may sound noble what Layton appears to have done with his cooperation on the Clean Air Act is buy Harper some time to replace Rona Ambrose as environment minister and then negotiate targets that industry could stomach. 

The legislative hearings on the Clean Air Act appear to have been a nice sideshow. Knowing the government would not meet the Kyoto targets, the three opposition parties rewrote the legislation in committee and included Kyoto targets. 

Since then the Act has remained on the Order Paper on the House of Commons where it is expected to die. 

One environmentalist said last week that in a private meeting with Baird the minister said he was going to let the bill die. Baird has since denied saying that, but it would make absolutely no sense to any casual observer for a cabinet minister to bring forward a bill he himself says he's not pleased with that includes so many contradictions to the new regulations introduced on Thursday. 

On Friday afternoon, Layton, who asked Liberals to lend him his vote in the last election campaign, wrote a letter to Dion and Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe asking them to lend him their opposition days so he can put forward a motion forcing the government to bring forward the Clean Air Act as soon as possible.  The Liberals have the next opposition day on Tuesday. 

However, opposition day motions are non-binding. The opposition parties could use their majority to pass such a motion in the House and the government could still ignore it, as they and the last minority Liberal government have done on countless occasions. 

Once again, Layton is giving the appearance of action when all the motion will do is yet again briefly embarrass the government on the climate change file. 

The only opposition day motion that will have any real impact would be one expressing the majority of the House has lost confidence in the government. That would defeat the government and force an election. 

It's a scenario PoliticsWatch has had on its radar for more than two months now as it appeared the most likely election trigger given how the three opposition parties had painted themselves in a corner on Kyoto. 

Last week, Baird held a press conference where he revealed the Environment Department had been probing the negative economic impact of meeting the Kyoto targets, including a suggestion that it would lead to a recession comparable to the worst since World War II. 

While polls show Canadians want Canada to live up to its Kyoto commitments, the Conservatives have already shown what a little advertising and well positioned messaging can do to the high polling numbers of Stephane Dion. 

While it may be a risky strategy, an election where the government ran against Kyoto and the economic damage they say that would result while the four other parties split the pro-Kyoto vote could be a winning scenario. 

And even if the Conservatives emerged only with a minority mandate, it would give them two more years in power as Liberal MPs spend that time forcing Dion out as leader and holding another leadership convention.  

The Legislative Update is posted every Friday afternoon when the House is sitting. To stay informed on all the political events read PoliticsWatch's  Morning Briefing updated at 9:30 a.m. ET Monday to Friday and the Daily Agenda updated at 6:00 p.m. ET Monday to Friday.
  
______________


The House will deal with the following next week


Monday, Wednesday and Thursday

Bill C-48, United Nations Convention Against Corruption;
Bill C-10, mandatory minimum penalties for gun and violent crimes;
Bill C-22, age of protection; 
Bill C-27, dangerous offenders;
Bill C-52, budget implementation bill

Tuesday 

Opposition Day

____________________

Committee Highlights

Monday

> Deputy RCMP Commissioner Barbara George testifies at the public accounts committee's study of the RCMP pension scandal.  

Tuesday

> The Commons heritage committee continues its study of the role of the public broadcaster in the 21st century when representatives from the National Film Board appear. 

> Bank of Canada Governor David Dodge appears before the Commons finance committee.  

Wednesday

> Auditor General Sheila Fraser appears before the Commons public accounts committee.  

> Justice Minister Rob Nicholson appears before the Commons justice committee.  

> Full Schedule


____________________

Bills the Tories have tabled in this Parliament 

C-2 An Act providing for conflict of interest rules, restrictions on election financing and measures respecting administrative transparency, oversight and accountability

Status: Royal Assent December 12

This is better known the Federal Accountability Act, which a number of new measures and a massive list of amendments to current laws aimed at cleaning up government. The bill is the government's No. 1 priority.

C-3 An Act respecting international bridges and tunnels and making a consequential amendment to another Act

Status: Royal Assent February 1, 2007

C-4 An Act to amend An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and the Income Tax Act

Status: Royal Assent May 11

C-5 An Act respecting the establishment of the Public Health Agency of Canada and amending certain Acts

Status: Royal Assent December 12

C-6 An Act to amend the Aeronautics Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts

Status: Referred to transport committee November 7

C-7 An Act to amend the National Defence Act

Status: Introduced April 27

C-8 An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the public service of Canada for the financial year ending March 31, 2007

Status: Royal Assent May 11

C-9 An Act to amend the Criminal Code (conditional sentence of imprisonment)

Status: Passed in the House November 3

C-10 An Act to amend the Criminal Code (minimum penalties for offences involving firearms) and to make a consequential amendment to another Act

Status: Returned from justice committee February 21, 2007

C-11 An Act to amend the Canada Transportation Act and the Railway Safety Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts

Status: Passed in the House February 28, 2007

C-12 An Act to provide for emergency management and to amend and repeal certain Acts

Status: Passed in the House December 11

C-13 An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on May 2, 2006

Status: Royal Assent June 22

This is the budget implementation bill. The bill was accidentally given unanimous consent in the House on third reading when none of the opposition parties objected after confusion over who would speak to the bill.

C-14 An Act to amend the Citizenship Act (adoption)

Status: Referred to citizenship and immigration committee June 13

This bill makes it easier for parents to obtain citizenship for children they adopt from overseas.

C-15 An Act to amend the Agricultural Marketing Programs Act

Status: Royal Assent June 22

C-16 An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act

Status: Motion in the House related to Senate amendment adopted April 24, 2007.

C-17 An Act to amend the Judges Act and certain other Acts in relation to courts

Status: Royal Assent December 14

This bill sets salaries for federally-appointed judges at a lower rate than that recommended by an independent panel. The panel wanted 10.8 per cent increase plus cost of living. The government is offering 7.25 per cent in the bill plus cost of living.

C-18 An Act to amend certain Acts in relation to DNA identification

Status: Passed in the House March 28, 2007

C-19 An Act to amend the Criminal Code (street racing) and to make a consequential amendment to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act

Status: Royal Assent December 14

This bill toughens punitive measures against convicted street racers. 

C-20 An Act respecting airports, airport authorities and other airport operators and amending the Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada Act

Status: Introduced June 15

C-21 An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act (non-registration of firearms that are neither prohibited nor restricted)

Status: Introduced June 19

This bill we effectively kill the long-arm registry.

C-22 An Act to amend the Criminal Code (age of protection) and to make consequential amendments to the Criminal Records Act

Status: Returned from justice committee with amendment April 23, 2007

C-23 An Act to amend the Criminal Code (criminal procedure, language of the accused, sentencing and other amendments)

Status: Referred to the Justice committee October 16

C-24 An Act to impose a charge on the export of certain softwood lumber products to the United States and a charge on refunds of certain duty deposits paid to the United States, to authorize certain payments, to amend the Export and Import Permits Act and to amend other Acts as a consequence

Status:
Royal Assent December 14

This is the implementation legislation for the softwood lumber deal with the U.S. 

C-25 An Act to amend the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act and the Income Tax Act and to make a consequential amendment to another Act

Status:
Royal Assent December 14

This bill toughens money laundering and terror financing laws and would give the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada the power to monitor money wiring and travellers cheques services. 

C-26 An Act to amend the Criminal Code (criminal interest rate)

Status:
Passed in the Senate April 26, 2007


C-27 An Act to amend the Criminal Code (dangerous offenders and recognizance to keep the peace)

Status:
Second reading, February 14, 2007

This bill places the onus on three time sexual and violent offenders to prove to the Crown they are not deserving of dangerous offender status.

C-28 A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on May 2, 2006 

Status:
Royal Assent February 21, 2007


C-29 An Act to amend the Air Canada Public Participation Act 

Status:
Introduced October 18


C-30 An Act to amend the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, the Energy Efficiency Act and the Motor Vehicle Fuel Consumption Standards Act (Canada's Clean Air Act) 

Status:
Returned from the special legislative committee with amendments on March 30, 2007.


C-31 An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and the Public Service Employment Act

Status:
Passed in the House February 20, 2007

This bill will require voters to present photo ID at polling stations. 

C-32 An Act to amend the Criminal Code (impaired driving) and to make consequential amendments to other Acts

Status:
Referred to the justice committee February 6, 2007

This bill will impose penalties for those convicted of driving under the influence of drugs 

C-33 An Act to amend the Income Tax Act, including amendments in relation to foreign investment entities and non-resident trusts, and to provide for the bijural expression of the provisions of that Act 

Status:
Second Reading March 29, 2007


C-34 An Act to provide for jurisdiction over education on First Nation lands in British Columbia

Status:
Royal Assent December 12


C-35 An Act to amend the Criminal Code (reverse onus in bail hearings for firearm-related offences) 

Status:
Referred to special legislative committee, March 27, 2007

This bill requires those charged with gun crimes prove why they should be granted bail before trial.

C-36 An Act to amend the Canada Pension Plan and the Old Age Security Act 

Status:
Passed in the House March 19, 2007


C-37 An Act to amend the law governing financial institutions and to provide for related and consequential matters

Status:
Royal Assent March 29, 2007

This bill, among other things, lowers the legal minimum mortgage downpayment consumers have to make on a home.

C-38 An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the financial year ending March 31, 2007 (Appropriation Act No. 2, 2006-2007) 

Status:
Royal Assent December 12

Main estimates

C-39 An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the financial year ending March 31, 2007 (Appropriation Act No. 3, 2006-2007)

Status:
Royal Assent December 12

Supplementary estimates

C-40 An Act to amend the Excise Tax Act, the Excise Act, 2001 and the Air Travellers Security Charge Act and to make related amendments to other Acts 

Status:
Third reading, April 25, 2007

C-41 An Act to amend the Competition Act 

Status:
Second Reading February 27

C-42 An Act to amend the Quarantine Act 

Status:
Referred to the Health committee March 29

C-43 An Act to provide for consultations with electors on their preferences for appointments to the Senate

Status:
Second reading April 20, 2007

This bill will allow for Elections Canada to hold votes to select candidates to fill Senate vacancies in province-wide races.

C-44 An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act

Status:
Sent to aboriginal affairs committee February 21, 2007

This law will remove a controversial section of the act that provides an exemption for aboriginal Canadians. 

C-45 An Act respecting the sustainable development of Canada's seacoast and inland fisheries

Status:
Second Reading February 23, 2007

C-46 — The Minister of Labour — An Act to provide for the resumption and continuation of railway operations 

Status:
Royal Assent April 18, 2007

This bill was designed to end the labour dispute at CN Rail. 

C-47 The Minister of Industry — An Act respecting the protection of marks related to the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games and protection against certain misleading business associations and making a related amendment to the Trade-marks Act 

Status:
Introduced March 2, 2007

C-48 — The Minister of Justice — An Act to amend the Criminal Code in order to implement the United Nations Convention against Corruption 

Introduced March 22, 2007 

C-49 — The President of the Treasury Board — An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the financial year ending March 31, 2007 (Appropriation Act No. 4, 2006-2007) 

Royal Assent March 29, 2007

C-50 — The President of the Treasury Board — An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the financial year ending March 31, 2008 (Appropriation Act No. 1, 2007-2008) 

Royal Assent March 29, 2007

C-51 — The Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development — An Act to give effect to the Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement and to make a consequential amendment to another Act 

Introduced March 22, 2007 

C-52 — The Minister of Finance — An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 19, 2007 

Second Reading March 30, 2007 

This is the budget implementation bill. 

C-53 — The Minister of Foreign Affairs — An Act to implement the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States (ICSID Convention) 

Introduced March 30, 2007 

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