::


:: PoliticsWatch Archives

> Frontpage
> Recent News
> News Archive

> Features Archive


:: Inside PoliticsWatch

> About PoliticsWatch
> Advertise on PoliticsWatch
> Contact PoliticsWatch
> PoliticsWatch News Syndication Services
> Jobs @ PoliticsWatch.com
> Press Contacts...
> Meet the PoliticsWatch team


:: PoliticsWatch Legislative Update

PM expresses frustration with opposition Kyoto "fantasy" 

[PoliticsWatch Updated 4:45 p.m. February 2, 2007]

 

OTTAWA —  After a week of being accused of being a "climate-change denier" and of even trying to "paralyze the world," Prime Minister Stephen Harper's frustrations with the opposition parties was quite evident by Friday.   

The prime minister ended a week dominated by questions about climate change in the House of Commons and in the media with a press conference at an Ottawa hospital after making a health-care announcement. (Health care, as you may remember, used to be the No. 1 issue with voters)

The PM is quickly becoming aware that the hopes of this minority Parliament reaching any kind of consensus on tackling climate change are appearing unlikely after this first week. 

And the first major stumbling block will be the politics of Kyoto. 

The Liberals, who ratified Kyoto but were unable to halt Canada's growth in greenhouse gas emissions while in government, are demanding the government commits Canada to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions to six per cent below 1990 levels by 2012. They're already 30 per cent over 1990 levels. 

Same goes for the NDP and the Bloc. 

However, Harper and his government have been saying for nearly a year that Canada will not be able to meet its Kyoto commitments without spending billions on international emission credits -- something they've vowed not to do.  

Harper argues to do so would translate into economic devastation or unreasonable restrictions on individuals. 

"You can't just snap your fingers and reduce emissions by one third, reduce Canadians' energy usage by one third in the space of a couple of years," the PM said at his press conference on Friday. 

"I don't think realistically we can tell Canadians, 'Stop driving your car. Stop going to work. Turn the heat off in the winter.' These are not realistic solutions."

The prime minister and many conservatives seem particularly puzzled by Liberal Leader Stephane Dion and how the media has allowed him to have, as Tory MP Jason Kenney said on the weekend, a "free ride" on the environment. 

This week Dion introduced an Opposition Day motion in the House of Commons calling on the government to meet its Kyoto obligations, a day after National Post columnist John Ivison wrote a column revisiting an interview he conducted with Dion over the summer that did not get much attention as everyone assumed Bob Rae or Michael Ignatieff would be the eventual winner of the Liberal leadership race. 

"In 2008, I will be part of Kyoto, but I will say to the world I don't think I will make it," Dion told Ivison, in what seems to be an admission of the reality the current government is facing. But not according to Dion. 

When pressed by reporters this week whether Canada could meet the targets by 2012,  Dion says he can meet the Kyoto targets, but there is a big if. 

"I will need a strong green budget in 2007 to prepare the grounds. Otherwise, 2012 will come too fast.

In other words, Harper has the next couple of weeks before the budget is tabled to act or else all is lost. 

"We have to talk about facts, not about fantasy," the frustrated Harper told reporters on Friday.

"We have three opposition parties beating their chest saying, 'This is the most important issue facing mankind' and they haven't suggested a single practical way one would actually accomplish anything."

While the other parties have plans, none of them are clearly spelling out exactly what kind of real-world sacrifices will be required of industry and individuals. 

All, including the Conservatives, are proposing emission targets for industry, but none are saying if this will cost any jobs. 

As for individual sacrifices none of the parties are discussing anything draconian for individuals other than the possibility that Rick Mercer's TV commercials could some day be back in heavy rotation. For the opposition parties, Canadians can have their Kyoto and eat it, too. 

"I don't think going around punishing Canadians is a thing to do," explains NDP Leader Jack Layton. "I think you want to take a positive approach and encourage Canadians, facilitate change and we have got to start with the biggest polluters." 

The biggest polluters, of course, mean Canadians' employers. 

As for the Liberals they seem to have a practical way to reduce greenhouse gases. All one has to do is listen to what Liberal natural resources critic Mark Holland told talk radio host Charles Adler on Thursday. 

Holland was questioning whether the prime minister was serious about reducing greenhouse gases and noted the government favoured expansion of Alberta's oil sands development. 

The oil sands currently represent 10 per cent of Canada's GDP, but is one of the biggest emitters in Canada. 

Holland said the Liberals would "manage that resource responsibly" and that Canada needs to "stabilize the oil sands"

"You mean taking less stuff out of the sands is what you’re saying," asked Adler. 

"Exactly," said Holland. "Using it responsibly over a protracted period of time, making sure that we can actually meet our international commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions." 

Adler then asked Holland if Dion in the campaign would go on record and say the Liberals would not allow the energy companies in Alberta to take as much out of the oil sands as they plan to take out?

"Yeah," Holland said without hesitation. "I think what you’re going to be seeing is we’re going to say that you cannot exploit that resource, that you can’t, you know, basically go in there and pump it out as fast you can to give to the Americans and sell out our national interests and blow apart our, our emissions targets."

When asked what this would cost, Holland had no specifics, but said it's a "fallacy that it’s going to cost us jobs and cost our economy is just that. It’s a lie."

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 bills next week

Monday and Tuesday

Bill C-26 payday loans (third reading)
Bill C-32 impaired driving
Bill C-11 the transport 
Bill C-33 the technical income tax bill.

Wednesday 

Bill C-31 voter ID (third reading)
Bill C-44 aboriginal human rights.

Thursday

Opposition day

____________________

Committee Highlights

Monday

> Justice Minister Rob Nicholson appears before the justice committee to discuss judicial appointments process. 

Tuesday

> Environment Minister John Baird appears before the special legislative committee on the Clean Air Act.. 

> Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor appears before the defence committee to discuss military procurement.



> 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: Referred to justice committee June 13

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

Status: Returned from committee with amendments December 13

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: Passed in the House November 6

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: Sent to justice committee October 4

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: Referred to justice committee October 30

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:
Report stage January 31, 2007


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

Status:
Special legislative committee struck November 9, Liberal MP Bernard Patry named chair of special committee on November 10

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:
Report stage December 7


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:
Referred to special legislative committee December 4; Tory MP Laurie Hawn appointed committee chair December 12

All three opposition parties say they will vote against the government's main plank of its Green Plan.  

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

Status:
Report stage, January 31, 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:
Second reading January 30, 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:
Introduced November 22


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:
Introduced November 23

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:
Referred to Human Resources committee January 30, 2007


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

Status:
Referred to finance committee December 7

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:
Referred to finance committee, January 30, 2007

C-41 An Act to amend the Competition Act 

Status:
Introduced December 7

C-42 An Act to amend the Quarantine Act 

Status:
Introduced December 12

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

Status:
Introduced December 13

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:
Introduced December 13

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:
Introduced December 13

: Related Links

> Check out last week's legislative update

© PoliticsWatch® 2006. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PoliticsWatch content, including by framing, copying, linking or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Public Interests Research and Communications Inc. (PIRCINC). PoliticsWatch is registered trademark of PIRCINC.

> More Recent PoliticsWatch News...







:: Got a News Tip?

Call the PoliticsWatch
tip-line at 613.232.0516
or
e-mail

 

PoliticsWatch Home  |  News Services  Voter Resources  |  Research Base

© PoliticsWatch® 2004. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PoliticsWatch content, 
including by framing, copying, linking or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of 
Public Interests Research and Communications Inc. (PIRCINC). PoliticsWatch is registered trademark of PIRCINC.
PoliticsWatch® | Canada's Political Portal™
85 Albert Street, Suite 1502, Ottawa ON K1P 6A4 |  phone: 613.232.0516
news@politicswatch.com  |  Terms of Service, Copyright, Trademarks, and Disclaimers Statement