ontario news watch

Greens joins Conservatives to say Feds-NDP pushing through new net-zero climate bill

OTTAWA — Green Party of Canada Leader Annamie Paul says important climate legislation is failing to get the scrutiny it deserves because the Liberal government and NDP are ramming it through Parliament. 

Paul accuses the two sides of striking a deal to ensure the passage of Bill C-12, which promises more accountability around Canada’s goals to reduce its carbon-related emissions. 

If passed, the legislation would require Canada set rolling, five-year targets to cut greenhouse gas pollution until 2050, the date Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has set for the country to achieve net-zero emissions. 

New Democrats pledged their support for the law to get into the Senate after saying the government accepted its suggestions requiring it to do more reporting on the progress made up until 2030. 

Paul says the law falls short of similar measures other countries have put in place.  

She says these include a “hard” emissions reduction target within five years of a bill’s passage, and the introduction of a “carbon budget” for how many tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions can be released during that time. 

The Greens have so far voted against the Liberal legislation, as have the Conservatives, who say the influence of “climate activists” on an government-appointed advisory panel could harm the oil and gas sector. 

Parliamentarians are set to discuss the bill at a committee later today and vote on proposed amendments. 

“There have been no Indigenous witnesses, no climate scientists and no young climate advocates who have had the opportunity to testify,” Paul said during a news conference Monday. 

She also underscored how more review is needed, saying, “We are one of the top five worst greenhouse gas polluters per capita in the world. We have the worst record in the G7.”

Although both the Greens and Conservatives accuse the government and NDP of rushing the bill, the environmental law charity Ecojustice welcomes the collaboration. 

In a statement, it says it plans to look carefully at the bill, but believes by parties working together the law could be strengthened so that Canada can actually meet its climate goals.  

By 2030, Trudeau has committed the country to reducing its levels of greenhouse gas emissions by between 40 to 45 per cent below 2005 levels. 

The government says it’s currently on track to slash this pollution by 36 per cent.  

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 31, 2021

Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press