Lib­er­als push Tories to show cli­mate pol­icy

The Sudbury Star - - CANADA - MIA RABSON

In a bat­tle to see can prove they care more about the en­vi­ron­ment, both the Lib­er­als and the fed­eral New Democrats are push­ing mo­tions this week to de­clare cli­mate change a na­tional emer­gency.

With the flood­ing wa­ters of the Ot­tawa River at the base of Par­lia­ment Hill as a back­drop, the com­pet­ing mo­tions both ap­peared on the House of Com­mons no­tice pa­per Mon­day. Both come a week af­ter the Green party won a by­elec­tion in Bri­tish Columbia, which even Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau took as vot­ers sig­nalling grow­ing con­cern with cli­mate change.

The Lib­eral mo­tion, which is to be de­bated Thurs­day, asks MPs to recom­mit to the Paris cli­mate-change ac­cord by meet­ing the ex­ist­ing tar­gets for cut­ting green­house-gas emis­sions and tough­en­ing them as is re­quired to meet the ac­cord’s stated ob­jec­tive of keep­ing global warm­ing as close to 1.5 C as pos­si­ble.

The NDP mo­tion, which is to be de­bated first on Wed­nes­day, also seeks to hit those tar­gets and calls for the govern­ment to bail on the Trans Moun­tain pipe­line ex­pan­sion and end fos­sil-fuel sub­si­dies. NDP Leader Jag­meet Singh says pipelines and fos­sil-fuel sub­si­dies are not con­gru­ent with cli­mate-change ac­tion.

David Co­letto, CEO of Aba­cus Data, said the mo­tions are an in­di­ca­tion the par­ties ac­knowl­edge pub­lic con­cern about cli­mate change has sharp­ened, par­tic­u­larly this spring as parts of On­tario, Que­bec and New Brunswick have dealt with once-a-cen­tury floods for the se­cond time in two or three years.

“We are see­ing a rise in the in­ten­sity of con­cern,” said Co­letto.

En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Cather­ine McKenna was not hid­ing the strat­egy be­hind the Lib­eral mo­tion: push­ing the Con­ser­va­tives to de­clare their sup­port for the Paris agree­ment tar­gets or tip their hand on leader Andrew Scheer’s yet-un­re­leased cli­mate-change plan by vot­ing against them.

“I think it’s re­ally im­por­tant to have this de­bate and I’m re­ally in­ter­ested in see­ing what other par­ties will say, in par­tic­u­lar the Con­ser­va­tive party,” McKenna said Tues­day. “We’ve seen Andrew Scheer (have) no cli­mate plan for over a year, and hav­ing se­cret meet­ings with oil lob­by­ists. I as­sume that’s how they’re go­ing to de­velop their cli­mate plan.”

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