Shocking defeat of climate bill at the hands of Harper’s unelected Senators

NDP leader Jack Layton said he was appalled to learn last night of the defeat of hIs party’s landmark climate change bill at the hands of Stephen Harper’s unelected and unaccountable Conservative Senators.

“Last night, Stephen Harper’s appointed Conservative Senators quietly voted to kill a critical environment bill,” said Layton. “This bill had already received final approval from elected Members of Parliament — and yet Stephen Harper’s unelected Senators killed it last night. So much for sober second thought.”

Bill C-311, the Climate Change Accountability Act, received final approval by the House of Commons on May 5th when it passed Third Reading by a vote of 149-136. Last night in the Senate, the bill was defeated in a snap vote, 43-32.

“As a result of this bill’s defeat, Canada now heads to the UN climate change meetings in Cancun completely empty handed,” said NDP Environment Critic Linda Duncan. “Despite endless promises to act on climate change, Stephen Harper’s government has not even tabled one law to address our rising greenhouse gas emissions.”

“The Climate Change Accountability Act would have set tough but achievable targets,” said NDP Deputy Environment Critic, and the bill’s sponsor, Bruce Hyer. “This would have gone a long way to ensuring Canada played its part in the fight against climate change.”

New Democrats also pointed out that it is unprecedented for the unelected Senate to defeat a Private Members Bill passed by the elected House of Commons. In fact, no House of Commons bill has been defeated by the Senate at second reading since before World War II.

“Stephen Harper promised to be different, instead he stacked the Senate with unelected, unaccountable Senators — and directed them to overrule the elected representatives of the Canadian people,” said Layton. “This is a truly offensive act against Canadians and demonstrates once again why its long past time to abolish the unnecessary and undemocratic Senate.”

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