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Harper’s Stacked Senate Aborts Climate Bill and Admits No Shame

2010/11/18

As I mentioned yesterday, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper bid his Conservative Senators to kill the Climate Accountability Act, which had been duly passed by the majority of elected Members of Parliament in the House of Commons last May. Although opposed by the Conservatives throughout its passage through the House, because they do not hold a majority, they are not able to block bills that are supported by all three opposition parties. This is called democracy. What happened Monday night in the Senate is the opposite; it’s called tyranny. If the Conservatives had pretended to abide by the established rules of the Senate, and debated the bill in committee before defeating it, they might have a fig leaf to cover themselves with (even so, since 1961, the Senate has only twice killed a bill that had been passed by elected MPs, and only after debating it). Instead, they refused for months to debate this bill, which was first introduced in the Senate last June. Then on Monday, without notice to Senator Grant Mitchell who had sponsored the bill, the Speaker unexpectedly called the second reading vote even as Senator Mitchell protested that he didn’t want it to stand. This is a sham, and I hope Canadians recognize that this Prime Minister and his government are making a mockery of our democratic parliamentary system. As Canadian Climate Scientist Andrew Weaver said yesterday “[PM Harper] has got to get kicked out. This is Canada, not Zimbabwe…or maybe it is.”

Apparently Harper has issued his Senators some of the nighttime medication his Members of Parliament take regularly – Mentholated Conscience Remover, which comes in extra-denial strength. Hopefully the opposition isn’t inhaling the fumes from across the aisle, and they will do the right thing and hold Harper accountable for this dishonouring of our democracy. It’s time to bring down this government and let Canadians decide if they want more of Harper’s tricks or if they’d had quite enough.

More links:

It’s Hard to Be a Climate Scientist When Dinosaurs Are Making the Calls

Tory Senate Overturns Opposition Bill for First Time on Climate Bill

Senate Kills Climate Bill

To read the debate on the bill since it was introduced in the Senate last June, click here and follow the links.

Take Action

Please call, email, or (best of all) write your Member of Parliament and any and all Conservative Senators to let them know what you think of this mockery of democracy.  Click here to get contact information.

Once you’ve done that, ask others to do the same. Join the “Million Letter March” Canada to get action on climate change. This initiative is inspired by the American campaign of the same name. For more information, go to Million Letter March Canada on Facebook or to the Citizens Climate Lobby website. It’s time to stand up and be counted!

 

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