Skip to content

NEWS: C-311 climate legislation defeated in the Senate

This evening, the Senate voted 43 to 32 to kill C-311, the Climate Change Accountability Act. The bill, passed by the House of Commons in a 149 to 136 vote in May, called for Canada’s carbon emissions to be cut 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.

The Harper government opposed this bill in the House, but were not able to stop it given the support for the bill from the Liberals, NDP and Bloc Quebecois. But in tonight’s surprise vote, they managed to defeat the bill in the Senate. There are 105 senators – 52 are Conservatives, 49 are Liberals, 2 are Progressive Conservatives, and 2 are Independent.

An NDP media release from this past October stated, “When challenged (about the six month delay) on Tuesday (October 5), Senate leader Marjory LeBreton refused to consider the bill, or give any indication when, or even if, the government would call it for debate – effectively leaving the country’s only federal climate change legislation in limbo. Senate rules state that only the government can conclude debate on a bill or schedule votes. Harper has designated oil and gas sector veteran Richard Neufeld to lead the government’s debate on the climate bill in the senate…”

The federal government says it has an emissions reduction target of 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. When translated to the standard baseline year of 1990, this target equates to a disgraceful 2.5 increase over 1990 levels by 2020.

The defeat of C-311 comes less than two weeks before the COP 16 climate summit begins in Cancun, Mexico.

The Council of Canadians has been calling on its members to support C-311 since early December 2009. Although we demand deeper emission reductions, we believe this legislation would have been a much-needed step in the right direction.