Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Unelected Conservative Senators Block Due Process on Climate Change Bill

In September I urged you to contact Senators to support Bill C-311, the Climate Change Accountability Act. The Conservative Senate was to debate the bill and we were to encourage its passage into law.

It’s an important piece of legislation. If passed into law, the Climate Change Accountability Act will set science based emissions reductions, require the government to produce five year target plans, establish independent reviews, and punish polluters who break regulations.

There’s a problem. The critic of the bill, Senator Neufeld, is not debating it. Now part of me thinks that this is just grand, but – it’s stalling the process. The ball is in Neufeld’s court, and yet he is not picking it up.

This is not just a climate issue anymore. It’s a democracy issue. The majority of elected representatives passed the bill in May. The Conservatives are now delaying it indefinitely in the unelected Senate.

The Conservatives are in a tricky situation. The optics are terrible. They don’t want to appear that they are the bad guys when it comes to climate change. Their talk is supportive (their actions are not). Harper also campaigned on government transparency and an elected Senate. Their talk is supportive….

So why are unelected Conservative Senators stalling due process on a bill passed by elected representatives? They are banking on an apathetic public not making noise on a bill that can languish for months on end until perhaps (hopefully they feel) an election is called and the whole thing dies.

Well I tell you, apathy sucks. It’s time we kick it in the ass.

Senator Mitchell, who introduced and is championing the bill, asks everyone to write or call Senators Neufeld and LeBreton (Leader of the Government of the Senate) to urge them to stop stalling the bill. He tells me that our letters matter.

Please write a handwritten letter to the Senators in question. A handwritten letter means you’re serious. You took the time. The issue matters to you. No one writes handwritten letters anymore, except for people who are serious and those who grew up writing handwritten notes and are still happy with their penmanship. I’m sure your penmanship is fine.

Or call them. I’m now calling Senator Neufeld every day after a Senate session devoid of Bill C-311 debate. If you call him, you will have a 99 percent chance of leaving him a message either on a machine or with an actual human being. Tell him you are watching progress on the bill and would like to know why he hasn’t debated it and when he plans to.

Or at least email.

For a sample message, click here -

I have put so much work into this. I’m asking you to take a half hour to a few minutes out of your day. Please contact Senators Neufeld and LeBreton. They cannot get away with ignoring important climate legislation that our elected officials supported. They can’t. The only people who can stop them are us.

Details and updates on the bill can be found on

Thank you for making our democracy a little stronger and for taking a stand on progressive climate action.

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