Canada’s climate accountability legislation, Bill C-12, is on its way to detailed review by the Commons environment and sustainable development committee, after passing second reading in the House by a 210-122 vote.
Conservative MPs and former Green party leader Elizabeth May voted against the bill, Conservatives after attempting a motion to quash the bill, May after declaring in the past that the measure was too weak to be worth passing, The Canadian Press reports.
From the moment the government introduced Bill C-12 late last November, climate organizations have been working to move it to committee, where it will be subject to review, amendments, and—the groups hope—to being strengthened.
“It’s time for MPs to get #BillC12 into committee,” Climate Action Network-Canada (CAN-Rac) tweeted as part of an April 1 Twitter storm. “Politicians have an important job to do to review this legislation. No more wasting time.”
“It’s time for political unity on climate action,” said KAIROS Canada. “All parties must work together to make #BillC12 a pivotal law to fight the climate crisis.”
“Canada has missed every single one of its own climate targets,” Greenpeace Canada noted. “If politicians don’t work together to pass #BillC12, we risk missing our chance to reduce emissions.”
“The bill needs to be strengthened in order to keep government to account,” the David Suzuki Foundation said. “But we don’t want to go back to square one—let’s get #BillC12 to committee and strengthen it there.”
“It’s time for MPs to get #BillC12 into committee,” added Ecojustice lawyer Julia Croome. “My son is 115 days old and I’m starting to worry he’ll be walking and talking before we make this country climate accountable.”
C-12’s chances of clearing second reading improved last month, after New Democrats and Liberals agreed on limited changes to the bill. Now, groups are urging legislators of all parties to get the legislation right and get it passed, “to make sure that Canada never misses another climate target”.
“Strengthening Bill C-12 in committee is crucial for Canada to break its disastrous cycle of broken climate promises,” CAN-Rac Executive Director Catherine Abreu said in a release coordinated by Ecojustice. “Parties will have to keep working together to equip Canada with a rigorous climate governance framework that, if they rise to the challenge, could usher in a new era of climate accountability in this country.”
“Canadians are ready for bolder, more ambitious climate action,” said Ecojustice climate program director Alan Andrews. “Bill C-12 is a critical opportunity to make sure Canada never misses another climate target, but the bill needs crucial amendments to deliver real accountability.”
“While Bill C-12 has reached an important milestone, the work is far from over,” stressed Équiterre climate policy analyst Émilie Boisseau-Bouvier. “In its current form, the bill does not adequately address the needs of the current crisis. However, we are confident that the necessary amendments can be adopted in committee in the coming weeks. We will be there to propose solutions to strengthen the bill and to remind elected officials that Canada must not miss another of its climate targets.”