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Canada’s Senate kills climate change bill

This won’t make big news but it is quite astonishing all the same. For the first time in 70 years, Canada’s Senate (which is unelected) has killed a bill without debate that was passed by the elected representatives of the House of Commons. The Climate Change Accountability Act, or Bill C-311 as it is known, was a private member’s bill that had been introduced by the New Democratic Party. It is now officially dead.

Since taking power in 2006, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has tilted the membership of the Senate in favour of his Conservative Party so that they now have a majority of votes (this despite the fact that the Conservatives received the support of a mere 36% of voters in the last federal election and their polling numbers haven’t budged since). Harper has made no secret of his disdain for Bill C-311 and it seems the Senate’s Conservative members were well aware of his antipathy. They acted accordingly.

Canada’s former Minster of the Environment, Jim Prentice, recently resigned his post. Now, with international climate change negotiations in Cancun just two weeks away, Canada’s delegation is set to arrive with a stand-in environment minister and absolutely no plan for climate change mitigation. In the wake of Canada’s rejected bid for a seat on the UN Security Council, is there any wonder why Canada’s reputation around the world is plummeting?

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