More hot air from PM?

The House of Commons is sitting in Ottawa in a hybrid format, this week.

One of the Liberal governments signature bills — Bill C-12 — has come before the House for debate.

Bill C-12 is the “Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act” that the Liberals say will respect “transparency and accountability in Canada's efforts to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050.”

Here is some history on where Canada stands with GHG emission reductions.

In 1993, former Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chretien promised to reduce our GHG emissions to 20% of 1988 levels by 2005.

That promise was broken.

In 1997, Chretien signed the Kyoto Accord that promised to reduce our emissions by a smaller amount of six per cent below 1990 levels that would be achieved by 2012.

In 2006, when the Liberals were voted out of office, Canada was 30% over that target and as a result, former Prime Minister Stephen Harper withdrew Canada from the Kyoto agreement.

In 2009, at the Copenhagen climate conference, Harper matched the U.S. target to cut GHG emissions by 17% of 2005 levels by 2020 and 30% by 2013, in what was a non-binding agreement.

In 2015, shortly after the election, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sent the largest Canadian delegation in history to attend the Paris Climate Change Conference, at a cost in excess of $1 million.

While in Paris, despite often criticizing the former Harper government, this Liberal government adopted those exact same targets.

The targets the Liberals adopted in 2015 are reported as being astray by 123 million tonnes in 2020, meaning that, once again, we are failing to meet our GHG emissions target reductions.

In Bill C-12, the Liberal government has taken a different approach.

Rather then announcing a new plan for today, the Prime Minister has announced that Canada will achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

How does that happen?

The legislation is silent on that.

Rather than providing a roadmap on how to achieve that goal, this bill instead proposes that it will be to some extent the current government, but mostly future governments to set binding climate targets to figure out a solution by 2050.

This would be accomplished by requiring future federal governments to set five-year interim emissions reduction targets over the next 30 years but that process would not begin until 2030.  

Critics have pointed out this means that there will not be any binding target for the current Trudeau Liberal government.

Many have also asked what happens under Bill C-12 if a future federal government fails to reach its emissions targets, as in the past and present, with our current Liberal government. 

The answer is that there is no formal penalty built into this bill.

This fact has drawn a strong rebuke from many critics.

The bill also calls for the creation of a 15-person panel who will make recommendations to the Minister of the Environment.

What is most interesting about this bill is that it will not hold the current government accountable for it’s many climate related promises made since 2015. 

It is largely focused on future governments, that the current government does not need to be accountable for.

My question for you this week:

  • What are your thoughts on Bill C-12? 

I can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free 1-800-665-8711.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.


Comments are pre-moderated to ensure they meet our guidelines. Approval times will vary. Keep it civil, and stay on topic. If you see an inappropriate comment, please use the ‘flag’ feature. Comments are the opinions of the comment writer, not of Castanet. Comments remain open for one day after a story is published and are closed on weekends. Visit Castanet’s Forums to start or join a discussion about this story.

More Dan in Ottawa articles

About the Author

Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola and the co-chair of the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations.

Before entering public life, Dan was the owner of Kick City Martial Arts, responsible for training hundreds of men, women and youth to bring out their best.

Dan  is consistently recognized as one of Canada’s top 10 most active Members of Parliament on Twitter (@danalbas) and also continues to write a weekly column published in many local newspapers and on this website.

Dan welcomes comments, questions and concerns from citizens and is often available to speak to groups and organizations on matters of federal concern. 

He can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free at 1-800-665-8711.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

Previous Stories