Coalition threatens election over Kyoto
June 6th 2007.
MONTREAL - With Prime Minister Stephen Harper trying to persuade European politicians he has the right plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, four federal parties and Quebec environmentalists teamed up to call for his environment minister's head and threaten an election.
"It's not impossible that we will get to that ( an election on Kyoto)," Quebec Liberal MP Pablo Rodriguez said in reference to Conservative stalling tactics in the Senate to block Bill C-288. A private member's bill piloted by Rodriguez, the bill is designed to ensure Canada honours its Kyoto protocol commitments despite the minority Conservative government's opposition to the accord.
Bloc Quebecois MP Bernard Bigras added that the critical moment, as far as he's concerned, will come if the government fails to take action in the 60 days after the adoption of Bill C-288.
"If it does not, it is clear parliamentarians will have to assume their responsibilities," Bigras said in a vague threat.
The two politicians made the comments at a Montreal news conference where they were joined by representatives of the New Democratic Party and Green Party in upping the pressure on the Harper government to end its filibuster on the bill.
They said the Conservatives are using their minority in the Senate to block final adoption of Bill-C-288. Also attending were members of a pro-Kyoto Quebec group and an industry representative from the Cascades paper giant, which has been reducing its emissions for years.
"He (Prime Minister Stephen Harper) is doing what he promised he would never do," said Rodriguez. "He is using his minority in the Senate to go against the will of the elected majority in the House of commons.
"We are here to send him a clear message. Respect the will of Quebecers. Respect the will of the majority of Canadians. Do it for your children and grandchildren."
In Ottawa, the Liberal majority in the Senate is threatening to sit through the summer in order to pass the bill.
At the Montreal meeting, Quebec candidate Thomas Mulcair said Harper's efforts to thwart Kyoto prove the Conservative government never had any intention of respecting its international obligations.
"Mr. Harper, all of us here today are giving you one clear message: stop being such an international embarrassment, start respecting our international obligations."
The four parties are also calling for federal environment minister John Baird's resignation in an open letter to be published in the Montreal media Wednesday.
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