Backroom deal by Liberals and NDP on Bill C-12 impedes delivery of climate legislation that meets scientific criteria and offers credible accountability

OTTAWA – The Green Party of Canada is alarmed by recent actions by Liberal and NDP MPs to limit debate on Bill C-12, the Climate Accountability Act, to seven hours and to exclude input from climate scientists, Indigenous witnesses and young climate activists. 

“Given the importance of this long overdue legislation, we are flabbergasted by the political, partisan manoeuvres currently playing out around Bill C-12,” said Green Party Leader Annamie Paul. “The Green caucus voted against the bill at second reading precisely because the standard of accountability was so low that it creates ‘accountability’ in name only. I’d like to know how many of the hundreds of written briefs submitted by concerned citizens were actually reviewed?

“The fact that the Liberals and the NDP are shutting down the review process is indicative of backroom deals being made in order to push through this inadequate legislation. Given what is at stake, why are these parties willing to jeopardise the future of Canadians? Why won’t they subject the Bill to adequate scrutiny and consider reasonable amendments?

“The fact that a Green amendment, identical to one proposed by the Liberals, was voted down demonstrates the kind of political antics we are witnessing. The amendment in question sought to ensure that the next emissions target is set not five, but 10 years ahead. In order for the amendment to pass, the NDP changed the language to read ’nine years and 366 days’. Partisan semantics instead of non-partisan collaboration.

“These are dangerous games. The facts speak clearly: Canada’s current emissions are 21 per cent above 1990 levels; Canada has never hit a climate target, in fact Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) have risen in each of the six years under the Liberal government. Instead of assuming a position as a global leader, Canada is now one of the top five worst per capita GHG emitters in the world. I am not sure how many people are fully aware of these appalling statistics, but given the ambition that most Canadians have about tackling the climate crisis, I am sure most will be deeply disappointed to learn that their government continues to deliver weak, insufficient climate action.

“Many of our international partners have enacted far more robust climate accountability legislation. The U.K., with its gold-standard Accountability Act, has achieved 43 per cent GHG reduction below 1990 levels and recently pledged to achieve 78 per cent below 1990 by 2035. France, Denmark, New Zealand, Germany and other countries have also enacted far more substantive accountability laws. 

“Unlike other countries, Bill C-12’s first ‘milestone year’ for accountability is set almost 10 years in the future, instead of five; the government’s targets do not include a ‘carbon budget’, and its advisory committee is not an independent body but rather will report to the Minister.”

Green parliamentary leader Elizabeth May (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands) added: “I had hoped that C-12 would be amended by the Environment Committee to make it worthy of its title - a climate accountability act. The Liberal-NDP alliance to shut down debate at Second Reading, reject the majority of individuals, young people, groups, experts and First Nations that wished to testify, and ramming through only Liberal-NDP amendments at clause by clause means that our only hope for strengthened legislation will be in the Senate. A particularly bleak way to mark Canadian Environment Week. This year it is ‘Environment Weak.’ “

So far, all Green amendments -  to insert a 2025 milestone year, to insist on targets “based on the best available science” and to embed the 1.5 c goal in the purpose of the act — have been rejected. The Green Party will vote for the following amendments to be included for consideration on Bill C-12:

  • Inclusion of an independent, science-based advisory group;
  • Clear government accountability to meet more robust targets;
  • Commission of an interim report on targets to be tabled in 2026

“I call on the Liberals and the NDP to deliver a bill that meets the demands of science, one that creates real accountability and I call on the government to accept meaningful amendments. There is still time to produce a substantial and effective Climate Accountability Act, if the Liberals and NDP choose to work with us to achieve it.

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Rosie Emery

Press Secretary