Climate change suddenly a crisis on Parliament Hill as support for Green party increases

The federal Conservatives may keep hammering the Liberals over its carbon tax but haven’t offered a solution of their own.

“It’s been about 400 days since Andrew Scheer said he was going to come up with a climate plan and we’re a few months away from the election and we still have not heard anything,” said Liberal MP Dan Vandal on Nation to Nation.

The Trudeau government’s carbon tax makes things such as filling up at the pumps several cents more expensive.

The Conservatives jumped all over it as the country heads into an October election.

And according to MP Cathy McLeod their plan is coming soon.

“Certainly our leader has indicated very clearly that in the next few weeks he will be releasing our plan. Climate change is real. It’s a problem and it needs a global solution,” said McLeod.

Meanwhile, NDP MP Rachel Blaney told Canadians that the Trudeau government hasn’t been a leader on climate change and that Canadians are getting impatient.

“The reality on the ground is that this is a huge concern for people. Canadians want to see action. They want to see it now,” said Blaney.

Both the NDP and Liberals supported an emergency debate on climate change this week.

It’s something that Green party leader Elizabeth May asked for last fall but none of the other leaders showed up and it didn’t end up doing anything.

May said it should be a coincidence other parties appear to be supporting the crisis now since the Green’s recent by-election victory in the British Columbia riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith.

“I welcome this entirely,” she said. “But I think that it’s not an accident that this is a response to the growing strength of the Green party across the country.”

Last October, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned drastic cuts to emissions are needed in the next decade to prevent global warming from becoming catastrophic. That report suggested the Liberals’ target under the Paris climate-change agreement, which would mean cutting annual greenhouse-gas emissions by about 28 per cent compared to what they are now, is nowhere near enough.

The Liberal motion, which was to be debated Thursday, asks MPs to recommit to the Paris climate-change accord by meeting the existing targets for cutting greenhouse-gas emissions and toughening them as is required to meet the accord’s stated objective of keeping global warming as close to 1.5 C as possible.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh intends to cut Canada’s greenhouse-gas emissions almost in half over the next decade as he stakes out a claim to being a climate-change champion in the looming federal election.

Singh presented a motion in the House of Commons Monday, laying out eight broad strokes of the party’s climate-change platform. The motion asks for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to declare “an environment and climate emergency” as well as pledge to cut emissions more deeply, eliminate government aid to the fossil-fuel industry and cancel the planned expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

“We want to reflect the urgency people are feeling,” Singh said in a recent interview with The Canadian Press.

That urgency for him means a slow end to the Canadian oil sector, which Singh says is on its way out whether Canadians like the idea or not.

“This is the direction the world is headed,” he said.

– with files from The Canadian Press

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