NDP reintroduces greenhouse gas reduction bill
NDP Leader Jack Layton says he believes he can muster enough support from opposition MPs to pass the climate change accountability act that died last year because of the election.
"I believe there's a very high probability that there will a majority of support in the House," Layton said shortly after the bill was reintroduced in the Commons on Tuesday.
The NDP-sponsored bill had passed in the House of Commons with the support of the Liberals and Bloc last June. It was headed to the Senate but never passed because Prime Minister Stephen Harper called an election.
Layton said passage of the bill would have made Canada the first country to adopt a UN-based target of an 80 per cent reduction of greenhouse gases by 2050.
Those targets differ from the Tories' environmental goals of reaching a 50 per cent reduction by 2050.
The NDP bill would also set medium-term targets to bring emissions 25 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020.
Passage of the bill in the House and Senate would not require the government to adopt the plan.
But Layton said Harper would be hard-pressed to thwart the wishes of Parliament.
"The prime minister did say that any prime minister had a moral obligation to respect the will of the House of Commons, so we're naturally hoping he will be true to his word on this issue," Layton said.
During Tuesday's question period, Environment Minister Jim Prentice said the NDP bill would have Canada "diverge dramatically" from the common targets put forward by the government and the new administration in the United States.
"The NDP would lead us down a path towards isolation that would exacerbate the current downturn," Prentice told the House of Commons.
"Everyone agrees that we need climate change policies that are measured to work together in partnership with other members of the international community," Prentice said.