House motion passes supporting Kyoto

Members of Parliament voted Monday in favour of a motion from Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion that would reaffirm Canada's support for the Kyoto Protocol.

Members of Parliament voted Monday in favour of amotion from Liberal Leader Stéphane Dionthatreaffirms Canada's support for the Kyoto Protocol.

Members of Prime Minister Stephen Harper'sConservative governmentfollowed party ordersandvoted unanimously against it, but 161 MPs voted in favour and 115 against the motion. Harper was not presentfor the vote.

Dion's non-binding motion, which was introduced Feb. 1,demands the government "honour the principles and targets of the Kyoto Protocol in their entirety," and calls on the Tories to create and publish a credible plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Monday's vote on the motion has no effect except that it puts MPs on the record. However, another vote on an opposition bill that would commit the government to Kyoto is expected in a couple of weeks.

Hours before the vote,Dion and Harper engaged in spirited debate over climate change during question period.

Dion urged Harper and the Conservatives to geton side,sayingthe Liberal motion was counting on the government to recognize that climate change is "the worst ecological threat" that humanity is facing, and that Canada needsto meetits Kyoto obligations with a comprehensive plan to fight global warming.

DionaskedHarpertoacknowledge that he was wrong on climate change andthathe vote in favour of the motion.

Harper responded by criticizing Dion for making the motion in the first place, particularly when Dion had admitted in recent months that theKyoto targets could not be achieved.

"He needs to get his own position straight," Harper said to wide applause.

Last Thursday, Dion tabledthe motioncalling on the Tory government to reaffirm Canada's commitment to the accord,which wassigned by the Liberals when they were in power.

The motion came as both parties hammer each other on their environmental record, and followsthe recent surfacing of aletter Harper wrote in 2002that deridedthe Kyoto accord.

The letter described Kyoto as a "socialist scheme" that is based on "tentative and contradictory scientific evidence" and designed to suck money out of rich countries.

Harper has sincesaid he accepts the science of climate change, but that Canadahas nochance of meeting its emissions targets under the accord and must set more realistic goals for reducing greenhouse gases.

Canada was one of the first countries to sign the Kyoto accord, on April 29, 1998. The Tories have said thatthe Liberals may have signed the agreement, but did nothing while in powerto combat greenhouse gas emissions.