Parliament expected to focus on Tory green plan
The clean air act is expected to dominate debate in the House of Commons beginning Monday as members of Parliament reconvene in the capital for thewinter session of Parliament.
Conservative MP Laurie Hawn will chair a special committee created to revise and improve the proposed legislation, which all three opposition parties pledged to change last fall because they said it didn't go far enough to tackle the problems of climate change.
"It's not going to be anybody's perfect solution, probably, but it needs to work for everybody," Hawn said.
The Conservatives have already demonstrated a willingness to work with opposition parties to create the best legislation possible, Conservative House leader Peter Van Loan said, noting the party has recently reached out to the NDP.
NDP Leader Jack Layton said New Democrats will use their influence in the Conservative minority government to force the Tories to change course on their green plan.
"The more that pressure rises across the country for politics that address these environmental crises, the better," Layton said.
After the Liberals lost two seats in recent weeks — with the defection of Wajid Khan to the Conservatives and the resignation of Jean Lapierre — the NDP holds the balance of power and has threatened to defeat the spring budget if it's not happy with the Tories' direction on the environment.
Though there has been speculation Prime Minister Stephen Harper could engineerhis government's defeat andan early election, Harper toldthe Canadian Press he's not interested."What would be the point of an election, especially if it would just result in another minority anyway?" he said.
Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion has also said he's in no rush to head for an election, as he needs to spend time shaping a solid policy platform and convincing voters he has the leadership qualities of a future prime minister.
Dion promised in an online video statementon Sunday that a united Liberal party would sit together in the House of Commons once Parliament resumes.
Under a future, ambitious Liberal government, he said Canada could envision a clean environment and strong economy.