CTV.ca rounds up the closing silliness in Parliament as the place shuts down for the summer. Canada’s MPs and senators might as well have had a shaving-cream fight and stuffed one another in lockers, by the sound of things.
On the environment file:
With the passage of the Kyoto bill the Conservatives are now legally obligated to implement the Kyoto Protocol on climate change as of noon Friday — a task the federal government steadfastly claims is impossible.
The Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act was originally introduced by Liberal MP Pablo Rodriguez. Its provisions:
- The government has two months to come up with a blueprint for how it will meet its commitments under Kyoto;
- Within 180 days, the government must bring in regulations to “ensure that Canada fully meets its obligations” under the protocol.
Kyoto requires Canada to achieve a six per cent cut in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2012 — an objective Environment Minister John Baird argues would cripple the economy.
But interpretations of Rodriguez’ bill vary widely. House Speaker Peter Milliken ruled the legislation doesn’t require the government to spend money, though the bill states the required plan must include “spending or fiscal measures or incentives.”
Baird used Milliken’s decision to back up his argument that the bill is basically meaningless.
Government House leader Peter Van Loan also played down the significance of the bill.
He said the proposed legislation could only be considered by Parliament because Rodriguez said “it wouldn’t involve the spending of a single penny.”
But he said the government can’t be expected to meet the Kyoto targets without spending any money.
…”I think scientifically there are no barriers for the implementation,” Liberal Senate Leader Celine Hervieux-Payette told CP. “They will comply. It’s a bill, it’s an order from Parliament. They may not respect the accord but I hope they will respect the bill.”
This story is roughly right: Kyoto actually requires Canada to achieve [deep breath] a six-per-cent reduction from 1990 levels in average emissions over a period running from 2008 to 2012, which in practice pretty much means hitting the target in 2008 and then staying there for four years.
The argument over whether the bill requires the government to spend money matters only because if the bill does require that, then it’s probably a confidence measure and the Conservatives have lost and the Canadian government has fallen and nobody’s noticed. If it doesn’t require the government to spend money, it doesn’t mean much.
The argument doesn’t matter because, as nobody’s mentioned, the bill isn’t a law until the Governor General signs it, and she won’t sign it until the prime minister puts it in front of her, and he’s not going to be doing that, so it’s all moot. Which you’d hope one of the parliamentary leaders quoted in the story would know.
My point: Imagine what these people could do if they actually cared.