Parliamentarians voted overwhelmingly in favour to reaffirm Canada’s continued commitment to the Paris climate agreement — except for one Conservative MP.
Cheryl Gallant cast the lone “nay” in the 277-1 vote on the government motion Tuesday.
Conservative MP Cheryl Gallant points to government benches in the House of Commons on June 6, 2017. (Screengrab: ParlVu)
The motion to gauge the House’s commitment to implementing the agreement was introduced by Government House Leader Bardish Chagger after the U.S. announced it was pulling out of the landmark climate accord last week.
Gallant charged that the government’s motion to renew Canada’s commitment to the Paris agreement and its intention to bring in a carbon tax are “not based on fact.”
The comment prompted a remark by Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, who was seemingly baffled by Gallant’s belated critique.
“I am a bit confused. The Paris agreement was actually negotiated with 195 countries around the world in 2015,” McKenna said.
Gallant did not respond to HuffPost Canada’s request for comment before publication.
“This is the government wanting to extend hours and then using the time for these pretend public relations exercises.”
—Conservative MP Garnett Genuis
Earlier in the day, Conservative MP Garnett Genuis accused the government of using the Paris agreement as a vehicle to implement a carbon tax, raising taxes for Canadians.
“It is not following the effective example we saw under the Harper government, which actually led to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions,” Genuis said, calling Chagger's motion a waste of time.
“This is the government wanting to extend hours and then using the time for these pretend public relations exercises, which actually do not have a substantive effect on outcomes on the ground.”
Genuis voted in favour of the government motion.
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‘We have a responsibility to future generations’: PM
Canada was one of 195 countries that signed the voluntary landmark climate accord two years ago.
The agreement acknowledges the detrimental effects of climate change, advocating a plan to limit global temperature rise to under 2°C before 2100 with plans to reduce emissions around the world.
On Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau notably spent World Environment Day kayaking in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont. and paddled up to a couple standing on dock to make small talk about the high water level.
“We can’t walk away from the reality of climate change, and we won’t walk away from a global plan that has a realistic chance of fighting it,” Trudeau said in a speech the same day reaffirming Canada’s commitment to the Paris Accord.
“We have a responsibility to future generations, and we will uphold it.”
U.S. President Donald Trump announced his country’s withdrawal on Thursday, claiming continued adherence to the accord would bring disadvantages to American workers.
“We will be environmentally friendly, but we're not going to put our businesses out of work and we're not going to lose our jobs. We're going to grow; we're going to grow rapidly,” he said.
Of course, Trump’s announcement doesn’t mean America is formally out of the agreement. Although the accord is non-binding, the process of removing a signatory could take up to four years.
By then, the Trump administration could either be re-elected or replaced with a White House keen on re-joining the landmark climate accord.
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