Tories vote against bill on net-zero emissions as it clears legislative hurdle

Conservatives vote against new Liberal climate bill while New Democrats vote to send Bill C-12 to committee, hoping to win amendments to strengthen government accountability for meeting emissions targets.

Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — Proposed legislation to support Canada reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 has cleared its first legislative hurdle.

Members of Parliament voted 210 to 122 in favour of sending Bill C-12 to a committee to be scrutinized.

If passed as is, the Liberal government's legislation would require that starting in 2030, Ottawa set rolling, five-year targets to cut greenhouse gas pollution, ending in 2050.

That's when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has pledged Canada will reach net-zero emissions, meaning all carbon-related pollution will be offset through green initiatives or stored through technologies instead of emitted into the air.

The Conservatives voted against the bill and also put forward their own motion to quash it, which wasn't supported by other parties.

Tories took issue with the government having already established a panel to provide advice on reaching its net-zero goal and cited the potential influence of "climate activists" that could hurt the fossil fuel industry, which it says lacks representation.

The New Democrats, which voted in support of the bill, have called for the legislation to have stronger accountability measures leading up to 2030, where Canada has a newly set target to reduce emissions by up to 45 per cent below 2005 levels.

The NDP want a milestone target set for 2025, and in response, Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson has indicated he's willing to provide progress reports in 2023 and 2025.


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