< ᐅᑎᕈᑎᒃ ᖃᕆᑕᐅᔭᒥ ᐃᓱᒣᔭᖃᑎᒌᕝᕕᒧᑦ

ᓇᑦᔪᐃᔭᕐᕕᒃ 22, 2010

Bill C-311 and the Inuit of Nunavik

Bill C-311 is (or rather, was) the Climate Change Accountability Act. The bill would force the Government of Canada to take affirmative action in cutting Greenhouse Gas Emissions in accordance to the Kyoto Protocol [http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/convkp/kpeng.pdf].

This Bill was essential for Canada to actually put into practice policies that could help mitigate dangerous climate change[i]. Nunavik has already felt the adverse effects of climate change as the arctic is the proverbial canary in the coal mine. Sea Ice is noticeably thinner, new species of birds and insects are making their way into northern ecosystems and permafrost is causing tangible damage to infrastructure. Inuit are feeling the crunch, no doubt.

So, back to bill C-311… the bill had been passed by the House of Commons, the publically elected body in Canada, and then sent to the senate for its next reading. It took years for the House to finally pass the bill, thousands upon thousands of Canadians wrote letters, made phone calls and protested and demonstrated before the House took heed. So, once the majority of MPs finally passed the bill, there certainly was cause for celebration. But once it was in the hands of the Senate, the so called Sober Second Thought, democracy in Canada was crushed like it had never been before.

The Senate has a Conservative Majority, many of those Senators were appointed by Stephen Harper in the last few years. This Conservative Senate brought C-311 to the table in a surprise vote on November 16th, 2010 while 17 Liberal Senators were absent. The vote was won 43-32. If all of the Liberal Senators had been present, this would probably have ended differently. There’s no guarantee that every Liberal Senator would have voted for the bill, but every Liberal Senator present voted to have it passed.

In the last Seventy Years, the Senate has only rejected bills passed by the House Four Times. Each of those times, a debate and discussion was called and there was time to properly deliberate the discussion. Each Senator had notice for when the votes and debates would take place and had enough time to attend if the issue was significant enough for them. Had there been prior notice for the bill, many more senators would have chosen to be present for the vote. This surprise vote without debate is almost unprecedented and incredibly undemocratic. Conservative Senators have undermined democracy in Canada, they have undermined the will of the Canadian people and the democratically elected house of Commons. This, on all levels is completely wrong.

This act directly affects the Inuit of Nunavik. This act means that the Canadian Government has no respect for Inuit’s rights to their own homeland. This act will cause further destruction to arctic climates and arctic people. Next time you go caribou hunting and find that the herds are starving because they can’t feed off lichen under layers of ice, think of the Senate’s undemocratic slaughter of C-311. Next time you or someone you know falls through the sea ice hunting, think of Stephen Harper and his Conservative Policy.

Please, write a letter or make a call to Mr. Yvon Lévesque asking him to introduce a bill similar to C-311 immediately.

Phone numbers: 819 824-2942 or 1-888-824-2942
Fax: 819 824-2958
Email: levesy1@parl.gc.ca

I already have.


[i] A global temperature rise of 2°C and more; note that a rise in 2°C in global temperatures means a rise of 5°C in Arctic temperatures.


ᐃᓛᓂᐅᓐᖏᑑᒐᓗᐊᖅ ᖃᕆᑕᐅᔭᐅᑉ ᐱᓇᓲᑎᖏᑦ ᑕᕝᕗᖓ ᐃᓱᒣᔭᖃᑎᒌᕝᕕᒨᓕᖓᔪᑦ ᐃᑲᔪᕐᓯᓯᒪᓐᖏᒪᑕ ᐊᑐᕐᑕᐅᒍᓐᓇᓂᖏᓐᓂᒃ ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑑᕐᑐᐃᑦ ᐊᓪᓚᒍᓰᑦ, ᑌᒣᒻᒪᑦ ᐅᖃᐅᓯᑦᓴᕆᔭᐅᔪᓕᒫᑦ ᐊᓪᓚᑕᐅᖃᑦᑕᕆᐊᓖᒃ ᖃᓕᐅᔭᕐᐯᑎᑑᕐᑎᓗᒋᑦ. ᐃᓛᓂᐅᓐᖏᑑᕐᐳᒍᑦ ᓴᓇᑐᐃᓪᓖᑲᓪᓚᓂᕈᑦᑕ.

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