When can we afford to act?

When can we afford to act? I have been deeply concerned by some of the decisions made by Ottawa with regard to issues involving the threat of climate change and other environmental, social and economic issues. Until now I have been able to find hope in

I have been deeply concerned by some of the decisions made by Ottawa with regard to issues involving the threat of climate change and other environmental, social and economic issues.

Until now I have been able to find hope in the thought that, as the public becomes educated on these issues, the democratic process will win out and in the future healthier decisions will be made that will consider the generations inheriting what we leave behind.

The recent news of the Canadian Senate defeating Bill C-311, the Climate Change Accountability Act, has diminished that hope.

This bill, which would have been a small step toward reducing the damage we Canadians are inflicting on our planet, was passed by the duly elected representatives of our democratic system. Then, it was defeated by an unelected group not accountable to the people.

According to media reports, the last time the Canadian Senate defeated a bill without debate was in 1925. So, the recent defeat of Bill C-311 is a very radical move by the Senate.

The Green Party would change this system Ð we would have an elected senate so that at least we, the public, would have a say in who makes these important decisions.

Yukon Senator Dan Lang and Prime Minister Steven Harper have both claimed that Canada cannot afford to pass this bill into law.

When, then, do they suppose we will be able to afford to reduce the damage we are doing?

It is getting worse every day, and the longer we wait, the more of an environmental and economic mess our children will have to clean up. Saying that we cannot afford to fix this problem is like a person saying that they cannot afford to pay their credit card bills. All the top scientists of the world are telling us that the ‘interest’ on this environmental debt is continually mounting.

The economic effects of climate change are also beginning to be felt. The scientists are telling us crops will fail and weather will become more extreme. There are huge financial ramifications to these events. The senators have it backward Ð what we cannot afford to do is to continue with the way things are now.

I would like to urge Yukoners of every political stripe, as well as those who have no political stripe at all, to contact their senator (langd@sen.parl.gc.ca

613-947-4050) to ask him to reconsider his position on this issue.

Barry Durward, CEO

Yukon Federal Green Party

Association