Hamiltonians are being urged to join a protest tomorrow against the killing of federal climate change legislation by the Canadian Senate. The Hamilton 350 Committee is organizing a demonstration outside the Federal Building at 55 Bay North for 12 Noon to call for “real action on climate change” by the Canadian government.
In an unusual move, Conservative members of the Senate, including recently appointed Burlington senator David Braley, defeated the Climate Change Accountability Act. The legislation had been passed 193 days earlier by the House of Commons with the support of all parties except the Conservatives. It’s the first Commons bill defeated by the Senate since 2002 and one of only six since 1947.
A similar Act had been passed in 2006 by the Commons, but died on the order paper when Stephen Harper called an election. It set ambitious targets for reduction of Canadian emissions of greenhouse gases and would have forced the government to produce plans for achieving these targets.
Yesterday’s surprise move to kill the legislation comes less than two weeks before the opening of the UN’s Cancun Conference on climate change – the follow-up meeting to the failed Copenhagen one a year ago. While US and Canadian officials are playing down the possibilities of a global agreement at Cancun, there is growing pressure from smaller nations and grassroots organizations to act effectively on the climate change danger.
 As of the end of October, 2010 was on track to be the hottest ever recorded. Record temperatures were set this year in an unprecedented seventeen countries – ranging from Finland to the Sudan, Pakistan to Russia. The climatic catastrophes were extreme in the latter two countries.
The wheat crop was devastated and total deaths in Russia climbed by 56,000 as the country endured temperatures a full 10 celsius degrees above normal. At least 2000 people also died in Pakistan in floods that affected 20 million and covered an area twice the size of Lake Superior. About 4 million remained homeless in early November.
There were also devastating rains and landslides in China that killed at least 3100 people by the end of August, and a drought in the Amazon judged to be the worst in over 100 years. Closer to Hamilton, the Atlantic hurricane season has produced the second highest numbers on record, and the Great Lakes were deemed ‘bathwater’ with Lake Superior 8 degrees warmer than normal.
The Hamilton 350 Committee has been a vocal opponent on the city’s aerotropolis plans and conducted a protest garlic planting near the airport on Thanksgiving weekend. They also organized a demonstration at the Federal Building in 2009 and a candlelight walk in conjunction with last year’s Copenhagen conference on a global climate treaty. Participants in tomorrow’s protest are being encouraged to bring their own signs.

CATCH (Citizens at City Hall) updates use transcripts and/or public documents to highlight information about Hamilton civic affairs that is not generally available in the mass media. Detailed reports of City Hall meetings can be reviewed at www.hamiltoncatch.org. You can receive all CATCH free updates by sending an email to info@HamiltonCATCH.org.
Disclaimer: this is not an official opirg mcmaster sponsored event, and is posted for information purposes only. Please contact the event organizers with any questions or concerns.