So before everybody (yes I am talking about you Mr. Dion) tries to find a way to take credit for the newly amended bill- because we may go to an election on it- let's have a look at what some of the detractors of the committee had to say over the past few months.
March 22, 2007 – Green party leader Elisabeth May says “Bill C-30 – the so-called Clean Air Act – was dead on arrival at its first reading last year. . . Ongoing attempts to breathe life into the corpse are a waste of time . . . It’s time for MPs to bring down the curtain on the C-30 sideshow and get to work on climate change strategies that will drive progress towards the Kyoto targets.” (Green Party Press Release)
February 5, 2007 - Michael Ignatieff accuses the NDP of being “engaged in a ‘double game’ by criticizing the Conservatives while working with them to rewrite the government's legislation.”
Ignatieff says: "There's something nauseating going on which Canadians have to notice . . . Layton gets up and pretends to oppose a government that he's propping up. He's got to decide what the hell he's doing here . . . I think (propping up the Tories) is substantially reducing NDP support . . . The problem with the strategy is in Layton's base. Any NDP voter looking at this is thinking, `Why are these guys letting the Harper government off the hook on the environment?” (Toronto Star)
December 20, 2006 – Newly elected Liberal leader Stephane Dion says "Mr. Layton decided to play the game . . . I told him, at this stage I will play the game, too. (But) I will denounce it; I will denounce it at the same time . . . If I'm able to become the prime minister next spring, I will not continue this fake gesture." (Toronto Star)
What is evident from these statements is that the other parties had a real lack of vision in terms of what can be achieved in a minority parliament. The Conservative Clean Air Act was dead in the water. There was a logjam on the environment front and it was Jack Layton, Nathan Cullen and the NDP who sorted it out, despite criticism from the Liberals and the Bloquistes, and despite resistance from the Conservatives.
The committee to amend Bill C-30 was never about propping up the Conservatives, it was about finding the fastest, most feasible way to get real movement on the climate change file. It was about getting the best ideas from the four parties and putting them together to finally get some results. Had the Liberals had the leadership and vision to see that from the beginning, who knows what this parliament could have accomplished and how fast it could all happened. But we now have something better, something stronger, and we can only hope that Bill C-30 will find smooth and quick passage through the House of Commons.