In a virtual policy conference, 54 percent of the party’s delegates vote against adding ‘climate change is real’ to policy book.
Members of Canada’s main opposition Conservative Party have rejected a proposed change to their policy book that would recognise that “climate change is real”, hours after a plea from the party leader that the Conservatives would have to embrace change.
In a virtual policy conference, 54 percent of delegates on Saturday voted against a proposal to update the policy book by adding that “climate change is real” and that the party is “willing to act” on it, according to results posted online.
The resolution also sought to place more responsibility on “highly polluting” Canadian companies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support innovation in green technologies.
The vote came just a day after party leader Erin O’Toole told fellow Conservatives they must “change” if they are to expand the party’s base.
He also said the members can no longer “ignore the reality of climate change” if they hope to oust the minority government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in possible snap elections in the coming months.
“The debate is over, climate change is real,” O’Toole insisted in further remarks during a session on Saturday. “We will have a serious and comprehensive plan on climate change to reduce emissions.
“It’s important to me as a father of young children. As a member of parliament, climate change, and fighting it, is important to the Conservative Party of Canada. Younger voters expect that from us.”
But the Conservative chief also reiterated his opposition to a carbon tax the Trudeau government imposed in 2019 in a move to curb pollution.
O’Toole, in the leadership position since August, offered no details of what he said would be a bold new plan to replace that tax, which is strongly opposed in western Conservative strongholds.
Conservative leaders have indicated that they have no intention at the moment to try to push out the Trudeau government – given the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic – but pressure to call early elections has recently grown.
The Conservatives currently control 120 of the 338 seats in the House of Commons with the Liberals holding 154.