Two members of Canada’s official opposition, the New Democratic Party (NDP), have asked that an emergency debate begin regarding arctic ice loss. Halifax MP Meghan Leslie (the NDP’s environment critic) first asked the discussion be started. When the request was not fulfilled Western Arctic MP Dennis Bevington submitted a second request for an emergency debate.
This comes as the U.S. National snow and Ice Data Center announces that sea-ice cover in the Arctic Ocean this summer was the lowest seen since measurements began 33 years ago.
The members each argued that the problem of melting arctic ice is much more than just an environmental issue. They argued the issue extends into national security, agriculture, natural resources, extreme weather conditions and rising food prices. It was even gone so far as to say that the Government would face civil unrest if the problem was not addressed.
The House Speaker, Andrew Scheer, determined that the outlines of an emergency debate were not met in this request. Emergency debates are outlined in the Commons procedure as being about a topic of immediate concern in that it cannot be brought up at a later time and is of concern to the entire nation.
Having determined that the debate about how to cope with melting Arctic ice did not meet this criteria, Scheer did suggest there may be time in the next couple weeks.