Is the average Canadian citizen even aware that Stephen Harper’s government is trying to push through what it is calling this Budget Implementation Act, a.k.a. Bill C-38 [“Vancouver-based environmentalist Jessica Clogg ‘blown away’ by response to national website blackout campaign”, web-only]?
Environmental groups are against Bill C-38 and it’s undemocratic because this Budget Implementation Act has little to do with the budget. Fully 30 percent of the 420-page bill is actually not about the budget at all.
Instead of addressing budget matters, the act brings in sweeping changes to Canada’s environmental laws.
It repeals the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and introduces a weaker version, without a single day of hearings before the environment committee. It also removes protection of endangered species and their habitats when approving pipeline projects by amending the Species at Risk Act and the Navigable Waters Protection Act.
In addition, it guts the Fisheries Act by removing provisions for habitat protection. It repeals the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act, and eliminates the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy.
Omnibus bills subvert the parliamentary process by denying members of Parliament and the Canadian public the ability to fully study or understand the drastic changes being made to our laws without proper study or scrutiny.
This bill is an embarrassment. The rest of the world must be shaking its head at Canada and our parliamentary process.
> Christine Ho / Vancouver