Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Canadian Federal Government Launching Pad for Ideological Aggression

Conservative Party of Canada through a majority of the Canadian Parliaments via a first-past-the-post system, attempts to rewrite Canadian federal environmental laws through Bill C-38. This is evidence that the Conservative government is sidetracking democratic processes such as public consultation, by putting environmental law changes in the federal budget.

From the CBCNews site,

Eleven environmental groups, including Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Fund and the David Suzuki Foundation took out newspaper ads Monday to draw attention to proposed changes to environmental law contained in the government's latest budget implementation bill.

Bill C-38 is more than 400 pages long and makes substantial changes to many Canadian laws, including many that affect the government's stand on the environment:

  • It repeals the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act.
  • It sets timelines for environmental assessment hearings and allows Ottawa to hand off assessments to the provinces.
  • It gives the federal cabinet the authority to approve new pipeline projects and set time limits for regulatory reviews.
  • It makes changes to how permits under the Species at Risk Act are authorized.
  • It overhauls the Fisheries Act to focus only on major waterways, not every single body of water.
  • It sets out stiffer fines for industry players who break environmental regulations and laws.

  • On Thursday, the House of Commons votes to impose time allocation on the bill, which limits debate to just seven sitting days.

    The NDP announced on Monday that it would ask for the omnibus budget bill to be split into parts so that it can be properly debated.

    The environmental groups are calling on Canadians to "black out" their websites on June 4 in protest as part of their Black Out, Speak Out campaign.

    The groups behind the campaign say the changes to environmental law in the budget bill will "weaken environmental rules and silence the voices of those who seek to defend them."

    "What we want is the environmental law changes out of the budget. They have no business being in the budget," said John Bennett, executive director for Sierra Club Canada.

    "If the government wants to change environmental law they should put forth an environmental bill, and they should have consultation hearings across the country. But sticking it in the budget is a coward's way of doing it," said Bennett.

    Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has said that the government is not trying to avoid public scrutiny by putting the environmental law changes into a budget bill, thereby avoiding specific study of the changes at individual parliamentary committees.

    Protest Movement Against Ideological Aggression and Authoritarianism

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