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NEWS: C-38, the budget implementation act, set to pass this Wednesday or Thursday

The Hamilton chapter protests C-38 outside Conservative MP David Sweets office.

The Hamilton chapter protests C-38 outside Conservative MP David Sweet’s office.

The Canadian Press reports, “Members of Parliament will spend Tuesday getting their affairs in order before they hunker down for a voting marathon on the government’s budget implementation bill. They’re preparing for what’s expected to be more than 24 hours of consecutive voting on more than 800 proposed amendments to Bill C-38. The votes will follow the end of the current debate on the budget bill in the Commons, which will conclude Tuesday. Many amendments seek to outright delete elements of the bill that the Opposition feels require more scrutiny, such as major changes to environmental assessment, employment insurance and old age security.”

The Council of Canadians opposes C-38 because, as noted in the Toronto Star, it:
– empowers the federal cabinet to give the go-ahead to pipelines and other major energy projects regardless of the conclusions of regulatory hearings on the feasibility of the projects;
– shortens timelines for environmental hearings on pipelines and will block participation in the hearings by those not directly affected by the project;
– permits Ottawa to bow out of the environmental approval process in cases where a provincial government could hold the needed regulatory hearings;
– alters the process for issuing permits under the Species at Risk Act (allowing the National Energy Board to permit activities that kill or harm endangered species);
– guts the Fisheries Act … so only major bodies of water used for commercial, recreational or aboriginal fisheries will be protected;
– scraps the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act, putting an official end to Canada’s commitment to the international agreement to curb greenhouse gas emissions;
– changes Employment Insurance benefits;
– cracks down on charities engaging in political activity;
– axes Ottawa’s spy watchdog;
– introduces changes that beginning in 2023, will gradually increase the age of eligibility for Old Age Security payments to 67 from 65.

To express our opposition:
– chapters have participated in protests in front of Conservative MPs offices across the country http://canadians.org/blog/?p=15696 and http://canadians.org/blog/?p=15661;
– we participated in the ‘Black Out, Speak Out’ initiative, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=15461 and http://canadians.org/blog/?p=15606;
– Maude Barlow wrote the op-ed ‘Harper and the environment are like oil and water’, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=15233 and http://www.windsorstar.com/opinion/water/6693001/story.html;
– trade campaigner Stuart Trew circulated the action alert ‘Split up the budget: Environmental and border policy changes need a full debate’, http://canadians.org/action/2012/Bill-C38.html;
– campaigner Anil Naidoo presented to the House of Commons Finance Committee, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=15528;
– Board member Rick Sawa spoke at a Leadnow ‘Blackmark Budget Bill‘ protest in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=15521;
– we wrote campaign blogs to update and encourage action from our supporters, http://canadians.org/blog/?s=budget+implementation.

Our opposition to C-38 continues.

Last week, Globe and Mail columnist John Ibbitson wrote, “There will, however, be a second budget implementation bill. Given the precedent of Bill C-38, we can only imagine what the government may decide to shove into that one.”