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NEWS: Harper’s C-45 budget implementation act introduced

“This bill calls our whole democracy into question. Laws are now made unilaterally by the Prime Minister, with no regard for the people or their parliamentarians.” – Maude Barlow

Harpers finance minister Jim Flaherty takes questions in the House of Commons yesterday. Chris Wattie/ Reuters

Harper’s finance minister Jim Flaherty takes questions in the House of Commons yesterday. Chris Wattie/ Reuters

Yesterday, the Harper government introduced its 457-page omnibus budget implementation. Toronto Star national affairs columnist Tim Harper writes, “The point is that (all these changes) cannot be properly scrutinized by the people sent to (the House of Commons) to hold a government to account. …It amends the Canada Shipping Act and the Fisheries Act and changes the definition of an aboriginal fishery. It streamlines the building of a bridge across the Detroit River by eliminating any environmental restrictions. It amends the Indian Act to change voting rules for land designation. It changes benefits and salaries for federally-appointed judges. It amends the Customs Act to make it easier for the government to collect information on passengers. It provides for a temporary refund on Employment Insurance premiums for small business owners. It eliminates the Hazardous Materials Information Review Commission (which examined things such as hazardous materials in the workplace). It limits the scope of the Navigable Waters Act, eliminating impediments to pipelines and weakening Canadians’ right to navigate waters without being impeded by pipelines, power lines or forestry equipment…”

Bruce Cheadle of the Canadian Press adds it also makes more changes to the Environmental Assessment Act. It eliminates the Board that set rates for employment insurance premiums. It makes workers pay taxes on their employers’ contributions to group health and accident insurance plans. And it sets time limits on worker complaints under the Canada Labour Code.

Their commentary can be read at http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1273847–tim-harper-the-omnibus-bill-becomes-business-as-usual-for-conservatives and http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Everything+from+Indian+Canada+Labour+Code+altered+latest+omnibus/7411546/story.html. A Council of Canadians media release on C-45 can be read at http://canadians.org/media/other/2012/18-Oct-12.html.