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NEWS: Harper’s controversial C-45 budget bill set to pass House of Commons today

C-45, the Harper government’s controversial omnibus budget implementation legislation is set to pass the House of Commons today. Council of Canadians Maude Barlow has stated, “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.”

Postmedia reports, “Public sector pension reforms, a small-business hiring credit, a new electronic travel authorization system, judges’ pay raises and streamlined environmental protection for lakes and rivers are a handful of the measures set to be adopted in the Conservative government’s budget bill. …The 414-page budget bill faces one more day of debate, and third and final reading in the House of Commons on Wednesday, before it’s sent to the Conservative-controlled Senate.”

According to Toronto Star and Canadian Press news reports, C-45:

  • 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
  • makes more changes to the Environmental Assessment Act
  • eliminates the Hazardous Materials Information Review Commission (which examined things such as hazardous materials in the workplace)
  • streamlines the building of a bridge across the Detroit River by eliminating any environmental restrictions
  • amends the Canada Shipping Act and the Fisheries Act and changes the definition of an aboriginal fishery
  • amends the Indian Act to change voting rules for land designation
  • changes benefits and salaries for federally-appointed judges
  • amends the Customs Act to make it easier for the government to collect information on passengers
  • provides for a temporary refund on Employment Insurance premiums for small business owners
  • eliminates the Board that set rates for employment insurance premiums
  • makes workers pay taxes on their employers’ contributions to group health and accident insurance plans
  • sets time limits on worker complaints under the Canada Labour Code.

To hear Council of Canadians Atlantic organizer Angela Giles on a CBC Radio-Canada interview on C-45, go to http://canadians.org/blog/?p=17427. Water campaigner Emma Lui’s blog on how C-45 will affect First Nation Treaty Rights can be read at http://canadians.org/blog/?p=17634. And her blog on a recent townhall meeting in Ottawa on C-45 is at http://canadians.org/blog/?p=18032. Our media release from mid-October on C-45 is at http://canadians.org/media/other/2012/18-Oct-12.html.

For the news reports that list the impacts of C-45, see http://canadians.org/blog/?p=17377.