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NEWS: NDP, Greens oppose 400-page omnibus ‘budget implementation’ bill

The CBC reports, “New Democrats are calling for MPs to vote to split the budget implementation bill, a 400-page document detailing major changes to subjects as varied as environmental regulations and immigration law. …New Democrats want the bill broken into at least five sections, (MP Nathan) Cullen said, including the environment, fisheries and other subjects. While it’s supposed to be a budget bill, two-thirds of it concerns environmental measures, he added.”

“The budget bill contains measures to repeal the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act, set timelines for environmental assessment hearings, gives the federal cabinet the authority to approve new pipeline projects and overhauls the Fisheries Act to focus only on major waterways.” It also introduces changes that will gradually increase the age of eligibility for Old Age Security payments to 67 from 65 beginning in 2023. And it includes the ‘Integrated Cross-Border Maritime Law Enforcement Operations’ initiative, the joint policing project that puts US Coast Guard officers on RCMP boats (and vice versa) in shared waters at the request of either security force.

“Green Party Leader Elizabeth May called what the government is doing ‘scandalous’ and ‘illegitimate’. ‘They’re actually gutting key pieces of environmental law that were never once mentioned in the budget,’ she said.”

But the National Post highlights, “The government isn’t interested in splitting the bill, a spokesman for Van Loan said. That means the NDP likely won’t garner enough support to break the bill apart for more scrutiny.” As such, C-38, the budget implementation bill, is expected to pass by June 8, or by June 22 at the latest.

The Council of Canadians
We have endorsed a petition campaign that demands: “Stop the plan to roll back Canada’s environmental laws”. To sign the petition, please go to http://www.envirolawsmatter.ca/petition. In early-March, we joined with more than 40 other groups to call for stronger environmental assessment laws in Canada, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=13860. We have also raised concerns about the budget implementation bill at http://canadians.org/blog/?p=14851 and http://canadians.org/blog/?p=14964 and in other blogs.

Trade campaigner Stuart Trew has also noted, “Please write Public Safety Minister Vic Toews at vic.toews@parl.gc.ca to let him know the Shiprider/Integrated Cross-Border Maritime Law Enforcement Operations legislation should be pulled out of the budget implementation bill so that we can get to the bottom of whether there is enough accountability for U.S. security agents under the project, or whether we need it at all based on the evidence.” More on that at http://canadians.org/blog/?p=14891.