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UPDATE: Council of Canadians supports ‘Black Out, Speak Out’ initiative

The Council of Canadians supports the June 4th ‘Black Out, Speak Out’ campaign against the Harper government’s Budget Implementation Act, which would further weaken environmental regulations in Canada. We believe that environmental laws must be strengthened, that public participation should be encouraged, and that Indigenous rights must be respected.

As noted in a media release, “Launched on May 7th, Black Out Speak Out (or Silence, on parle!, in French) invites organizations, businesses and citizens from across Canada to darken their websites on June 4, and speak out against changes introduced in the federal government’s budget act (C-38) by darkening their websites and taking other actions on June 4th.”

Please also note that on Wednesday May 30, “Sierra Club Canada will host a BlackOutSpeakOut teach-in on the environmental implications of the federal budget bill. MPs Megan Leslie (NDP), Kirsty Duncan (Liberal) and Elizabeth May (Green), and environmental law expert Stephen Hazell, will field questions from a live audience at 7:00 pm, Saint Paul University, (223 Main Street). Environment Minister Peter Kent has also been invited, but his attendance has not been confirmed. Space is limited so reserve your seat today! Tickets available here: .” Council of Canadians activists in the Ottawa-area are encouraged to attend this event.

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow has written, “The Harper government appears intent on systematically dismantling the few protections that have been put in place at the federal level to protect our freshwater heritage. In its 2011 budget, the Harper government announced a reduction of over $222 million from the budget of Environment Canada and the elimination of over 1,200 jobs in the department. Programs to protect water, such as the Action Plan on Clean Water, which funds water remediation in Lakes Winnipeg and Simcoe among others, were particularly hard hit. …These cuts followed the cancellation of a major B.C. coastal conservation project after lobbying by the energy industry and the weakening of key elements of the Navigable Waters Protection Act, which eliminated mandatory environmental assessments for major developments such as bridges and dams on Canadian rivers. But the big guns have come out in the current Budget Implementation Bill. Parks Canada and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans will lose over $100 million in funding and many hundreds of employees between them, which will have devastating impacts on water conservation and watershed protection. …Industry will now have unprecedented influence over water protection policy and the Harper cabinet will make decisions about which watersheds deserve protection based on political, not scientific, grounds.”

To read Barlow’s full commentary on the Budget Implementation Act, which also highlights the gutting of the Fisheries Act, the weakening of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, the killing of the Global Environmental Monitoring System and more, go to http://canadians.org/blog/?p=15233.

To respond to our Action Alert opposing Bill C-38, the budget implementation act, please go to http://canadians.org/action/2012/Bill-C38.html.