The Harper government is set to introduce another controversial budget bill – similar to C-38 – this morning at 10 am. In mid-September, Postmedia News reported, “(It) is expected to include a number of contentious changes that have profound impacts on government programs and public services.” Globe and Mail columnist John Ibbitson has commented, “Given the precedent of Bill C-38, we can only imagine what the government may decide to shove into that one.”
Today’s bill might include:
- revisions to the Species at Risk Act (including weakening protections for endangered populations of caribou near industrial tar sands development), though statements from the government indicate this may come as separate legislation;
- a potential sell-off of government assets (including privatizing some of Via Rail’s longer and most scenic routes);
- ‘refocusing’ the National Research Council to concentrate more on ‘demand-driven research’ that’s relevant to industry;
- promised changes to pension plans for federal employees and parliamentarians (forcing them to increase their contributions to 50 per cent and equal those of the employer; increasing the normal age of retirement for new federal workers to 65 from the current 60 beginning in 2013).
The Postmedia News report noted, “The initial 425-page budget bill that was passed in the spring gradually raises the eligibility age for Old Age Security, reforms the employment insurance system, overhauls environmental protection and fisheries laws, and expedites natural resource development approvals, along with hundreds of other changes.” For more on what was in the first budget implementation bill – and how the Council of Canadians fought that – please see ‘NEWS: C-38, the budget implementation act, set to pass this Wednesday or Thursday’ at http://canadians.org/blog/?p=15714.
Council of Canadians extra-parliamentary/ democracy campaigner Anil Naidoo is following these developments today.