I’m glad we finally got a peep out of our MP Blake Richards on Bill C-38 (the omnibus budget bill), even if it was just in the form of a carefully scripted, partisan letter to the editor. I was beginning to think he was going to be missing-in-action entirely on this, arguably one of the most controversial and bizarre budget bills in Canadian history.
It‘s controversial enough that, on June 4, more than 500 organizations (including some prominent Bow Valley-based ones), representing a broad spectrum of Canadians, as well as thousands of individuals participated in the “Black Out Speak Out” protest against it. And on June 2, thousands of Canadians hit the streets to express their displeasure with the bill at Conservative MP offices across the country.
What’s so bizarre about the unwieldy C-38, if it’s even a legitimate omnibus bill, is that it repeals, amends, or overhauls 70 existing pieces of legislation. And fully 30 per cent of this “budget bill” has nothing to do with the budget!
For me and every major environmental organization in the country, the most worrying aspects of the bill are its sweeping changes to Canada’s environmental laws. Among the casualties of the bill are the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, the Fisheries Act, and the Species at Risk Act. Six hundred and thirty eight Parks Canada workers, our family members and friends among them, will be cut.
That Bill C-38 is largely about clearing the way for resource extraction and pipeline construction is obvious. The Conservative “Economic Action Plan” basically involves turning Canada into a one-trick pony dependent on wildly fluctuating revenue from a product that, in the face of increasingly-severe droughts, fires, storms, and floods, the world is realizing it can no longer afford to burn.