Like many Canadians, I have been watching, stunned with amazement (although not disbelief), at the alacrity and determination with which this Conservative government is dismantling social institutions, women’s and human rights groups, farmers’ co-operatives, the CBC, and now the laws protecting our environment.
Amazement, because this government is working like it has a deadline. Every week there is another list of horrors – parliament scorned, laws twisted, or promises broken. And stunned because of the sheer vitriol and demonization it freely and immediately heaps on everyone with a different opinion.
What prompted this letter, however, is our riding’s latest newsletter from ‘the hill’ – from our own MP. Constituents who follow current events and receive these communications know that every time there is an egregious breach of trust on the part of the Conservative government, or a legislative bombshell, or its ministers deceive parliament or squander tax dollars, our MP’s email list goes viral with strident cheerleading about government enactment of yet another law combating yet another previously little known threat to our way of life. However, the sheer irony of this latest smokescreen irresistibly begged for comment.
As most readers must know, the government has packaged up yet another hugely deceitful, controversial and undemocratic bill dismantling, amongst other things, Canadian environmental protection, into… the budget.
Yes, I know, that does seem odd, doesn’t it… sidestepping parliamentary debate of changes to decades of carefully wrought environmental legislation, laid down by various governments blue, red and orange, and umpteen elder statesmen, by sticking it underneath reductions to toilet paper expenses for the East block?
Of course, the current Cons (sic) have done this many times before, packaging contentious laws into budgets or monstrous omnibus bills (reams of paper on accounting minutiae with a half dozen nasty grenades tucked inside) and this new “Budget Bill” does not disappoint.
The new proposed “budget” includes secretive changes to more than 60 major government acts including EI, Canada’s social safety net, and a bill proposing virtual evisceration of the Canadian Fisheries Act so that tankers can plough the Inside Passage to take tar sands oil to China. Like a thief in the locker room, concealed Bill C38 will take away all review and public input and even allow the federal cabinet to sidestep the National Resources Conservation Board, so that you and I or our children may never even know what has been approved for who and by whom, or in whose interest.
True, you might say, not much new here, but here’s the irony. At this very moment our MP’s viral email is touting (stridently) his new Private Member’s Bill C-309, which will make it illegal for bad people to wear masks while doing bad things. The value of this law may be debatable, but I say to Mr. Richards, if his bill can be extended to forbid governments from deceiving parliament, or thwarting democracy by “masking” contentious legislation from its citizens, it will have my wholehearted support.