Spring is a time for renewal. The Harper Government’s 2012 Budget was something new, but if you care about our environment, it was only new in a very unwelcome way. There’s nothing fresh about this stinker. Canada’s Finance Minister, Jim Flaherty, introduced the ugliest attack on Canada’s environment in our history. Much has been made of the Bill C–38’s over four-hundred, page count, but, unsurprisingly, it was the exasperating Big-Oil-Agenda, that left environmentalists completely befuddled. Here are just a few of the changes:
- Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act repealed
- NEB (National Energy Board) reviews limited to two years, the Northern Gateway Pipelines review is included, retroactively. Worse still, if the Harper Government’s Cabinet disagrees with the NEB’s findings, they will have the power to unilaterally overrule the NEB’s review
- pipelines will be exempt from the provisions of the Navigable Waters Protection Act
- replacing the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act
- shuttering the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy
- Canada’s Auditor General, will no longer audit the Northern Pipeline Agency
- the Minister of National Revenue can withhold tax receipts from a charity if political activities exceed ten percent (think environment focused organizations)
- rewriting The Fisheries Act, potentially eliminating current protections for fish habitat.
Q: Who benefits from these downgrades of our environmental protection?
A: Multinational oil and gas corporations.
Ask yourself, “Why is the Harper Government working hand-in-hand with Big Oil?”
Historical note: What did Stephen Harper think about omnibus budget implementation bills back in 1994? To be fair to the Liberals, their omnibus bill was much, much smaller than C-38 and it did not cover over seventy pieces of legislation. The Harper Government’s Bill C-38 will become infamous.
“In the interest of democracy I ask: How can members represent their constituents on these various areas when they are forced to vote in a block on such legislation and on such concerns?”
– Stephen Harper, Reform Party MP