Never before has the budget been used as cover for such a sweeping agenda. Environmental leaders have called this budget a declaration of “war on nature,” and unless we speak out now this budget will sell out our natural heritage and economy for short-term oil company profit.[4,5]
Canadians from all across the political spectrum want responsible environmental protections, democratic decision-making and an economy that’s built to last. By silencing critics and burying these changes in a 400-page budget bill, the Conservative government is showing us they believe Canadians would say no to this deal if they knew about it.
If we speak out together and spread the word, we can create a massive public outcry to take these measures out of the budget, and start an open debate about the kind of smart laws we need to ensure lasting prosperity and a stable climate for all generations.
The budget is:
1. Bad for our natural heritage: The budget will gut the Fisheries Act, the most powerful federal environmental protection for our waters. It will weaken Canada’s environmental assessments for major industrial projects, shut more and more Canadians out of the review process, and politicize the results by placing all decision-making power in Harper’s cabinet.
These measures are designed to put the short-term interests of big oil companies first, despite the permanent consequences for our climate and natural heritage.
2. Bad for our democracy: These sweeping changes should be debated openly, not rammed through in a budget bill. The bill also contains anti-democratic measures to silence opposition. At the same time as the Conservative government is cutting funding to Elections Canada, the budget will spend $8 million intimidating environmental watchdog charities with constant audits and threats to their status.
3. Bad for our economy: The reckless expansion of the oil sands is hollowing out our economy. Fast rising energy exports have driven up the dollar, making Canada’s manufacturing exports less competitive and shutting down factories, especially in Ontario and Quebec. This pattern is called the “Dutch Disease” and it threatens our economy because manufacturing provides the bedrock for a stable middle class, creating vastly more good jobs and innovation than fossil fuel exports.
Public opinion is the only thing that can keep this government accountable to a majority of Canadians. Let’s rally Canadians together, and tell Finance Minister Flaherty that we want our environmental laws to move forward, not backward.
Conservatives pass motion to limit debate on budget bill
Opposition fumes as Tories limit debate on sweeping budget bill (Globe and Mail)
Bill C-38 shows us how far Parliament has fallen (National Post)
Oil, dissent and the future of Canada (Globe and Mail)
How Ottawa runs on oil (Maclean’s)
Budget bill rolls back protection for fish (World Wildlife Federation
Charities that spend on political action a “tiny fraction” (CBC)
Respected economist echoes McGuinty: “petro dollar damaging to Canada’s manufacturing industry” (Vancouver Observer)
Feds set Canada back 50 years on environment regulations: critics
Federal Budget 2012: Tories using majority to limit debate on omnibus budget bill (Toronto Star)
Canada’s stealth prime minister (Edmonton Journal)
Harper’s real agenda visible in budget bill (CBC)
Tories to overhaul Fisheries Act (Globe and Mail)