Posted: Friday, 1 June 2012
Next week is Environment Week in Canada. The CLC will be joining hundreds of environmental organizations, charities, and other organizations who will darken their websites for a day to protest the undemocratic way Canada's environmental laws and regulations are being changed by the federal government.
The government has introduced a massive bill to implement its 2012 budget – over 400 pages of changes to pensions, employment insurance, wages, charities, environment laws and regulations, and much, much more. Debate in Parliament of the bill, which contains far more than budget measures, has been limited by the government so that the bill becomes law before summer.
At risk is the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act with weaker regulations and a smaller role for the government to play in assessing the environmental impact of large construction projects on our water supply, on fish habitat, or the habitat of endangered species. And politicians will soon be able to overrule decisions of the National Energy Board.
The bill adds two more years of work to the most vulnerable seniors in Canada, making them ineligible for Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement until age 67, by 2030. It will make Employment Insurance (EI) harder to get for the 40% of unemployed who are lucky enough to qualify for EI. It will force down wages by easing rules for companies to bring migrant workers from outside Canada and allowing them to be paid 15% less than prevailing average wages.
The way in which such fundamental changes to our society are being introduced – hidden in a budget bill with little time for elected representatives to debate the changes, without real consultation with Canadians, undermines democracy.
Don't let silence take away our democracy. Speak out in defence of democracy. These changes need real debate in parliament and real consultation with Canadians.