Well folks, it’s not surprising that Stephen Harper has delivered Canadians a second undemocratic omnibus budget bill, Bill C-45. This omnibus bill further diminishes protection to many areas such as our environment.
In this omnibus bill, the Conservative government is eliminating a significant law dated back to 1882 called the Navigable Waters Protection Act. This original act protected thousands of pristine bodies of water in Canada. It is now being replaced by a law that weakens environmental protection called the Navigation Protection Act. As the Brandon Sun pointed out, the new act will only protect 97 lakes, 62 rivers and three oceans.
In his article in the Brandon Sun on Oct. 19, Brandon-Souris Conservative MP Merv Tweed wants us to believe that the Conservatives changed the act for the benefit of municipal projects. Mr. Tweed said that the original Navigable Waters Protection Act created a “bureaucratic black hole, holding up simple projects like municipal infrastructure and small recreational docks.”
Are we really going to fall for Tweed’s deception that Stephen Harper and the Conservatives really care about small recreation docks? Sorry, we’re not as gullible as he thinks we are.
You see, under this new Navigation Protection Act, the minister of transport has the power to rubber stamp projects such as pipelines and power lines without public consultation, review and debate. The Conservatives changed this law solely to get rid of the bureaucratic black hole for foreign corporations and holding up large projects such as the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline.
Next, what is FIPA and what does it have to do with the Navigation Protection Act, natural resources and pipelines? Everything, it’s like a piece of a well-orchestrated puzzle. First, we already know that the Conservatives favour large foreign corporations by using taxpayers’ money to give them multibillion-dollar tax breaks rather than using the money to invest back into the Canadian economy. These extravagant tax breaks are the bait to lure in foreign companies.
Now that foreign corporations are lured in, the Canada-China Foreign Investment Protection Agreement will set the path for China’s corporations to easily buy out Canada’s natural resource companies. It will also weaken Canadian laws that create jobs, protect our environment and keep communities healthy for the next 31 years.
In less than a week, FIPA will be set to pass without a debate or a single vote. This agreement was so secretive that mass media across the country is just finally starting to pick it up. FIPA will give foreign corporations the power to sue Canadian governments for stopping projects such as the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline.
FIPA was done behind closed doors without letting Canadians know about it. When a government makes decisions in secret, stifles public debate, a democracy no longer exists. The bottom line is that we’re in trouble.
Tweed and the rest of the conservatives are continuing to undermine our democratic, social, environmental and economic values. It’s crystal clear that the conservatives are not representing Canadians’ best interests but are instead chasing pipeline dreams.
Brandon-Souris NDP Federal Riding
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 30, 2012