Bill C-38: Do you know what it means?

Do you understand the implications of Bill C-38, the so-called Omnibus Budget Bill that is before Parliament? It will bring about huge changes to the Environmental Assessment process. You might expect that this kind of change would involve a great deal of consultation and discussion, but, in this case, you’d be wrong.

Bill C-38 is a budget bill, to which many other items have been added. It is 425 pages long and contains 752 clauses. As Kamloops 350, our main concern is with the environmental changes it proposes. Because it is set up as a budget bill, the sweeping environmental changes proposed are being reviewed by the finance committee of the government, instead of being debated openly by environmental experts. If you are concerned about this bill, you are not alone. Three former ministers of Fisheries & Oceans have expressed public criticism of the provisions of the bill as well as the way it’s being pushed through Parliament.

Environmental assessments are what the public relies on to ensure that industrial developments do not bring negative impacts to the environment. Review committee members have been told that the number of federal environmental assessments required each year will drop from 6000 to about 20. The bill would also provide a veto to Cabinet ministers in the event that the National Energy Board (responsible for pipeline projects reviews) comes back with a response other than what they were looking for. How can the public have faith in a process that can simply be overturned at the whim of elected officials?

Kamloops 350 is concerned about the massive changes that are enabled by Bill C-38. Please educate yourself about this bill, and make your concerns known to your MP. Time is of the essence – if we want to stop this Bill, we need to act quickly.

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