Today First Nations and environmental, recreation and grassroots groups supported by more than half a million Canadians issued an open letter opposing the federal government’s controversial second omnibus bill, C-45, as the proposed legislation enters final rounds of debate in Parliament.
It’s no secret that environmental groups, including Ecojustice and many of our clients, are opposed to the ongoing deregulation of some of Canada’s most important environmental laws. And it’s not unusual that other groups are standing up alongside us – including the BC Assembly of First Nations, Paddle Canada and others who are calling Bill C-45 an affront to democracy.
It was just last spring when hundreds of organizations stood together as part of the Black Out Speak Out campaign, calling on federal MPs to do their part to protect nature and democracy by voting against the first omnibus budget bill, C-38.
Several of these groups are standing together again today to defend Canadians against another round of cuts to key environmental laws including:
An overhaul of the Navigable Waters Protection Act that would see just 97 of Canada’s approximately 32,000 major lakes protected by the stripped-down act. Major pipelines would also be exempted under the new law, meaning that the scope of impacts considered during environmental reviews will be narrower.
More changes to the Fisheries Act that would further dismantle this key environmental law by giving industry the option to request that their existing commitments to protect fish habitat be amended or cancelled, thereby potentially being let off the hook for promised compensation for lost or damaged habitat.
New changes to the Hazardous Materials Information Review Act that would eliminate the Hazardous Materials Information Review Commission, an independent body charged with making science-based decisions to protect Canadians from toxic chemicals and hazardous materials in the workplace.
Together, the changes proposed in Bill C-45 would further weaken Canada’s environmental laws, remove critical federal safeguards and reduce opportunities for the public to have their say about projects that could threaten the air, water, soil and ecosystems on which all Canadians, and our economy, depend.
The good news is there are people willing to stand up for what’s right. Please add your name to the list of Canadians calling on the federal government to stop rolling back our environmental laws.