What do you get when you pack sweeping controversial reforms that impact everything from old age security to immigration to the environment into a 425-document that’s supposed to be our country’s federal budget? Not surprisingly, you get a lot of dissent.
A growing number of Canadians are speaking out against the Conservative government’s now infamous omnibus bill, C-38.
June 4 was Black Out Speak Out day, a day of protest against the bill organized by who’s who of “radical” Canadian environmental organizations, who argue they are being unfairly targeted through the bill by the Harper government. They are supported by a wide-range of NGOs representing unions, women, First Nations, humanitarian relief agencies, teachers and more. Prominent Canucks such as Stephen Lewis, Margaret Atwood and Bruce Cockburn were also supportive, as was just about every major political party other than the Conservatives.
To some, that roster may come across as a list of usual suspects. But they are not alone. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities is also opposing the bill. This national representative of Canada’s municipal governments has passed a resolution calling on the federal government to break up the omnibus bill. In particular, the resolution, put forward by a former Conservative fisheries minister, calls for the removal of clauses relating to fisheries and the environment.
Even within the Conservative party there’s been signs of dissent. Kootenay-Columbia MP David Wilks made national headlines over a video in which he candidly tells Revelstoke constituents that he doesn’t like everything in C-38. He also explains how individual Conservative backbenchers, if they wish to remain as such, have little sway when it comes to changing the bill. He said it would take 13 MPs to bring about change.
“If Canadians want it changed, then enough Canadians have to stand (up) to their MPs and say no,” said Wilks. Shortly after, Wilks issued a retraction, stating he supported the bill.
The ball against the bill, however, is already rolling