Resistance against the government’s omnibus budget bill is continuing to build, with an organization representing hundreds of municipalities across Canada being added to the list of those wanting to see the bill changed.
A motion was brought forward to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities at their annual general meeting this past weekend by Tom Siddon, Regional District of the Okanagan-Similkameen director and former Tory fisheries minister.
He first brought the motion before the regional district earlier last month, where it unanimously passed, before taking it before the FCM’s annual general meeting, where Siddon said it was “virtually unanimously passed” after the resolution was amended to also request the removal of the environmental clauses of bill C-38.
“The fact that all of the municipalities across Canada are now opposed to rushing this thing through in this way should have some significant bearing on the government,” he said.
“It’s an issue where people are coming out in large numbers, from the wildlife and conservationist groups and all stripes off ploticial parties saying you cannot dismantle the environmental values that Canadians cherish.”
The FCM motion comes as one of the latest public-relations blows to the Conservative’s omnibus budget bill C-38, which they hope to have passed before parliament breaks at the end of June.
Okanagan-Coquihalla Conservative MP Dan Albas stood by the omnibus bill
“As for FCM, this is somewhat unusual, because FCM has been supportive of this legislature. They’ve said as much, and it’s often local governments that are caught in the middle of these fisheries act issues,” said Albas.
The new legislation, Albas said, would bring in a more common sense and logical approach to dealing with environmental issues.
He pointed out that two years ago, efforts to build a stairway in Penticton to make Campbell Mountain more accessible were blocked by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, as the stairway would interfere with an old golf-course water hazard that was deemed a fish habitat.
However, looking at environmental projects with this approach still has conservation groups up in arms.
On Monday, several thousands of environmental and conservation groups, such as the David Suzuki Foundation, Greenpeace Canada and the World Wildlife Fund, shut down their websites in a protest called “Black out, speak out” in opposition to the budget bill.
Since it was tabled, the bill has received harsh criticisms from environmental and conservation groups as well as the opposition for the sweeping changes contained within the bill that deal with a wide range of subjects including EI, old-age security, immigration and the environment — subjects those opposed to the bill feel are too broad to be rolled together.
Nearly all of the other parties in the House of Commons have vowed to stop the bill from being passed in its current form. Rather, they would like to see the bill split up, allowing for more discussion and debate to occur on each section.
The Liberals, Bloc and Green Party leader Elizabeth May are working on a series of amendments, which will take parliament 50 to 60 hours to go through.
As well, May argued in the House of Commons on Monday the bill is not in proper form, as it has no theme or principle, and therefore should be ruled out of order in the house. According to May, the speaker will make a decision regarding throwing out the bill on Wednesday.