Bill C-38, the Harper omnibus bill, passed second reading on May 14. The Harper government once again used their majority to show contempt for Parliament by pushing ahead with a budget that incorporates far more than the budgetary items upon which their election campaign was based.
This bill amended 47 acts and converts laws once controlled by Parliament into regulations that can be amended at will by the Harper majority. The issues are too numerous to mention, but include major changes to policies pertaining to: OAS/GIS; public pensions; EI; the environment; natural resources; CSIS; immigration; government inspections; and the Criminal Code.
Nobody can convince me that the 149 Conservative members who voted for the changes to the 47 acts contained in the 421-page document are fully conversant with all aspects of this bill. But, once again, the lemmings follow their leader.
Opposition parties have suggested that Bill C-38 be broken into five sections in order to allow proper scrutiny/discussion. This is far too logical for this government to grasp.
Finance Minister Flaherty was questioned about certain aspects of this bill and only responded, “Trust me”. Yeah, right. Harper et al have already seriously damaged our international reputation with their environmental and other policies (withdrawal from the Kyoto Accord, exportation of asbestos to Third World countries and approval of using torture on captives).
Harper’s policy of prioritizing austerity over growth is sure to significantly impact our domestic situation — and not for the better. He continues with tax breaks for corporations and the rich, at the expense of the middle class and working poor. It seems austerity is only applied to the latter groups. Shame!
The only thing that keeps me optimistic is that a future coalition government will overturn actions now being taken by this party. That is, if it is not too late by then.