COMMENT: Conservative ominous omnibus bills – The art of stealing power from democracy
Alex Atamanenko, MP (BC Southern Interior) is slamming the Conservative government’s second mammoth Omnibus Budget Bill this year which amends over 40 separate Acts, guts a series of commissions that protect the public interest and concentrates even more power in Ministers’ hands.
The BC MP denounced the government’s measures to gut the Navigable Waters Protection Act and further erode the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. “The Conservative Cabinet is grabbing power to rule on environmental assessments and pipelines even as the Environment Minister is firing the scientists who provide expert and independent advice,” noted Atamanenko. “What we are witnessing is a disturbing trend to eliminate our ability to democratically govern and protect the environment and ensure sustainable development for future generations,”
According to Atamanenko the Budget bill, entitled the Jobs and Growth Act, is entirely devoid of any significant measures to create jobs and stimulate growth in the long term for Canadians. “Nowhere in the bill is a Canada-wide strategy to create good paying jobs even as 1.4 million Canadians remain unemployed,” said Atamanenko. “Tax credits to small business are short term and very small in size. Support to business research and development has been cut.”
Atamanenko was also highly critical of the drastic changes to Employment Insurance and the Labour Code in government budget bills noting that the government has not even bothered to hear from the businesses or workers that pay into it. “I am also very concerned about the government’s cuts to Old Age Security and future Health Care transfers,” added Atamanenko. “The Conservatives made a clear promise in the last election that they wouldn’t do so. “
Atamanenko says he is vehemently opposed to omnibus bills as they force parliamentarians to vote on a sweeping and diverse package of measures while denying them sufficient opportunity to provide full and proper scrutiny as they were elected to do. “This is the basic principle of parliamentary democracy and the Conservative’s are steadily stealing it from Canadians,” concluded Atamanenko. “I know New Democrats will put up a hell of a fight to ensure this bill doesn’t pass quietly into law. I invite everyone in the Riding to contact the government and myself to add their voice in what is sure to be an epic battle.”
This article is a press release from Mr. Atamanenko's office.