Thanks again for signing up to help our tar sands pipelines campaign.
We can’t overstate the value of people like you talking to family and friends about these issues, countering the spin from the Harper government and the oil industry.
You’re already having an impact. A recent survey found that 59 per cent of Canadians think the Prime Minister is putting the interests of oil companies ahead of what is best for Canadians, and only 15 per cent of the population thought he was putting their interests first.
Nevertheless, it’s still full-steam ahead for the Harper government and their oil industry allies.
Last week, the federal government unveiled the budget implementation bill. Traditionally, budget bills are about the government’s planned spending for the coming year. This one, however, is being called “the biggest ever overhaul of federal environmental protections” because it includes 150 pages of legal text weakening Canada’s environmental laws. Here’s a quick summary:
- The Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act: Gone.
- Canadian Environmental Assessment Act: Revoked and replaced with a weakened version that leaves the key decisions up to the Minister of Environment.
- The Fisheries Act and the Species at Risk Act: Key provisions are dramatically weakened, with industrial mega-projects taking precedence over habitat protection.
- The National Energy Board: Loses veto power over pipeline proposals, as the Prime Minister gives himself the ability to overrule any decision they make.
It doesn’t get any better when you actually get to the budget:
- The budgets of ministries dealing with environmental protection were cut, reducing their capacity to enforce laws.
- $1.3 billion in federal subsidies for the oil industry, on the other hand, have been left largely untouched.
- In spite of cutbacks elsewhere, the federal government did manage to find an extra $8 million for the Canada Revenue Agency to audit environmental groups, in what the Globe and Mail has called a “witch hunt” targeting groups opposed to new tar sands pipelines.
You would expect this kind of action in a petro-state, not Canada.
One way that you can help turn this around is to sign the petition from the Yinka Dene Alliance, a coalition of BC First Nations whose land would be crossed by the Enbridge tar sands pipeline. They are calling on Parliament to recognize their decision to ban tar sands pipelines and tankers in their territories.
The Yinka Dene will be in the news this week, as their Freedom Train travels from Vancouver to Toronto, where they will speak truth to power at the Enbridge Annual General Meeting on May 9th. If you’re in the Toronto area on May 9th, join us at David Pecaut Square (near King and John Streets) at 11:45 for a rally and march to the Enbridge AGM.
Climate and Energy Campaigner