As our Canada Day long weekend starts and Parliament closes for the summer,
Bill C-38 passes.
Bill C-38, also known as the Omnibus Bill, is the “Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act,” was said to be anchored in the 2012 Federal Budget. This bill numbered more than 400 pages and introduced, amended or repealed 70 federal acts (laws) and contained 750 sections. Many detractors were concerned that this massive bill packaged together an unreasonable number of issues into a single bill without having had the legitimate time for debate and consideration by the provinces, let alone Canada’s citizens.
A week ago NHPPA’s Shawn Buckley raised food safety concerns in his Discussion Paper on Bill C-38. There has been no reference to these concerns in the debates but on June 19 Huffington Post’s Irwin Cottler observed: “The government has yet to explain how these cuts would not prejudice the health and safety of Canadians or how food safety would be maintained…”
The Senate’s third reading started on June 27 2012. By a vote of 49-31 held at 5:30 PM today, Bill C-38 was passed. It is important for all NHPPA supporters to remember that as this bill was seemingly railroaded through, it compromised democratic process by limiting the opportunity for a dialogue about issues it addressed that may now have a serious impact.
On June 7 2012 at committee, Susan Eng, representing the Canadian Association of Retired Persons, or CARP, made the following relevant remarks:
“Finally, I would like to say a word on the democratic process. Our members reacted strongly against the bundling of the Old Age Security changes within the omnibus bill, and they certainly want proper parliamentary debate for such an important issue, especially one that was never put before the electorate. CARP called on all MPs to support motions to separate the bill, splitting it into more manageable portions in order to allow for adequate deliberation. The Prime Minister himself once warned against the bundling of disparate issues into an omnibus bill because it was beyond the capacity of a single parliamentary committee to adequately consider all the dimensions of major public policy changes. Breaking up the bill, in the then opposition leader Mr. Harper’s own words, would allow members to represent the views of constituents on each of the different components of the bill. We agree, and that logic should be applied to Bill C-38.”
In yesterday morning’s National Post, Terence Corcoran quoted Ross McMillan, CEO of Tides Canada, the U.S.-backed, anti-oil-sands charity caught in a political storm over the role of green charities in Canada: “There is absolutely nothing partisan in speaking truth about what is unfolding in this country and what is at risk… Protecting the freedom to voice competing ideas is a foundation of Canadian democracy. And it is the foundation for a tolerant and open society.”
Engaging now and in the future on issues you believe in will make a difference.
But NHPPA supporters, activists and citizens have to become involved in the process at its impetus. Although the bill has passed, it is all the more important that you voice your concerns to Senators about how this bill impacts you or how the democratic process has been undermined.
Your thoughts today may make the difference in tomorrow’s decisions.
Contact a Senator in your area, or if you have the opportunity to read the transcripts, you may wish to choose a Senator who is in support (or not) of your opinions. Feel free to consult NHPPA’s Bill C-38 Discussion Paper.
CLICK HERE for NHPPA’s Discussion Paper on Bill C-38
CLICK HERE for a link that takes you to the current status of Bill C-38 on the Parliament of Canada website
CLICK HERE for a link that helps you find and contact Senators
The NHPPA remains your watchdog, researching, writing and advising to protect you, your business and your rights.