Posted by: Robert Janssen | May 11, 2012

Black Out Speak Out: Monday, June 04, 2012

Right now, Parliament is pushing through a bill to weaken many of the country’s  most important environmental protection measures and silence Canadians who  want to defend them. Instead of using the usual process for sweeping changes, which allows for thorough debate, these changes are being shoehorned into a  massive budget law.

Here are the top five reasons to Speak Out:

  1. The Canadian Environmental Assessment Act is being replaced with a totally new law. Under it, Ottawa will play a much smaller role in protecting people from harmful projects, while retaining the right to basically rubber-stamp big projects that powerful oil interests want. And the new weaker rules are being applied to review processes that are already underway–so projects like the Enbridge Northern Gateway tankers and pipeline project could get an easier ride.
  2. The government is adding $8 million in new funding for the Canada Revenue Agency to audit charities – including environmental groups – because they use their legal right to advocate for things like laws to fight global warming. This will have a chilling effect on democratic debate, with the big winner being powerful oil interests. Under the new laws, citizen groups will likely be shut out of environmental reviews of big projects like oil pipelines. Key government agencies with expertise will also have less input. Well funded backroom lobbyists and political operatives will have greater influence.
  3. The National Energy Board will no longer be able to say “no” to oil pipeline projects that are not in the public interest. Politicians in Cabinet will be able to overrule the expert energy regulator if powerful oil interests don’t like its decision. Permits that allow the destruction of habitat for fish and threatened or endangered species will now be issued behind closed doors without public scrutiny, if they are required at all.
  4. Many lakes, rivers and streams that provide habitat to fish will be at greater risk of destruction because of changes to the Fisheries Act contained within the budget implementation bill. Healthy fish habitat is important for fish and for the people and businesses that depend on them.
  5. The 2012 budget eliminates the funding for the last remaining government advisory body – the National Roundtable on the Environment and Economy (NRTEE)- focused on providing analysis and advice on how to meet our international commitments to reducing greenhouse gas pollution.

Speak out on June 4, 2012 in defence of two core Canadian values: nature and democracy.

Join a committed group of organizations representing millions of Canadians as we darken our websites in protest against efforts to silence your voice.

http://www.blackoutspeakout.ca/about.php

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