Director calls for action against Omnibus Bill C-38

Area “D” director continues to push for changes to Omnibus Bill legislation that he says would gut fisheries and environmental protections

Area”D” Director Tom Siddon introduced a director’s motion at the May 17 regional district board meeting to request changes to the federal government’s Omnibus Budget Bill C-38.

More specifically, the motion specified:  “the Regional District Okanagan – Similkameen calls upon the Prime Minister of Canada and the Federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to rescind the proposed amendments to the Federal Fisheries Act and to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act as contained within the Omnibus Budget Bill C-38.”

The motion also requested that any amendments to the Federal Fisheries Act be incorporated into a new, consolidated Environmental Protection Bill that would be subject to appropriate parliamentary committees for review, prior to being adopted by parliament.

The motion would be forwarded to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities convention (FCM, June 1-4 ) for consideration as well.

Siddon noted that Bill C-38 was  being touted as the “Environmental Destruction Act,”containing amendments to 60 separate pieces of federal legislation.

“We all know what a kitchen sink full of dirty dishes looks like,” he told the board, “that’s what this bill is.

This bill is clipping the wings of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, which  I had the privilege of working on and developing.

It also guts the 144 year old Fisheries Act.

The tendency to put a lot of different, unrelated pieces of legislation in a bill, and then bring in a fixed debate period, without referring it to  all the specialized committees, the so-called standing committees, is a kind of ‘hold your nose and pass it’ approach.”

Siddon added that the issue went beyond political boundaries, commenting that many Canadians saw the Omnibus bill and the way it was being pushed through as an inappropriate use of parliament.

The directors unanimously agreed with Siddon’s motion. He advised the board that he would  also present it to the FCM in June.