Oppostion House Leader Nathan Cullen has come out swinging against Harper's Bill C-38 (photo: Chris Roussakis/QMI Agency)

Opposition Parties Turn Up Heat on Harper’s Omnibus Bill


Federal opposition parties, along with Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, are ratcheting up their campaign against Stephen Harper’s Bill C-38 omnibus budget bill. Party representatives say they’ll use any tools at their disposal to push the Prime Minister to abandon a number of non-budgetary items in the 400-plus page bill – including the controversial gutting of the fisheries act, watering down of environmental assessment processes and upping the age for old age security benefits.

NDP Opposition House Leader Nathan Cullen and Liberal MP Marc Garneau described to CBC’s Evan Solomon this week the parliamentary roadblocks their parties are prepared to place in the path of Bill C-38. Chief among these tactics is the use of votes on amendments to individual clauses of the bill – as many as 400, according to Cullen – designed to slow down the passage of the bill and force Harper to consider breaking it into smaller pieces.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May has been actively attacking the omnibus bill as well – raising the issue through social media and teaming up with the Liberals to augment her political effectiveness. May is unable to debate the bill at the committee level as her party lacks official status, but as Garneau explained to Solomon, his party is working with May to represent many of her proposed amendments to the bill dealing with the stripping of environmental regulations and protections.

May’s petition to abandon Bill C-38 has garnered over 20,000 likes and shares on facebook this week. Watch her video below explaining her party’s issues with the budget bill and calling on citizens to take action to stop it.

The most controversial non-budgetary components of the bill – particularly the gutting of habitat protections from the Fisheries Act – continue to draw widespread media coverage and provoke growing outrage amongst environmental groups and voters across the country. However, it remains to be seen what effect these measures will have on the majority Harper Government’s plans with Bill C-38, expected to go to a vote in the House as soon as next week.




About Damien Gillis

Damien Gillis is a Vancouver-based documentary filmmaker with a focus on environmental and social justice issues - especially relating to water, energy, and saving Canada's wild salmon - working with many environmental organizations in BC and around the world. He is the co-founder, along with Rafe Mair, of The Common Sense Canadian, and a board member of both the BC Environmental Network and the Haig-Brown Institute.