B.C. Southern Interior MP, Alex Atamanenko is extremely disappointed that the Conservative budget bill C-9 was adopted in the House of Commons on June 8th.
“This bill paves the way for the privatization of Canada Post and authorizes the sale of the Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. with no debate or public scrutiny. It also approves the drainage of the Employment Insurance Account which used to have a surplus of $57 billion paid by workers”, said Atamanenko.
According to the NDP MP there should have been a democratic debate on each of these provisions. “Tagging them onto the budget bill is a sad comment on how Mr. Harper governs. I am also saddened by the fact that the Liberals chose to support the Conservatives. At some point in time very soon we need to unite to stop Harpers wrecking crew or we will not have a country left”, added Atamanenko.
The bill will allow the Minister of Environment to avoid environmental assessments on smaller projects under a certain dollar value. There is nothing to avoid larger projects being broken up into smaller pieces.
The bill will exempt a number of projects from environmental assessment that are funded by federal infrastructure and other government funds.
The bill will take environmental assessments for energy projects (like pipelines and offshore drilling and the tar sands) away from the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and its expertise, and hand assessments over to the National Energy Board and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, who don’t have a track record in environmental assessments.
New Democrat Leader Jack Layton sharply criticized Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff for keeping enough of his MPs out of the House to allow the Harper Conservatives to drive their bloated budget bill through the House of Commons.
“Oil is still flowing into the Gulf of Mexico, yet the Liberals helped the Conservatives adopt a budget bill (C-9) that hands responsibility for environmental assessments to the industry-friendly National Energy Board. Trojan-Horse bills such as this one are the last refuge of a government trying to make unpopular changes.”
This article is a press release from Alex Atamanenko's office.