Sierra Club Canada - Submission to the Senate Committee on Energy (Re: C-38)

May 31, 2012

Submission to the Senate Committee on Energy

Re: Bill C-38

John Bennett, Executive Director

Sierra Club Canada

Thursday, May 31 201

 

Mr. Chair, honourable members, I want to thank you for inviting Sierra Club Canada to testify today. We found our last appearance before this committee invigorating and are glad to have another opportunity to speak to you.

There is a problem, however, which made my decision to accept this invitation difficult.  Sierra Club Canada’s bylaws require all members to respect Canadian law and by extension Canadian lawmakers.  I personally have great respect for the Senate. I strongly believe society should look to its elders for advice and sober second thought. 

Respect is the basis for a functioning democracy, after all. If we don’t respect each other we won’t respect the institutions that govern us - and that won’t lead to a good place.

I raise the issue of respect because it’s essentially the reason for the success of Sierra Club Canada over the past half-century.

Sierra Club Canada has been able to contribute to public policy in Canada because we have respected its institutions and because we the have the respect of Canadians. Two of our members were awarded the Order of Canada for their work.

Why do Canadians respect the work of Sierra Club Canada? It’s because it has always been based on science, knowledge, expertise and experience. Frankly speaking, it’s for this reason that our members and supporters, and millions of Canadians, are appalled by recent comments from government ministers and senators.

Clearly, there are those in this place and elsewhere who have forgotten the importance of respecting others and differing points of view, and who have taken it upon themselves to use their seats of privilege to attack the reputations of environmental organizations, and by implication the reputations of millions of Canadians who describe themselves as environmentalists from coast-to-coast-to-coast.

An investigation by definition involves the uncovering of facts from all available sources and determining if wrong-doing has taken place. It allows for the accused to present evidence and defend themselves in a fair and open forum. Yet, no government Senator would agree to meet with Sierra Club Canada and hear a differing point of view – unacceptable considering the bombastic claims and allegations being made.

There are those in this place who are conducting a witch hunt - not to uncover the facts, but to make accusations designed to smear the reputations of organizations like Sierra Club Canada and people like me.

Why attack Sierra Club Canada, I ask you? It’s an organization that is nothing more than several thousand concerned Canadians hoping to preserve a bit of our natural heritage for future generations.

I say today for the record that what is happening to Sierra Club Canada and other environmental groups across this great country is clearly part of a well-orchestrated campaign by the government and its backers to silence dissenting green voices. It’s not only an attack on the environment – it’s worse. It’s an attack on democracy and those involved should be ashamed.

This is the worst kind of McCarthyism. So I will answer a McCarthyian question:

Yes, I am and have been a member of the environmentalists of Canada - a well-known association of committed and well-inform citizens. I am proud to say so - despite your campaign to destroy my organization, reputation and good-name. I appreciate your taking the time to hear from me today – especially considering I’m allegedly a radical money laundering puppet of socialist billionaires, dupe of foreign interests andprepared to accept funds from terrorists.

There are senators in this place who owe Canadians an apology.

As for the issue before us, we are extremely concerned with the rush of these proceedings. There is no need for this session to be taking place today.

By definition ‘sober second thought’ must come after - not before - a decision by the lower house and we feel it’s inappropriate to be conducting this hearing today. We feel the situation is illustrative of the larger government plan to silence dissent and rush through draconian and unpopular changes to environmental law and policy without public debate.

Sierra Club Canada members strongly object and will demonstrate their concerns on #BlackOutSpeakOut day June 4th. I asked Sierra Club Canada members to help me prepare this submission.

Here’s a sampling of what they had to say:

 

Dr. Leo Murphy and Dr. Jane Thurley:

We don’t mind reasonable resource development but we do mind the anti-democratic, anti-environmental and anti-Canadian policies of Stephen Harper who, coward that he is, seeks to bully his Trojan horse omnibus bill thru parliament with no regard to the future of our people or our land. He is by far the worst environmental nightmare Canada has ever known

 

Oli Cosgrove:

I am livid about the Conservative-dominated Senate's move to "debate" Bill-38 before it has even passed in the House.Actions to dismantle proper parliamentary procedure have been the hallmark of Harper's Conservatives, involving limiting debate in the House, Conservative committee members walking out when the discussion wasn't going their way and other childish and dangerous manoeuvres.  And now this --  not only pre-empting debate in the House but also making a sham of any legitimate Senate examination of the Bill and it's effect on Canada.  This is an insult to all Canadians; a hijacking of our rights to proper debate on a bill that could change the course of this country and change it to its detriment.  Conservatives in the Senate are putting their biases ahead of the interests of the country and appear not to have any conscience about it.   Undermining a country is a form of treason.

 

Karen Sampson:

Along with tens of thousands of other Canadians I am appalled and saddened by the smear campaign being launched against environmentalists, both groups and individuals. I am a loyal Canadian...I love this country and wish to see Canada's standing in the world not be tarnished by ill considered plans by this government to move ahead with  big-business backed destructive policies that will hurt all of us in the long run. I am not against economic prosperity, far from it, but there are ways to achieve this that don't cause harm and are beneficial to all citizens and residents of this country, and of the world.

 

Ian Bonyun:

I was offended personally, having been labelled a radical intent on hijacking proceedings, with the implication that I am some sort of domestic terrorist out to do harm to Canada.  The rhetoric coming from Conservative MPs and Senators is downright slanderous and I think a public apology is definitely in order.  The Conservative propaganda machine (encompassing both MPs and Senators) is an affront to Canadian democratic values because it is flagrantly dishonest.  It makes me wonder why I allow my tax dollars to pay the salaries of people who want to insult me, discredit me, and lie to me.  If this is what Canada's 'sober second thought' looks like in action, I think it's time we dismantle it.

 

Alex Steinitz:

This response by certain senators is deeply insulting to I believe, the views of the majority of Canadians, and all senators should be more responsable than this.

 

Jan Slakov:

Please let the senators know that I am appalled by how some of them are acting to subvert democracy. The way they dismissed with Bill C-311, the Climate Accountability Act, and are set to force Bill C-38 through as fast as possible, surely because the more scrutiny it gets, the worse it will be seen to be, is totally unacceptable.I wrote to several senators to ask that they attend a climate caucus event last Dec. 14, featuring conservative-leaning members of the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy and I believe not one senator bothered to reply. I find it very hard to justify the current senate as an example of "sober second thought". How ironic that people who are acting as "yes-men" for Prime Minister Harper, who seems to want to liquidate Canada's natural resources at breakneck speed, would accuse concerned citizens and First Nations of acting against the "national interest"!

 

Susan Schellenberg:

When you testify on Bill C-38 before a Senate Committee on Thursday morning please express to the committee members  the depths of my disgust with the charade  and faux appearance of Senate business they give to their rubber stamping of the Conservative Government's derelict  Bill C-38. My loathing extends as well to the Senate's projection of their own wrongful motives onto the environmentally informed and democratically concerned Canadians who dare our Senate to serve and protect as they are paid and mandated to do.In the context of Bill-C38, the Senate can snooker its collective intellect, twist  its collective feelings, allow its collective perceptions to be tricked by the deceptive in betrayal coinage but, being comprised of ordinary women and men who came from and will one day return to the earth it confounds the mind that they have so lost touch with their home that they are willing to risk its air, water, food supply and the health of its people and their future generations. 

 

Elizabeth Coombs:

I cannot believe that Senators of Canada who presumably are seated in that august chamber because of their wisdom and unquestioned probity would stoop to make unfounded statements regarding environmentalists, smears which are not supported by evidence, and in a context in which those vilified have no recourse in order to defend themselves.  I am deeply saddened to think Senators would stray so far from the honorable task with which the Canadian public has entrusted them.

 

John Richkus:

 This is an outrageous move by the government Senators. They are supposed to wait until the Commons passes a bill, but in this case they plan to fast track their hearings. I demand that government Senators apologize to all Canadians who consider themselves environmentalists for the derogatory remarks and unfounded allegations made by several Senators who say they are conducting an "investigation". In fact, their investigation is a witch hunt -- ripe with McCarthyism -- in which accusations are hurled without evidence or an opportunity to set the record straight. The ‘chamber of sober second thought’ has been turned into an echo-chamber of government smears.

 

John Cummings:

I am appalled to hear that the Senate is abusing its power in this way. My opinion of you [the Senate] has gone down.Bill C-38 MUST be broken up into its component parts so that all of the many issues can be debated separately. I have already written a personal letter (in handwriting, if you can remember that) to Prime Minister Stephen Harper expressing my opinion on this topic and I am glad to have this opportunity of repeating it for the benefit of what I thought (before this episode) was the august senate.

 

Bradley Jones:

What an undemocratic and narrow-minded bunch of Conservative Senators we have!

 

Alex Day:

I would like all levels of government to know that I am a Canadian and I am an environmentalist. I do not feel that these two things are mutually exclusive. As a Canadian I am concerned with the rhetoric and government tricks that are being used to try to discredit environmentalists and environmental organizations. As an environmentalist I am terrified with the policies that are being pushed through at the same time as this smear campaign. I find the "games" that government is playing offensive and divisive. The only up side of this situation is that Canadians are not falling for these dirty tricks and in three more years we will be rid of this government, for some time I would suspect. I only wish that we didn't have to wait so long and hope upon hope that the damage done to our democracy and environment is not irreparable.

 

Janet Pattinson:

I am appalled by news of the smear tactics used by the Conservative Party against all those concerned about the environment and the move by the Conservative Party to stifle free speech

 

Paul Davis:

I have served the Crown for 30 years, in many posts, in federal and other governments in parks, public safety, programme review and audit, support of parliament, and environmental protection. I have held yearly criminal records checks, fingerprint checks, Enhanced Reliability background checks, Secret clearance (civilian), Secret clearance (military).  I am an environmentalist, and I am appalled by the tory government's behaviour! I am not  a Chinese-backed mining or petroleum company, I have no corporate thugs to hire to intimidate people with or to lobby ministers or senators with. To imply that environmentalists are criminals is dispicable and libellous! I am an unashamed environmentalist and I am ashamed of this government!

 

Heather Parsons:

We are astounded at your government's lack of accountability in the democratic process, your lack of understanding of the issues at stake around the environment, and the smear campaigning against average Canadians. We both work at full-time jobs and pay taxes to pay your salaries, yet we recycle and take public transit. So are we enemies or not?

 

Kathy White:

I am sick of the government undermining environmental laws and treating the people with contempt. They are steadily removing hard earned rights from the people and are guiding us towards a bleak future of climate change and environmental degradation. I have never experienced such an anti-democratic government in my 41 years as a voter

 

I. Erickson:

The section of the omnibus bill that would allow for fast-tracking of environmental assessments is actually gutting having the assessment done, because government is reducing the number of Environment staff that would be doing that function.  If they genuinely wish to fast track they need to increase the number of staff involved.  This is an example of government doing exactly the opposite of what actions they should be taking.

 

Carolyn Ferguson:

As a 7th generation Canadian I can feel my ancestors roll over in their graves at what is happening to this country. The omnibus budget bill is a mockery of true Canadian values; a spiteful trashing of environmental protections thoughtfully initiated over the years by perceptive scientists and others to guard our air, water, land and fellow species and help preserve stable ecosystems for future generations. The extremely crude manner in which this legislation (which includes tinkering with other social protections) is being thrust through Parliament is not befitting a country which was once looked to for leadership on major issues affecting the planet.The economy is nothing without a healthy environment and a well informed, inclusively engaged citizenry.

 

Stephanie Amos:

Yes, I am offended by the government's covert and wholesale gutting of environmental laws in Canada and doubly offended by their putting members of environment groups into the same category as terrorists.  It is shocking that the conservatives are governing for only one sector of society (oil and related interests) - and treating everyone else with contempt.  Shameful - and ignorant!

 

Eileen Kosior:

I'm nearly 69 and was HORRIFIED when the Senate defeated the Climate Bill -- with not even ONE word of debate-- having called no witnesses!The Senate acted on dinosaur-aged thinking and showed supreme UNCARING for what we are leaving our children whose habitable planet is at severe risk. Climate change is happening. But we will be in our graves when our children are struggling on a planet no longer habitable as it's been for us. In the age of science, Canadian Senators are not listening to the 99+ percent of expert climate scientists--- who have been telling us for years how CO2 has been rising with the dawn of the industrial age, how it has a warming effect and how anthropogenic causes are incontestable.

 

Jillian Paschen:

It is unconscionable that our Prime Minister is trying to present and pass a bill that effectively removes the ability of our legal system to properly review corporate development projects in respect to their potential environmental impact.  We cannot let this happen!! Chief among our roles as Canadian citizens is environmental stewardship. Further, it may be helpful to think of the economy as a fully owned subsidiary of the environment, as a writer at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has recently asserted.  If our Prime Minister is an unfit steward of the environment, as his endorsement of this bill indicates, it is incumbent on us as individual citizens to be extraordinarily active and accountable on behalf of our precious environment.Until the water (and all life that depends upon it) can speak for itself, I and other individual Canadians will endeavor to speak on its behalf. My heartfelt thanks go out to the Sierra Club and all environmental NGO's and activists. You are the true Canadians! Our politicians must stand up and take notice, and accept their own accountability to and for the precious natural world (often referred to as "resources") that make our very lives (not to mention our confederation) possible.Let's focus on conservation of resources rather than new resource development. Let's develop green energy. Let's spend the necessary federal and corporate money to clean up the environmental messes we've already made. In other words: Let's be responsible human beings and set a good example for our children.

 

Alexandra Gilbert:

The recent attacks on environmentalists are undemocratic. Canada is founded on democratic principles and undermining these affects the country as a whole. It's time to start acting like leaders. True leadership does not involve smearing others, but working with others to move Canada forward as a nation.

 

Frances Thauberger:

I don't understand the things that the government has said about our charitable organizations. Charitable organizations have nothing to gain financially by creating awareness about environmental issues. It is clear they are genuinely concerned about our welfare and the welfare of the environment.

 

Cheryl Huxted:

I’m appalled that the government is wasting my tax dollars [investigating] groups I support.  Those groups I choose because of what they stand for and because they speak on my behalf.  That is exactly why I support them.  And I will continue to support them even more so now as the government vilifies them.

 

Sara Steil:

Once again it appears the our federal government is going to use the budget to change Canada’s environmental laws and speed up approvals for “major economic projects” – including Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline and other industrial development. It appears that your government is unable to withstand the scrutiny of the majority of Canadians with these continuous under the table actions to make changes to different federal laws, changes that mostly only benefit large foreign corporations. This practice is not acceptable, and it is becoming more apparent that the Federal Conservative party are anti-All Canadians with consideration given to the privileged few in the resource exploitation sector. Thousands of Canadians have stood up against these changes and are saying the same thing: “We depend on the government to use environmental laws to protect the clean water, air and land we all need. Not to use these laws to speed up approvals for industrial projects that impacts the health and well-being of all Canadians”. These changes will likely result in less oversight of major projects that impact Canadians’ health and well-being. And that is a concern, not just for environmental groups that you continually take aim at insulting & trying to undermine, but people across the country – families and especially our children & grandchildren.From coast-to-coast, concerned Canadians including doctors, First Nations, hunters, scientists, and even former Conservative ministers, are all saying the same thing: It’s the role of the federal government to protect the environment we all depend on. It is not the role of government to use environmental laws to rush approvals and promote select industries at all costs. You can see the good work these laws do all around us such as the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act with Taseko Mines continually wanting to open the controversial Prosperity mine project, which will turn B.C.’s Fish Lake into a toxic pool, and with your wish to remove ‘fish habitat’ in the Fisheries Act, which in turn will contaminate the streams & rivers down to the marine waters with these toxins. Our Pacific (and Atlantic) mammals are already the most toxic in the world due to toxins in the finfish, & shellfish stocks – these toxins are also strongly present in the fish farm stocks as well.The Fisheries Act has stopped gravel extraction in the Fraser River, and rightly so, as this extraction destroys important salmon spawning beds required for the very survival of all salmon species (all wild finfish).But the laws that protect Canada’s environment do more than protect our trees and lakes and animals. They safeguard the health and security of Canadians by conserving the things we need to survive, including clean water, air and land. Consideration must be given to other economic benefits such as commercial, First Nations & sport fisheries to include finfish as well as shellfish, eco-tourism, First Nation culture, forestry and the list is long – do you think that mining and oil extraction with transport should override the future (into perpetuity) of all the other economic benefits as well as the health & well being of all Canadians? The Federal Conservative government keep stressing the need for creation of jobs while cutting jobs in the public sector on grand scales and increasing exports of raw materials, thus not creating long terms Canadian jobs but exporting these jobs to foreign countries. The environmental movement is grounded in one simple concept: If we take care of the planet, it will take care of us. Environment laws reinforce this ideal. They make all Canadians — citizens, government and industry — stewards of our environment, entrusting us to manage and sustain our natural resources. When this trust is violated, these laws hold offenders accountable.These laws uphold the tenets of democracy — equality and freedom — and acknowledge that the desires of a powerful few do not trump the collective interests (common good) of Canadians. These laws enshrine the public’s right be consulted and informed of decisions that will impact them, promoting the kind of public discourse that empowers democratic societies.The number one role of environmental laws is to make sure that as we develop as a country, we do it in a way that conserves the nature that all Canadians rely on. And not just for today, but for future generations too.That’s why environmental laws matter and why you should care about what happens today, tomorrow and in the decades to come. Before making these changes to the Acts stated above, please give careful consideration to the health & well being of all “Canadians” and for a “healthy”, sustainable Canada.  – not just the few who stand to profit from the resource extraction industry, and the many foreign (corporations) countries  who will make the most profit of all.

 

Oliver Drerup:

The Harper Government is deeply disappointing in addressing environmental issues

 

Phillipe Denis:

Gerald Caplan pretty much summed up my thoughts on this in his Globe and Mail article on May 26 titled “Harper is right: Foreign radicals are after the oil sands”. The things is, the radicals are not working for environmental organizations: […] “Then last month, the Vancouver Observer reported the Kochs Brothers were contributors to the Fraser Institute, a self-declared charity that some see as an unabashed political advocacy group for unregulated private enterprise and a zealous foe of environmental regulation. Its former chief executive, Michael Walker, confirmed to the Observer that the Koch brothers had contributed $500,000 to the Fraser Institute between 2007 and 2010 for undefined ‘international work.’ Since the Canadian Revenue Agency is busy hunting down non-profits who are abusing their charitable status, it will no doubt be interested in the $1.7-million the Fraser Institute received from ‘sources outside Canada,’ nearly 16 per cent of its funding.” It worries me sick to see that an elected government considers individuals and organizations fighting for the common good and well being of the population as a "threat to economic development". When did common good and economic development get so diametrically opposed anyway?! Isn't common good what economic growth is supposed to help us nurture?Why would protecting the air we breath and the water we drink come at the expense of our collective capacity to provide all Canadians with a decent, rewarding job?Maybe it's time to redefine what "growth" really means...Thank you for standing up for our environmental rights!

 

Sally:

I'm disgusted Canada is more interested in polluting the planet than being world leaders in environmental protection.  We've become a laughing stock around the world.  Our tar sands oil is the dirtiest oil on the planet and we aren't doing one dam thing to clean it up.  I'm equally disgusted our dictator Harper thinks this is HIS country to trash and sell to the highest bidder and will mow down anyone who gets in his way even if it requires lies and subterfuge.  I'm fed up with our slow slide into a police state where peaceful protestors are attacked by the police outfitted in military gear who themselves incite riots so they can illegally arrest.  And I'm disgusted that environmentalists are now terrorists and anyone against the online spy bill is a pornographer according to the dictator Harper.  Harper thinks he can change our basic freedoms as set down in our Charter of Rights to suit himself.  He must be stopped now!

 

Evan Pivinick:

I am writing this email in response to your request for Canadian responses to the current legislation under review in our government's subcommittees. I write as a 21 year old Canadian that is troubled by the future my government is telling me that I gave them the mandate to create. My two biggest concerns are as follows: 1. Within this budget there are measures that would see the dismantling of Canada's environmental laws, and the protections we have created to safeguard our future. The rhetoric around these laws is troubling because it attempts to instill a question: do you want the environment or do you want jobs? This is a corrupt propositions that has been put forth to Canadians. The most basic resource economics classes that are taught start with the understanding that the economy is located WITHIN an ecosystem. There is NO jobs without the environment. In fact the Canadian legacy has been primarily in the primary sector where we chop wood, mine, farm, produce oil and gas, etc. However we are rapidly coming to a turning point in history - one which will see drastic changes in the lifestyles of all Canadians. We will need to embrace the true notions of sustainability as defined by the Brundtland commission: "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs". This budget - and particularly the attack on our environmental laws - is not in tune with this principle. As a Canadian that will live with the consequences of these laws I am deeply concerned that the short term gain is being favoured in place of the long term good. Any banker or economist will tell you there are economic gains to be made if you take on more risk. However we need to have a national discussion about the risk you are asking Canadian to take on. This is the future that you have chosen to put on the table. My future. My kid's future. Canada's future. This is to big a risk - particularly with the changes that our country will have to make, if we are to prepare ourselves for a warmer climate and a different economic order. 2. My second concern with this bill is the process in which it has been brought forward to Canadians. Whether it is in attempting to change the conversation and make environmental NGO's the target of the most egregious smear campaign I have seen, or the debate limiting measures that have been taken to force this bill forward; this is not my democracy. You have filled Canadian with confusion and cynicism. You have made environmental groups who stand up for the air we breath and the water we drink defend themselves against titles such as "money launderers", and "foreign radicals". This is not leadership. This is cowardice. This is fear of your own convictions. If you want to introduce sweeping laws that change our society, don't do so as an erosion of the institutions that protect the fundamentals of human life.The hardest part of all of this for me is the wasted time. This is our chance to prepare for a world that is rapidly warming. This is the time to bring in a new vision of Canada.

Instead our environmental group's have to spend time justifying their activities.

Instead our environmental laws are rolled back in order to have short term and unsustainable economic gains. Instead YOU gamble with our future.There is no mandate for this. If you have to force it through, that is not mandate. If you have to hide it from Canadians that is not a mandate. If you have to hide behind the lies you tell Canadians about the people and groups who have protected our environment for generations, that is not a mandate. We want a plan for the future - not an attempt to hide from change. Please do better.

 

Madeleine Hart:

I'm not entirely sure where to begin in expressing my outrage over the current government's treatment of the environment, and those of us Canadians who actually care about our own impacts as citizens, as well as the government's.I'm flabbergasted to think that all supporters of Conservatives wouldn't care the least about environmental regulations and assessments. If it isn't true, I'd like to hear them step up and and say so. Otherwise they're all painted with the same narrow-minded, selfish, money grubbing colours. I think it's fair to say that environmental assessments and regulation allow for *discussion*. They allow experts on both sides at the table to consider compromises. When acid rain threatened Canada's lakes and streams, people opened their points of view, smart minds worked on the issue and came up with regulations and clean-up. *Action happened and it worked*. To outright dismiss people's concerns, and expert opinions that are different from their own is bull-headed, arrogant, but most importantly deadly: Walkerton. Sydney Tar Ponds. Westray Mine Disaster. North West Territories management… To say that I'm alarmed and disappointed at this government's systematic disregard for science, research, the environment, and Canada's vast tracks of natural heritage would be quite the understatement. Canadians are notoriously apathetic, and are known to whine about being overtaxed, and cling to their health care as if it's the only thing that makes Canada great. This current federal government knows this, and manipulates that apathy. To simply bark out that jobs are threatened by environmentalists oversimplifies the issues and allows those lazy Canadians to not have to think any further. The environment *is* our economy. It has been since the first explorers arrived here, before it was a nation. And ever since then it has been more or less managed like a hardware and lumber store for the rest of the world. Very few of our leaders throughout Canada's history have had any long-term future vision of a Canada beyond shipping & receiving. For a major bill to be bull dozed through parliament based only on the government's magpie cry of "deficit, deficit, deficit", while it cloaks more profound changes to the fundamental aspects of  Canada, is not only shameful, but extremely damaging. And it's the damage that the lazy Canadians need to know about. The Senate has no obligation but to the current government. Are all Conservatives people who lack integrity and empathy? Can any of them imagine being in the place of an everyday Canadian, or is the fear of being a commoner exactly what keeps them huddled against the glow of money at all costs?Because this is down to money. They see this only as keeping Canada open 24 hours, like a strip mall dollar mart. All levels of government are responsible for where we are. All Canadians - the voters and the lazy - are responsible. Where is the vision that sees this country as anything but a clear-cut, toxic dump?I care that the air and water are clean and the soil is non-toxic. Do Conservatives eat organic food? Do they dine in fancy restaurants but demand the unregulated meat and poultry because otherwise "those tree huggers" would win? Perhaps they're fine with poisoned water downstream so long as their pool is sparkling? Can they see hypocrisy in their actions? People and organizations who care about the environment are trying to protect it for everyone. Attacking them as if their beliefs are completely different is baffling, and warrants closer introspection. I think the biggest threat lurking within this enormous budget bill is the misconception by its makers that they've covered all scenarios; that they believe they have compromised and protected the environment sufficiently. They pat themselves on the back by looking at the bottom dollars, and because some staff members told them the trimmed environmental regulations will be fine; corporations nodded across a big non-recycled boardroom table and said, "Sure, we don't need regulations. We got this. We'll look after it all." Perhaps in some cases, it is better. But if it truly is, then why not open it all up to scrutiny and compromise? Why the rush? Why shirk from debate?What should you tell the Senate Committee? Tell them to put themselves in the place of every Canadian who may not be quite as privileged, ask them to think about their own integrity; tell them to imagine their children and grandchildren having a tall glass of tar sands water. Tell them to roll up their sleeves and think about solutions; tell them to tell the government to roll up their sleeves and think about solutions that don't include snarky, arrogant attacks on people with opposing opinions (especially while on the tax payer's dime).If they lack imagination, draw them a picture. Be the ghost of Christmas Future, and show them the Canada that might be. I could go on, but I doubt any of them would've made it past the beginning when they learn I care about the environment. We're just a tree to be chopped, afterall.

 

George Kilma:

Hon. Senators please consider your profound responsibility to Canadians, living and not yet born.  Take guidance from two eminent religious leaders: "Reflecting on the need to care for the planet and before the groans of nature, every person in their different realities is certain of the need to get involved and take concrete actions to care for the Creation." - The Most Revd. Mauricio Andrade, Primate Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil (IEAB), issued at Brasília-DF, Brazil, May 3rd, 2012."Similarly, our planet is our house, and we must keep it in order and take care of it if we are genuinely concerned about happiness for ourselves, our children, our friends, and other sentient beings who share this great house with us." - His Holiness the Dalai Lama, in "My Tibet", 1990, p 79. Thank you.

 

MJ Willard:

I wish I had been invited to testify on Bill C-38 before the Senate Committee meeting, before the bill even gets to the Senate and before the media arrives (although I am going to write them and ask them to set their alarm clocks for this one.  Why do I want to testify?  I’m a naturalist by training.  I have watched species of plants and animals movements react to global warming.  I first noticed this phenomenon in 1982.  I returned to Missouri from Alabama.  Plants were growing in the wild in Missouri in several areas where they had never been seen.  How do I know?  I conducted all sorts of nature tours in that part of Missouri and they were not there when I was working in 1968-1970.  Then I returned from Winnipeg for a year in 2004.  Instead of the most common road kill being Eastern Box Turtles, it was Armadillo, a species from Texas.  This wasn’t the odd animal, this was an Armadillo every 25-50 miles, everywhere in the southern and central Missouri.  Am I familiar with the plant species here?  Not as much but I am starting to see species I know from the USA here now.  Of course, animal droppings account for this but not for this many plants surviving.  And, look at the weather…it’s turbulent and vastly different.  When I immigrated to Winnipeg in 1982, there was more snow here than I had ever seen.  Snow “crunched” underfoot.  Not anymore or not as many days.  The Conservatives can say it doesn’t matter—“Just a temporary thing.”  I guess the Conservatives can follow the leader and believe everything Mr. Harper says is true but I’m a scientist.  And, the facts don’t lie.  I’m not much for ideology anyway, as a scientist, but I didn’t even know the reason for the shift northward of the species back in the 1980s.   I just made the observations.  Now, I know why.  This isn’t a blip.  This is  a trend.  And, maybe the Conservatives don’t care if their grandchildren have it rough, or don’t live long, but the rest of us care.  I can refute, with my own data, all the conclusions that Mr. Harper claims are so.  Am I one of those horrible foreign enterprises bringing loads of money into Canada to be spent in Canada?  Nope.  That’s the corporations who own the oil sands.  I’m a Canadian citizen, who immigrated here in 1982.  I am also a veterinarian (which is why I came to Winnipeg) and now I’m a physician, from the University of Manitoba Medical School.   Don’t believe me??….Google me.  I am also a past candidate for MP in 2008 and 2011, so I understand the workings of parliament, and what the Senators have organized is wrong.  So, you can tell me I don’t know what I’m talking about, but it is you, Senators (with my apologies to my long suffering Liberal Senator friends) that are not following procedure. 

 

Steph Braithwaite:

I have been a part of a handful of groups that have kept an eye on the gov't and have sent out reports. I hope you know people can see what you're doing. I hope you know people care about what you're doing. I hope you know people are getting offended by what you're doing. I hope you know I will be the first one to vote against you ing the up coming elections. If I could I would have you voted out right now. You have wasted enough people's time Conservatives. You need to leave.

 

Helen Porter:

I think this is a concerted government effort, to make the people slaves.It must be stopped. Thank you for all you do.

 

Real Reid:

If they are concerned about foreign money trying to influence Canada, they should start with Big Oil and the groups they finance, like the Fraser Institute

 

Carolyn Herbert:

I am ashamed that our Canadian Federal and Provincial governments have made such public displays of apology in the Truth and Reconcilliation events about the residential schools, and then turned around and discounted the First Nation protests about the harm done to their health, environment, safety and lifestyle when the extraction businesses move onto their territorial lands to get at the gas and oil and other mineral reserves.  This disrespect of not only the First Nations, but all the people who depend on clean water, healthy animals and fish to eat, and undamaged environments to live in (such as the wildlife which live in the reserves we have created for them) is shameful, and not in keeping with the honour with which Canada used to be regarded on the world stage. The Senate MUST examine the proposed bills after they have been passed on from the Commons, and rather than rubber-stamp them, they need to be sure that they will make good laws. The trust with which we citizens place on our parliamentarians is eroded by bad bills, and we will rise up and protest against anything which will destroy the legacy we have been given, over which we are the stewards, of this environmentally beautiful country.

 

Walter Swintak:

If the senate body is nothing more than an echo chamber than they definitely should be abolished. I believe the current system of politics (FPTP) is not very democratic but a four year term of dictatorship with only a 25% voter support. A good example of dictatorial behaviour is the current Conservative party under Harper. A proportional representation of political system I believe would be a better representation of the overall public or its citizens. Not likely would you have 400 plus page budget with all kinds of bills sneaked in to avoid debate. Why are they so afraid of debate? Fear of debate implies unpopular bills that serve only a few and not the well being of Canada, the citizens, or the future! An example is gutting the current environmental laws rather than making the environmental laws stronger. The reasoning seems to be that even the current weak environmental laws are bad for the economy. The sad part is good environmental practices would create good sustainable economics. Current system may create short term economics that look good but a failer in the long term. Currently the Conservative party seems to want to abolish scientists, environmental organizations and whoever it may be that brings to their attention the fallacious moves they are making!! How short sighted this current government is!!!

 

Frank Farrell:

My question to Senators: Why does the Senate -- a body of ethical, empathetic, enlightened citizens – support and enable a totally contemptuous Prime Minister in his quest to give corporations free rein in Canada, at the expense of citizens, the environment, democracy, and our future?

 

Jo Hayward Haines:

Is the tactic of this government to make draconian legislation no one of sound mind could support and then throw the growing body of dissenters into the prisons - privatized, no doubt - the government plans to build? That's one way to defeat opposition. But isn't this country supposed to be a democracy?  Or is that, too, a bad word unless used as a cover for tactics to give carte blanche to corporations whose thinking is confined to the bottom line. In the face of a growing human sense of responsibility to sound environmental stewardship, this government seems intent on countering that. Aren't you supposed to represent us?

 

Agnes Watts:

In my 70 years of citizenship I have never been so ashamed of a government as I am now. They are right to call me their enemy, because they are attempting to destroy my country and I am fighting this. Harper said  the people are indifferent, but we will prove him wrong. He is making  activists of us! It's not just about the economy now. It's about who we are and what our country stands for. The senate, un-elected as it may be, filled with patronage-appointed government lackeys as it may be, is still supposed to be the watchdog, sober second thought chamber of our fragile tenuous democracy. If there are any people of conscience left in that now hollow body, let them speak up now, before it is too late.

Maggie Hughes:

Dear Mr. Bennett, perhaps all of the members of Government that don't get climate change, or don't think Tar Oil is the worst resource (I hesitate to even call it that), should go down into the Battle Creek, Talmage Creek area in Michigan and talk to the people that are now sick. Or speak to their public school teachers who watched several students become violently ill - vomiting dark brown. Or speak to John Bolenbaugh who has posted several video's on youtube to show the damage the Tar Oil leak left behind. He worked for Enbridge till he was told to bury the Tar, was fired for saying no, and then took up a video camera to show us how Enbridge hides the Tar Oil they left behind. If they won't speak to those ordinary people that paid for a spill, they have no business making any decisions. They should talk to any hunter in Lake Athabasca area that can no longer rely on hunting for food, because the animals they have hunted revealed green organs. Or fish in Athabasca River, due to malformations in the fish. I have two pictures of fish with two jaws.... Since Harper is reducing the Environmental protections to land and water, each Canadian citizen must personally take up the watch. This is complete pandering to Enbridge Oil.

Ann Fox:

Harper & his Conservative cronies are slowly bring Canada to her knees. Harper is nothing short of a dictator. Cutting funds to the CBC  raised a huge red flag for me. It is sickening that David Suzuki has to step down from his own organization. The Conservatives are busy giving away all of Canada’s natural resources,  at the expense of the environment! Bruce Stanton & Harper support horse slaughter & clubbing seals. Stanton’s emails are full of rhetoric & lies...lacking compassion & full of miss-information.

 

John Flys:

I recently viewed a movie which depicted the tactics utilized by Hitler & his henchmen through the 1920s & 1930s to eventually take control of the government of Germany. The German elite & corporations of the time quietly in the back ground financing it all. It was eerily much like the activities of the current Reform Conservatives  in power in Ottawa & the support it is receiving from Bay Street. What Canada  has become is a 1930s Germany dictatorship.

 

Ian Fraser:

This effort by the Conservative Government to prevent the people of Canada from speaking out about the Governments reprehensible and sneaky effort to grease the skids for China's unhinderd and unlimited  grab of our natural resources brings back memories of the way the Nazis controlled the people of Germany during the second world war.

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