The omnibus Bill C-45 passed last December rushes 457 pages of controversial legislation through Parliament in the name of government efficiency. While the massive document reconciles domestic law with international norms, it also drastically reduces environmental protections and changes to the Indian Act.
Canadian natural resources and public spaces are threatened — as these new laws deregulate infrastructure development on native lands, lakes and rivers will no longer have any sort of federal protection.
The government’s priorities have been consistent — creating domestic markets conducive to corporate interests. But what are the social costs of C-45, which drew incessant but unheeded opposition criticism during its brief stay in Parliament?
Of course some elements are harmless updates that bring federal law in line with international treaties. On the other hand, the most controversial provisions remove a slew of environmental protections. Some even claim that this directly violates the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The utter failure of this government to uphold international standards of environmental legislation is blatantly clear. To not move forward on combating environmental degradation is one thing, but to actually take a step backwards, as this law does, is ludicrous.
It’s heartening to see the Idle No More movement brewing, as it has been since November, over this legislation and other egregious breaches of native treaties by the federal government as well as the environmental violations.
This bill infringes on what for centuries has remained a defining facet of Canadian identity — our waterways and natural resources are an undeniable source of pride and should be defended.
Canadians who value the integrity of our land, Aboriginal rights, and parliamentary deliberation should rally. This government has breached the trust and mandate of us all, and we should voice our displeasure.
Tristan is the Production Manager at the Journal.
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