On June 19th of this year, our federal Parliament passed Bill C-38, or what has become known as “the omnibus budget”.
I’m not sure about you, but when that happened, I felt like all the air went out of the room.
This ‘budget’ of over 400 pages was devastating both in its scope and in the minimal due process followed in its creation. Changes to environmental protection laws that once involved consultation with communities, scientists and thought leaders, were instead made by politicians with little regard for ecology and what is necessary to create and protect healthy land and water.
It’s been a few weeks since that horrible day, and in that time, I’ve had the chance to speak to a lot of people. Consistently I’ve been met with two strong reactions: anger at a government that has abandoned its role as environmental protector and despair at a perceived feeling that we have no ability to influence what our country looks like.
I understand that feeling. The actions of this government have left many of us wondering when they stopped being our representatives and started representing the oil and gas industry. Something is seriously wrong here.
But regardless of how dark it might feel, the truth is we still have the ability to ensure that the values that so many of us hold dear are not lost due to the action – or inaction – of our government. Decisions in Ottawa will have an impact our our communities here in BC, and in the end, we have the final say in how we want our communities to be. Now is the time to let our elected officials know just that.
Summer may seem like the wrong time to be giving voice to our collective anger, but when it comes to the accountability of our Members of Parliament, there is no better time. During the next few months, your federal representative will be back in your riding, on the so-called “BBQ circuit”, and as a Canadian, it is your right to speak to your MP, and ask him or her to explain their actions. Not sure what to say? Our colleagues at West Coast Environmental Law have offered a guide, through their “Six questions to ask your MP about Bill C38”.
In the coming months, find out where your MP will be (if you don’t know who your MP is, click here) and go to their website to see where you can find them out and about. Take a moment to let them know of your concerns – eye to eye – and have no doubt that if enough of us do that, the message will be heard. This keeps being said, but we cannot be silent – because if we are silent, we are supporting those who wish to change our country in ways we have only begun to see.
And remember these words by Tim DeChristoper:
“We think we have no power, but we have more than enough power. Right now we have a big enough movement to win this battle; we just need to start acting like it.’