Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to Bill C-38. I am very sad, because this bill is the worst of all bills of this House, for two reasons.If there's anything to take hope from, it's the fact that this woman sits in the House of Commons, elected by Canadians.
First, because the government has chosen to introduce fundamental changes to many laws that affect the environmental, social and economic life of Canada, without consultation and in a way that is illegitimate and scandalous. This process is unacceptable and against true democracy.
Second, beyond the process that is so offensive, this bill that purports to be a budget bill is, in substance, something quite different. The substance of the changes is equally alarming.
Laws this bad take some explanation. As I have sat through the truncated debate on this process at second reading, what we have had are presentations from the government side, the Conservative MPs, basically providing lists of things they like in the legislation, and from the opposition benches, lists of things we do not like in this legislation.
I think that leaves out a big piece of the puzzle. We have also been confusing measures that are actually budget measures that are not in Bill C-38, things like fighting the deficit, and things we do not like, like killing the Centre for Plant Health in my own riding which is necessary to protect the health of the economy, particularly in the grape-growing regions and wineries, and killing jobs in national parks, again in my riding of Saanich—Gulf Islands, the Gulf Islands National Park jobs in ecological work.
However, again, these are not in Bill C-38. The debate has been combatting lists. We like this; we hate this. I want to step back and try to understand what is going on here. Why do we have this enormous package of measures, most of the substantial changes being those that unravel environmental law in this country?
I have been involved in the development of most of the laws that we now see being unravelled, particularly the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, the National Round Table Act, and what I see behind all this is a shift in mindset. [More here.]
elizabeth may: bill c-38: the environmental destruction act
Elizabeth May, House of Commons, May 11, 2012: