EDITORIAL: Budget sneaks in major cuts

If recent news is any indication, many Canadians are not happy with their federal government.

Recent stories in this paper include today’s coverage of a weekend protest at Conservative MP James Lunney’s office over Bill C-38, the omnibus budget legislation introduced in March.

Similar protests were staged across the country, while campaigns against the bill are mounting through letter-writing and other forms of pressure on the government, such as wearing green on Canada Day, instead of the traditional proud red of the Maple Leaf.

The outcry arises from the fact the budget bill contains far more than the financial facts and figures officially presented by the Tories earlier this spring.

Instead, the more people delve into the budget, the more they realize it’s an attempt to quietly gut many programs and services provided by the government.

The budget quietly (sneakily, many argue, since they’re buried in a 400-plus page tome) makes changes to more than 70 laws with massive implications.

Other recent stories we’ve covered outline cutbacks with severe implications for immigration services, community archives and environmental protection. Other affected sectors include employment insurance and Old Age Security, and health care.

For some sectors, such as immigration, the cuts will result in added pressure on programs and services provided by the non-profit sector.

Ironically, the budget also includes $8 million to fund Canada Revenue Agency audits of charities, considered by some as a move to silence advocacy and free speech on key environmental issues.

The Conservatives can use their majority to ram everything through.

And by packaging it all in an omnibus bill, to defeat one portion means to defeat everything. Some argue that’s exactly what is needed.

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