Nearly 100 protesters gathered Saturday in Nanaimo to voice their opposition to the federal Conservatives’ omnibus budget legislation, Bill C-38.
The crowd assembled outside Nanaimo-Alberni Conservative MP James Lunney’s office.
The protest was attended by residents and members of the Mid-Island Chapter of the Council of Canadians and was part of a campaign by LeadNow, an independent advocacy organization which aims to bring Canadians together to create progress through democracy.
Ashta Cormier, who was among those assembled, said the only reason the bill would be accepted by Canadians will be that many don’t know what is in the legislation.
“So many things are wrong with that bill. The issues are grouped and there is not enough time to deliberate anything,” she said. “The government is pushing it through no matter what and it’s not fair – it’s not democratic. The debates are shutdown. There is no debate anymore. It’s undemocratic fundamentally,”
Ann Ericksson travelled from Thetis Island near Chemainus to attend.
She is upset with the enormity of the bill and specifically environmental cuts, which Ericksson says will create problems overseeing environmental issues, adding there needs to be more transparency and accountability.
She said top marine toxicologists are being fired and environmental protections are at risk.
“There will be nobody to monitor marine pollution,” Ericksson said. “How do you make appropriate decisions if you don’t have scientists? It’s very short-sighted.”
Suzanne Sarioglu also came from Thetis Island and said the government is making decisions based on the economy, not good governance.
“This government is really a government that is sponsoring profits and big business and not its people,” she said.
Opponents of Bill C-38 say it will gut a long list of Canadian laws and protections, including environmental and fisheries regulations, immigration rules and will make changes to old age security and employment insurance, which will be detrimental to Canadian society.
For more information on Bill C-38, please go to www.parl.gc.ca and click on the bills before parliament link.