Green Party Leader Elizabeth May and Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands today stated that Stephen Harper has been blatantly inconsistent in his attitude relating to the content and purpose of Budget Implementation Acts.
“While Leader of the Opposition in 2005, Stephen Harper held some clear principles about what was acceptable and what was not when introducing a budget bill,” said May. “He has reversed these entirely in his 421-page Bill C-38, which he is using as a policy black hole.”
In the spring of 2005, both Harper and NDP leader Jack Layton threatened to bring down Paul Martin’s Liberal government because Environment Minister Stephane Dion wanted to make one amendment to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act – in order to clarify the government’s power to regulate greenhouse gases.
Harper was clear in his opposition to using the Budget Implementation Act to change laws.
“This is an attempt by the government to get unlimited power to impose multi-million-dollar fines on any basis, without any parliamentary approval or discussion, whatsoever. It is completely unacceptable,” Harper stated in the House of Commons.
He then went on to clarify: “This is a back-door way … a dangerous way of proceeding, and it will certainly not have the support of this party.”
“At one time in his political career, Harper understood that changes in law and policy, especially relating to the environment, did not belong in the Budget Implementation Act. One crucial reason is that the Act will be analyzed by the Finance Committee, which does not have the expertise to examine non-finance issues.
“In light of his former stand, Harper’s burying of the destruction of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the Kyoto Implementation Act, the gutting of the Fisheries Act, along with the undermining of the Species at Risk Act and more in Bill C-38 is all the more shameless,” said May.