They didn't even hide itThe Conservatives have decided to take on Canada's charitable sector, primarily the Environment groups, accusing them of being too political and un-canadian. This is not the first time either, in the past they have gone after women's organizations, religious groups working in Palestine, and HIV/AIDS groups.
In every case they have cut funding, eliminated programs, and attacked the groups integrity. This Time however they have decided to use more muscle. The recently released budget will increase scrutiny of charitable organizations in a blatant attempt to harass the most effective environmental groups. These groups perform several charitable missions, primarily to educate and inform Canadians and governments of the need to protect our environment and the harm industry and development can and or has on our environment.
The tipping point for the Harper Conservative government was the extremely effective job these groups were doing - to the detriment of the Northern Gateway oil sands pipeline, which must travel across BC. As Canadians hear more about the project, the more they become concerned about the potential environmental, social and economic costs.These concerns are just now being heard by everyday Canadians. The government has been focused solely on building the pipeline, no matter what the costs are. This shouldn't surprise us as the Harper Government has made selling our commodities a high priority, especially oil and gas. The government rarely meets with groups concerned about the development of the oil sands, instead they spend their efforts finding ways to assist in their rapid development. The budget lays out a multi-pronged effort to limit, hinder or render useless any resources that could stand in the way of developing our raw resources. They announced they would be cutting the Ministry of Environment, reduced the time and number of environmental reviews, cuts to the department of Fisheries and Oceans, (this is needed to ensure tanker traffic on BC's rugged coast will face less scrutiny and fish farms won't have the feds go after them), and the Department of Natural Resources.Remove governments ability to review and you are more likely to have fewer problems come up when reviews of projects occur. The only people fighting your efforts will be those discredited political environment radicals.There is however one group the feds cannot muzzle and that is the first nations. The Northern Gateway pipeline must cross tens of different first nations territories. To do this the Harper Government is going of have consult meaningfully and address the concerns raised by first nations. "This incredibly stupid move on the part of the Harper government will only serve to expedite the battle in the courtrooms and on the land itself," said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs told Canadian Press. He described the situation between B.C. aboriginals and the federal and provincial governments as "volatile."This "pipeline is going to traverse the territories of literally dozens and dozens of First Nations. And all of them have said very clearly that they do not support the Northern Gateway project and that they will do everything that they can to stop this project," added Phillip.“The over-arching theme here is this is a budget for the great pipeline to China,” Megan Leslie said. “This is about pipelines, pipelines, pipelines, and at any cost.” Leslie is the NDP critic for the Environment.“Whether it is going after charities, who might have a different opinion, cutting the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy and cutting Environment Canada and not relying on science and evidence, or whether it’s going after the Environmental Assessment Act and weakening it, that’s what this budget says to me, it’s all about pipelines,” Ms. Leslie said.
The big thing in the budget, its not what you thought...