May 10, 2012 Member of Parliament Jay Aspin
House of Commons
K1A 0A6 Dear Mr. Aspin; I am deeply concerned about the approach the Conservative government is taking with regards to Bill C-38. I take pride in Canada and our democratic institutions. I guess I took for granted that this included the activities within the House of Commons. The fact that the Conservatives have a majority government does not mean you have license to suspend the democratic process and ram through a 400-plus page omnibus bill. Bill C-38 has even been craftily titled, "An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 29, 2012 and other measures." The "other measures" include a great deal of legislation that I care deeply about and that should pass through the committee process on a subject by subject basis - as the legislative body is supposed to consider any such proposals. There must be debate on the merits of the various proposals. As the Winnipeg Free Press succinctly wrote today, "the Commons committees were created specifically to fulfill the House's responsibility to subject legislation, and the fuller agenda of the government, to good examination. These committees call experts in the specific field to elaborate on implications of bills, an important element to public engagement and awareness. A finance sub-committee cannot do that, nor can the full committee give all the pieces of Bill C-38 due consideration." The fact that the Conservative government feels that it can ignore due process and simply table a bill with such sweeping ramifications for Canadian society, the environment, and the economy is deeply distressing and unacceptable. Canadians will not stand for such nonsense, and I urge you to discuss this matter with the Prime Minister. Sincerely, Dr. Neil Lawrence
|Well, I'm a little late doing my research on this newest omnibus bill, but
I thought I'd best ring some alarm bells in case any of you find it as disturbing
as I do. Stephen Harper's majority government has introduced a so-called
Budget Bill (Bill c-38 - "An Act to implement certain provisions of
the budget tabled in Parliament on March 29, 2012 and other measures").
Unfortunately, the "other measures" includes 400 pages of this
and that, including a re-writing of the Environmental Assessment Act, abolishing
6 other acts, and making changes to all sorts of random, unrelated legislation.
By introducing the hodge-podge bill with the budget, Bill C-38 prevents
any democratic debate (in the committee stage) of over 400 pages of legislation.
It's definitely not a good thing for any of us.
"The environmental chapters are the most extraordinary. Along with the new Act, they give cabinet broader power to override decisions of the National Energy Board, shorten the list of protected species, and abolish the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act — among “other measures.” For much of this the first public notice was its inclusion in the bill." -- from the National Post article below
Raise a fuss on Facebook, on email, or better, send a few letters to your MP, the Prime Minister's office, and your local paper.
Time to earn our Active Citizen Badges! Copy and paste this letter, amend it as you like, and swap in your MP's name, then get it in the mail or fax!
A list of MPs and contact info is here.
September 9, 2005
The commodification of water is an alarming threat to human health and world peace. The world's fresh water supplies are nearing a critical level, having been used and abused for industrial processes, waste disposal, agriculture, personal consumption, and increasingly, commercial use.
It is easy as a Canadian to believe that our fresh water resources are limitless. The corporate players know differently. Fortune magazine, in May 2000, stated: "Water promises to be to the 21st century what oil was to the 20th century: the precious commodity that determines the wealth of nations."
Water scarcity is becoming a reality, and commodification of this necessity is becoming a very frightening possibility. This could lead to water services being withheld from those people unable to afford this "commodity", resulting in disease and violent retaliation. This was the exact scenario that transpired in Bolivia after Bechtel took control of water services in that country in 2000.
As Tony Clarke noted in his August 25, 2005 Toronto Star article, bottled water is a big industry, being consumed by about 1/5 of North Americans. This despite the fact that municipal water is extensively treated to ensure it is potable and conveniently delivered to our homes.
I would challenge the government to ensure Canadians don't feel compelled to purchase bottled water by continuing to provide communities with safe tap water. The government must continue to pursue the spirit of the Ontario Water Resources Act. This must include further limitations on the number of bottled water operators and the volume of water extraction permitted.
Personal water consumption is only responsible for approximately 8% of consumption while industry accounts for 65% (UNESCO, 2003). I would urge your government to work with industry to reduce water consumption and increase water efficiency while cracking down on illegal industrial discharge into our waterways.
I look forward to your response on these most pressing matters.
May 15, 2005
Dear MPP or MP;
The spirit of debate is the evolution of truth. It is the movement away from one- sided, incomplete understanding of an issue towards a multi-faceted, increasingly complex and complete picture of the issue. Debate is that age-old craft celebrated in the works of Socrates and practiced in every civilization that has ever existed. Its goal is simple - to hammer out the truth or decide on the best course of action. This is achieved by hearing opposing viewpoints, discarding some, accepting others, synthesizing new views based on this improved understanding, and continuing this cycle until a consensus is reached or for as long as the participants in the debate care to return to it. There are several common-sense criteria that should be met to ensure effective debate.
Firstly, the participants should be easily understood by each other, that is, they should all speak the same language (or have translators available) and ensure that any unusual terms they use are clearly defined. Each speaker should be easily heard by the other participants and should speak succinctly and to the point to allow the greatest number of differing ideas to be presented in the time available.
Secondly, all participants should actively listen to what is being said. By showing attentiveness, the listeners provide the speaker with a supportive environment in which the speaker can best elucidate their point. Actively listening also ensures that all present are made aware of this new viewpoint and prevents repetition of the same point. Avoiding repetition will help keep time devoted to debate as short as need be and minimize participant fatigue or frustration.
Ideally debate participants will have some time to process new ideas or information. Each person can, as they see fit, incorporate these ideas into their view on the subject or dismiss these ideas as unimportant to their understanding. For some people, the time needed to process new information or ideas may be a few seconds or a few days. In general, a debate will be most effective if breaks are called, when necessary, to allow for reflection on the ideas presented or further research.
The most obvious factor that will affect the success or failure of a debate is participant attentiveness and wakefulness. All previous criteria hinge on the fact that each person engaged in debate is actively and intelligently engaged in the debate. This is impossible if people are tired, uncomfortable, or distracted. As mentioned earlier, breaks should be taken when necessary and every effort should be made to conduct the debate in a concise and efficient manner. An effective facilitator is paramount in this regard.
I would like to remind you, as my representative in Queen's Park (or the House of Commons) to engage in the spirit of debate and serve the people of Canada as best you can. The conduct of many parliamentarians in Queen's Park and the House of Commons is, quite frankly, both useless, by derailing any meaningful debate, and disgusting, as men and women throw insults across the floor like it was a school yard. I hope to see some improvements in the quality of debate in future television and radio broadcasts of parliament.
Kyoto Legislation should be passed, not hindered, by the Opposition Parties
March 23, 2005
Dear Mr. Harper;
I am writing to inform you that Canadians do indeed support the Kyoto protocol. I understand that there are Kyoto-related provisions included in the Budget Bill to be introduced on Thursday, March 24th. You would be doing Canadians a great disservice if your party decides to prevent this legislation passing, as hinted at in statements by Mr. Harper and Mr. Bob Mills today.
I encourage you to recall last summer when Environment Canada issued a record number of smog alerts. I encourage you to recall the first smog alert of 2005, issued on February 4th, the earliest smog alert to date! I encourage you to read the statement on climate change (http://www.ucsusa.org/) signed by over 1000 scientists in 2003, stating that scientific evidence is unequivocal and that global warming is a reality. Canadians are overdue for solid legislative changes that will implement the Kyoto protocol in order to protect the environment and our health.
Please support Kyoto-related legislation, regardless of how it makes its way into the Legislature, as I believe it is indeed in the public interest to minimize global warming as soon as possible.
cc: Mr. Bob Mills, Environment Critic
This is happening NOW, so please send a fax. You can send a fax with a quick little modification to the email address, which I've done for you...Just copy and paste these 3 email addresses (email@example.com) into your regular email program - use the cc: if you want.
Then copy and paste this letter into the message section, sign your name
and address to the bottom, and send it to the powers that be. Or click on the names below to email 'em.
Stephen Harper, Leader, Conservative Party
Here is some background info:
A letter to the Minister of Defence re: Canada's participation in the Missile Defence Shield
October 24, 2004
Hon. Bill Graham
Dear Honourable Minister Graham;
I was extremely happy to see that the issue of Canada's participation in the North American Missile Defence System will be debated in the House of Commons. I trust that your ministry will weigh carefully the results of the debate and letters such as these.
I am unconvinced of the technology involved in such a scheme. In an article written in the Scientific American, credible scientists viewed the certainty of shooting down an incoming missile with scepticism. With this in mind, I wonder how the government could possibly justify placing such an extraordinary expense on the Canadian taxpayer based on questionably inconsistent technology. The priorities of Canadians would see our taxes pay for improved health care, greater income stability for farmers, and protection of the environment rather than funnelling this money into defence spending.
I am worried about the following remarks you made, "My view is, on continental defence matters, we should be really accommodating of the Americans and work with them as closely as we possibly can." America's foreign relations policies are not representative of the policies most Canadians would support. It is the consequences of these policies that is pushing the American government to increase "Homeland Security" at the expense of all other issues. I would urge the Canadian government to prioritize diplomatic issues like trade issues and water rights over Missile Shields when determining our relationship with the United States. On the foreign stage, I would urge our government to choose the role of peace maker and peace keeper over the aggressive policies of the Americans.
I am apprehensive about how the world will view Canada as it diverts money into an extravagant Missile Shield. It seems odd that the government would consider such a military expense when it seems unable to adequately support its traditional role in UN Peace Keeping missions. If the world continues to see our nation nobly supporting peace and equality in the world I do not believe that we will become targets for terrorists or rogue nations.
I came across a quote recently that helped me put things in perspective and it goes like this, "It will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need and the air force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber" - Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. How easily we could substitute "bomber" with "Missile Shield."
I look forward to your reply and insightful comments on this issue.
Thanks to Vince for writing the majority of this letter!
I would suggest cutting the text at left and pasting it into a word processor. (Hold down the left mouse button and drag from top to bottom to highlight the text. Right click over the selected text and choose copy. Right click in the word processor window and paste) Make any changes you see fit, type in your address, then print it out and send it to the address below. Remember, no stamp required. Email and fax number are also provided.
Hon. Bill Graham
Here's a link to other Ministries and their contact info should you want to send this to others:
Or for any other MP's sitting in the Legislature, click here.