Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Act today to stop the Environmental Destruction Bill C-38

Urgent for all Canadians! There is still time to contact your MP and tell them to vote against Bill C-38, being voted on today through June 15th. This is a bill that will fundamentally alter many of our environmental laws and commitments in Canada, including those involving seeds.

Read on to learn more about this bill and see how you can have your voice heard and make a difference. You can call and email your MP today (they're voting on this as we speak-more info here) and tell them to vote against this bill. Here is info on finding and contacting your MP. I called my MP in Ottawa today and emailed him. If just 13 conservative MPs vote against this bill, it will not go through. If our MPs are deluged with calls today and tomorrow, they will take notice. You can also sign a petition or take action in other ways here. Use your voice to make a difference today!

One of the fundamental aspects of life is that seeds from plants continue to propagate and nourish us year after year. This is a photo of Daniel this week. He's holding an ear of organic corn that we saved and dried from last year so that we could plant it now in our garden.

The boys were amazed that they could take kernels from an ear of corn and plant them directly in the garden. They remembered planting the original organic corn last year, watching it grow and harvesting it, so they have a real connection to this corn, and to the whole process.

We can no longer take it for granted that we'll always be able to keep seeds from year to year and grow them with our children. More and more farmers are being targeted for unknowingly having genetically modified (GM) seeds from Monsanto in their gardens, seeds that mixed with their own through natural processes such as travel by wind and animals from farms where GM seeds were used. These seeds are patented by Monsanto and farmers are not allowed to re-seed their land with these seeds. See more about this issue on the Canadian Organic Growers page, where they discuss their ongoing battle against Monsanto.

Today, June 13th, our Canadian MPs are in Ottawa voting on Bill C-38. Among the many disturbing proposed changes to our environmental laws, this bill will change the Canada Seeds Act.This is being revamped so the job of inspecting seed crops is transferred from Canadian Food Inspection Agency inspectors to “authorized service providers", the private sector. This will essentially mean that the private sector that produces GM seeds will now be monitoring itself, instead of under the scrutiny of our government.

The misnamed Budget Implementation Act, Bill C-38, brings in sweeping changes to Canada's environmental laws. Fully 30% of the 420 page bill is actually not about the budget at all.

Instead, it attacks environmental legislation, repealing the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and introducing an entirely new approach to environmental assessment. It also re-writes the Fisheries Act, the Species at Risk Act, and the Navigable Waters Protection Act. It also repeals the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act, and cancels outright the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy.

This will forever change Canada's natural environment with devastating effects on our future, and that of our children. Find our more information on Bill C-38 here.

The Top 5 Reasons why C-38 will devastate Canada’s environment

  1. It repeals the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and introduces a weaker version, without a single day of hearings before the environment committee.
  2. It removes protection of endangered species and their habitat, when approving pipeline projects, by amending the Species at Risk Act and the Navigable Waters Protection Act.
  3. It guts the Fisheries Act by removing provisions for habitat protection.
  4. It repeals the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act.
  5. It eliminates the National Round Table on Environment and Economy.

This revealing article from The Globe and Mail gives insight into the devastation that is already being visited upon Native communities in Canada because of unrestrained practises in the oil industry.

Elizabeth May's website gives more info on the process that will be taking place over the next few days. Here is an excerpt:

Q: What happens now?
A: Final debate on Bill C-38 should start on June 12th and last three days, until June 15th. During that time, the Speaker of the House of Commons should rule on Elizabeth May’s Point of Order (, asking him to throw out Bill C-38 on grounds that it is not a true omnibus bill and is ‘imperfect’.
If the Speaker rules against Elizabeth May, voting on all opposition amendments should start late Wednesday.

Q: How many votes will there be?
A: There are over 870 amendments to Bill C-38 before Parliament. Thus, at most, there will be about 870 votes. However, the Speaker has the power to group amendments that appear to be similar in nature. For example, he could lump all of the ‘deletions’ together, which could reduce the number of votes to around 300.

Q: How long should voting take?
A: Assuming it takes about 15 minutes for each vote to be cast, and if there are 300 amendments, it will take just over three days for voting to be completed. If there are 870 votes, even if each vote took only 10 minutes each, it would last six days!

Q: Six days of voting? Couldn’t MPs just sit in the House of Commons later to speed this up?
A: Once voting starts, it continues 24/7 until it is done, including weekends and holidays. Unless MPs give unanimous consent to a motion that somehow ends the process early, the vote will continue until completed.

Q: Sitting at their seat for three to six days? Don’t they have to eat? Sleep? Shower? Go to the washroom?!?!
A: Yes they do, and MPs can skip a vote, or multiple votes, to do exactly that. However, with a majority of only a dozen MPs, if thirteen Conservative MPs missed a vote and ALL opposition parties were present, it’s possible that an amendment can pass.

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