It was that last decision that ended my hard-won equanimity, as I read an analysis of the Harper budget omnibus bill. Although I was previously aware of many of the bill's major contents, the stealthy scope of this grossly undemocratic legislation, and the palpable contempt for the Canadian people implicit in it was, to say the least, unsettling. Indeed, after I read the article, relaxing amidst the sylvan setting of my backyard while Rome burns seemed a bit of a guilty indulgence.
The following aspects of the bill were highlighted in the article:
• Cuts 19,200 government jobs amid $5.2 billion in spending reductions.
• Eliminates a wide range of agencies and organizations, from social policy-oriented agencies like the National Council of Welfare and National Aboriginal Health Organization to the watchdog responsible for monitoring the activities of Canada’s spy agency, CSIS.
• Sweeping changes to immigration law that will allow the government to delete the applications of some 280,000 people who asked to come here as federal skilled workers before 2008. Application fees will be returned. The legislation also refocuses immigration policy on economic needs with measures intended to attract younger, better-qualified workers to directly meet labour market demands.
• Changes the Temporary Foreign Worker Program so that foreign employees can be paid up to 15 per cent less than the prevailing local wage under certain circumstances.
• Alters the administration of parks, meaning shorter seasons and fewer services at parks and historic sites.
• Cuts spending on culture, foreign aid and future health-care transfers to the provinces.
Like the cowards that they are, the Harper regime has refused all opposition demands for a legislative breakdown of the omnibus bill that would allow full and public debate on each of its elements.
Like all evil that thrives, the Conservatives know that it is only through the shroud of secrecy and darkness that their vile efforts to reshape Canada can succeed.
And like the true betrayers of democracy's ideals that they are, Harper Inc. is doing everything within its power to keep the people who will be most affected by this reshaping, i.e., the majority of Canadians, as ignorant of its plans as possible.
If you want to know more, including some of the details of the bill's scrapping of environmental regulations that has prompted Greenpeace Canada spokesperson Keith Stewart to describe it as an attack on nature and democracy. It’s being done, basically, on behalf of the big oil companies, I hope you will check out the article.