Last Saturday more than 200 concerned Coasters rallied out front of Conservative member of Parliament John Weston’s constituency office in Sechelt. The reason — to send a strong message that they do not agree with Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s anti-democratic 450-page omnibus budget Bill C-38.
The bill seeks to change more than 70 laws. Instead of breaking out the material and having wide sweeping and proper debate amongst the public and the political parties, if this bill is approved, everything will be rolled into one. This is far more than just passing a budget bill. This bill makes changes to the economy, to arts and culture and environmental protections, just to name a few — all things that should be debated at length in a fair, democratic fashion.
We’ve tried to look at some of the bill ourselves and the document is daunting. How is anyone, let alone our politicians, able to digest a 450-page document and then have enough knowledge and background to vote on it in Parliament? The fact is that no one has that capacity and this idea is doomed to fail.
The bill has drawn criticism from across the political spectrum. Even former Conservative cabinet ministers and members of Harper’s current caucus can’t believe this bill is on the table.
Many believe that if this bill passes unchanged, it will put a black mark on Canadian democracy and will forever stain our political system — and we could not agree more.
All it’s going to take is for 13 Conservative MPs who can work together to stop this budget bill, split it apart in a proper fashion and start meaningful debate among Canadians to craft the laws that will work for the betterment of all.
That doesn’t seem like too much to ask.
This week, following the rally in Sechelt, which was one of 75 held across the country and was possibly the largest rally held, our newsroom has been flooded with emails copied to Weston urging him to stand up and be one of those 13 MPs to defeat this bill and ensure that the budget and everything it contains is approved and passed in a proper fashion.
Weston was not in his office last Saturday as he was elsewhere in the riding launching the National Health and Fitness Day initiative and a new private member’s bill, which he plans to bring to Ottawa in the fall. We take no issue with Weston for not being on hand, and we support his fitness initiative, but we do think he has the opportunity to do something remarkable for the constituents in not only this riding, but for all of Canada.
Take a stand, sir, and do what is right. Defend the interests of those who gave you the privilege to represent us in Ottawa.