Liberal Senators Vote against Amendments to Weaken Environmental Protection Laws

The 2010 budget implementation bill, the Jobs and Economic Growth Act (Bill C-9), proposes changes that would gut Canada’s environmental protection laws. If passed, Bill C-9 would significantly weaken the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) in various ways – one of which allows projects to be exempted from environmental assessments!

After months of concern and efforts to remove these changes from the bill, yesterday, some Liberal and independent senators in the senate finance committee voted to remove some of the sections included in the budget. It was agreed amongst them that these sections did not belong in the bill because they are not related to implementing the 2010 budget. Besides weakening the CEAA, other sections proposed for removal dealt with Canada Post, Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. and how financial services are taxed.

The bill has now been passed onto the full senate for a vote that will likely take place on either Monday or Tuesday. It is likely that the Conservative senators will vote to have the removed sections re-installed. And although Liberal and independent senators outnumber the Conservatives, it seems as though they haven’t been able to get enough senators to stop the bill from being passed.

Still, these senators have given us some hope that Bill C-9 will do what it is meant to – which does not include weakening Canada’s environmental protection laws. We hope that all senators will attend this vote and consider the true impacts of their decisions on our wildlife, our natural legacy and our country.