Feature Story                                                                                                              Tuesday June 5, 2012


Harper Government Under Fire

'Blackmark Budget' draws ire of Bill C-38 protestors across the country

Staff/Voice photos


Organizer Wendy Major (blue sign) and Stó:lō elder Eddie Gardiner were among the supporters taking part in a rally outside MP Mark Strahl's office against the federal government's Bill C-38 on Saturday.


handful of determined people were at MP Strahl's office Saturday to protest the Conservative government's Bill C-38, an omnibus bill which contains measures that activists say have no place in a budget bill.


Their numbers weren't many but the message was clear; do away with the contentious Bill C-38 omnibus bill. According to the activists, the Harper government is trying to hide the bill with it's 753 amendments (clauses) from public hearings.


Among the changes Bill C-38 proposes are; forcing Canadians to work longer, cuts to health transfers, cuts to EI, cuts to food inspectors, sweeping immigration changes and an attack on charities. The government has also whittled away at the powers of the Auditor General, so future budget accountability will be thrown into question.


Stó:lō elder Eddie Gardiner told the Voice on Saturday that he sees Prime Minister Harper's Bill C-38 as an attack on the rights of Canadians. He says that Harper wants to consolidate the majority of power and move toward an autocratic form of government.


"It is really disturbing how he's firing all the scientists who are supposed to be looking into environmental protection issues, climate change, all those things, gutting the fisheries act, and I think that if he continues to do this, Canadians from all stripes will look at this and say 'this is not what we voted for,'" said Gardiner.


Gardiner says Harper is abusing his power and that Canadians won't support the more than 60 changes in law that accompany Bill C-68, and challenges the Harper government to call an election.


"He will lose an election if he went and campaigned on the agenda that he's revealing at this moment," says Gardiner. "We'll see if Canadians stand up for that, but I don't think they will."


Every little action counts and Gardiner urges people to sign petitions, send letters, participate in demonstrations which will send a message to Harper that "Canadians don't agree with his agenda at all."

"Harper is a very intelligent, very powerful individual and he has come to power, and we trusted him with a minority government and he didn't show all his true colours," he says. "Now they're really coming to the forefront and it looks like he's more like the old Reform Party, and even worse, I think that you can't help but see a man like that want to be a dictator of Canada."

Listen to part of the Voice's chat with Eddie Gardiner here. See more photos below.

For more information, visit www.pipe-up.net and www.leadnow.ca


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