Bill C-38: Letter to Finance Committee

 Letter issued on behalf of BPW Canada, based upon related member approved resolutions and policy statements.                                                                                                                                                                                                  
June 7, 2012
RE: Bill C-38
Dear Members of the Finance Committee:
As the immediate past president of the Canadian Federation of Business and Professional Women, on behalf of BPW Canada I am writing to express our serious concerns about Bill C-38. This is not a budget bill. It's a massive bill that goes beyond taxes and expenditures, that will place great power in the hands of Cabinet and unelected bureaucrats, and that we believe will change the face of Canada as we know it.
Of particular concern to women, it:
•    Reduces the auditor general’s powers to hold government accountable
•    Changes the environmental regulation and demonstrates changes in policy direction
•    Eliminates the National Council of Welfare
•    Eliminates Assisted Human Reproduction Canada
•    Eliminates the Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development
•    Eliminates review tribunals for Employment Insurance, CPP Disability and Old Age Security (OAS), and rolls all three into a  “Social Security Tribunal” made up of 74 government-appointed people who, we understand, will deal with these appeals by phone from Ottawa.
•    Changes OAS eligibility from 65 to 67
Additionally, it:
•    Weakens environmental laws by leaving broad decision making  to Cabinet and Ministers
•    Offers less accountability and few opportunities for public participation
•    Suggests the National Energy Board will be exempt from species at risk protections; e.g., there is no guarantee that an    environmental assessment will consider the impacts of a proposed pipeline project and related oil tanker traffic on the habitat of endangered orca whales
•    Provides the Cabinet with the ability to override National Energy Board
•    Repeals the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act so that there is no more domestic accountably measures on climate change
Some of you may recall that, in 1994, when an Omnibus bill was presented by the Liberals, PM Stephen Harper, then a Reform MP, stated:  “In the interest of democracy I ask:   how can members represent their constituents on these various areas when they are forced to vote in a block on such legislation and on such concerns? … We agree with some of the measures but oppose others.   How do we express our views and the views of our constituents when the matters are so diverse?” Why the change in attitude on the part of the Prime Minister now?
The solution is simple. Break this bill into its diverse parts (as the Senate has done already), debate each element on its merits and vote. What is the rush?
We add BPW Canada to the growing list of organizations and non-profits throughout Canada that ask that this process be stopped, and that vigorous debate on the diverse elements of Bill C-38 be allowed in the House of Commons. Please feel free to contact me for further information. Our website is
Sue Calhoun
Immediate Past President ~ Présidente sortante Public Affairs/Advocacy ~ Affaires publiques/le plaidoyer Canadian Federation of Business and Professional Women / Fédération canadienne des femmes de carrières
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