So how far did you get in the controversial, 450-page Bill C-38?
We donít blame you if you didnít even attempt to read, let alone understand, the massive bill that attempts to make 70-plus legislative changes in one fell swoop. To say the whole thing is overwhelming is an understatement.
Weíre with you in the thought that itís just easier to ignore the whole thing and let others wade in to what has become a cross-country movement to oppose the Conservativesí wholesale, sweeping changes.
But weíve also reluctantly come to realize that more people need to get involved if thereís any chance of slowing down or stopping the so-called ďomnibus bill.Ē At very least, the Conservatives need to be held accountable ó and we canít rely on others to make sure that happens.
With a marathon voting session set to begin Wednesday (June 13) in the House of Commons, by the time you read this it might already be too late to impact the outcome of this particular bill. But if the grassroots campaign, led by Leadnow.ca, to get just 13 Conservative MPs to vote against the legislation was successful, we havenít seen the end of debate on Bill C-38.
Even if the Conservatives are able to ram these changes through despite growing and passionate opposition, C-38 should be top of mind when it comes time to vote in the next federal election. In Harperís own words (back in 1994, when debating a different omnibus bill), lumping changes to so many different pieces of legislation together is not in the best interest of democracy.
ďHow 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 can agree with some of the measures but oppose othersÖ asking members to provide simple answers to such complex questions is in contradiction to the conventions and practices of the House,Ē Harper is quoted as saying then.
So far, we havenít seen an appropriate response to the blatant about-face.
You might be asking, as we have: Whatís this got to do with Whistler and why should people here care?
Simply put, the changes in Bill C-38 will eventually impact the lives of all Whistlerites. Changes to employment insurance eligibility, foreign worker regulations and Old Age Security are included in the bill alongside changes to federal environmental assessments and fish habitat protection laws.
At very least we need more time to examine exactly whatís included in the bill and how it might impact Canadians.
The bigger issue is that we need to send a clear message to local MP John Weston and the rest of the Conservatives that Canadians arenít just going to roll over and let the government do whatever it wants, no matter the consequences.
So far, people in Whistler havenít taken to the streets to hold Westonís feet to the fire. But in Sechelt, about 200 people showed up at Westonís constituency office on June 2 to protest Bill C-38, and another rally was scheduled there for Wednesday evening ó†one of more than 70 such rallies to be held across the country, according to Leadnow.ca.
We all owe it to each other and the country to get informed about C-38 and other activities of the Conservatives. And if you donít like what you find out, find a way to take action ó†even if itís as simple as sending Weston an email to register your concerns.
If we all keep waiting for the next guy to do something, where does that leave us?
ó Jennifer Miller