PSAC urges Senate to divide up budget bill

OTTAWA, July 6 /CNW Telbec/ - The Public Service Alliance of Canada says that it's not too late for the Senate to stop the Harper government from continuing to stack the federal budget with unrelated legislation.

Appearing before the Senate National Finance Committee, PSAC National President John Gordon urged the Committee to remove a number of controversial and potentially devastating legislative amendments from the budget bill that should have been the subject of intense Parliamentary and public scrutiny.

"The government has chosen to hide much of its legislative agenda in the budget bill. With its threat of non-confidence, the budget is being used to pass legislation that the Harper government could not otherwise get through Parliament, and for good reason," says Gordon.

Significant among the many non-budgetary amendments are:

    
    -  Changes that will put the entire federal environmental assessment
       process in jeopardy by expanding the Minister of the Environment's
       unilateral powers, eliminating environmental assessment for some
       projects and radically expanding the exclusion of assessments in many
       areas.

    -  Amendments to the Canada Grain Act, which will eliminate a long-
       standing safeguard that helped ensure fair treatment for producers,
       that were originally defeated in 2009.

    -  The partial deregulation of Canada Post, which has twice failed in
       Parliament as stand-alone legislation, and for which there is little
       public support.

    -  Authorization for the sale of Atomic Energy of Canada in complete
       secrecy, eliminating Parliamentary oversight until the deal is signed.

    -  Changes to the Canada Labour Code, affecting over one million workers,
       that undermine the appeal process for workers who exercise their right
       to refuse unsafe and hazardous work.
    

According to Gordon, the budget is already having an impact on public services.

Less than a month after the budget was tabled, Canada Post announced it was contracting out its call centre operations. These jobs will now either be offered as low-wage, precarious employment or be moved out of the country altogether.

"The Harper government had an opportunity to invest in social infrastructures and in quality public services that would have ensured job creation and economic growth. Instead, it has chosen to restrain spending putting our economic recovery and needed public services at risk," says Gordon.

SOURCE PSAC

For further information: For further information: or to book interviews: Ariel Troster, PSAC Communications, 613-292-8363 (cell)


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