FCM asks Ottawa to slow down

Federation of Canadian Municipalities urge the feds to change the budget bill

Parksville mayor Chris Burger says cities and towns across Canada are concerned about Ottawa’s budget.

Parksville mayor Chris Burger says cities and towns across Canada are concerned about Ottawa’s budget.

Fresh back from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference in Saskatoon, Parksville mayor Chris Burger said a resolution urging Ottawa to revoke changes to the Fisheries Act was probably the most important.

Burger said there was a lot of concern from municipalities across the country about much of the federal government’s omnibus budget bill C-38, which includes 400 pages of changes to employment insurance, environmental regulations and the Fisheries Act, repeals the Fair Wages Act, and eliminates the CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service) inspector general, among other controversial changes.

“An emergency resolution was put on the floor and received almost unanimous support, except for a few guys in cowboy hats,” Burger quipped.

He said the FCM resolution on the Fisheries Act empowers the powerful national organization to add their voice to those asking the government to slow the changes and remove some of the important portions for their own consideration.

The resolution says that Bill C-38 “will increase discretionary powers of the Minister, change of the definition of fish habitat, and the limit the Act’s application to some types and sizes of projects, all of which could reduce the Act’s ability to protect the environment.”

It asks the government to ensure that “sections of the bill proposing major changes to environmental protection legislation (the Fisheries Act, Canadian the Environmental Assessment Act and the Species-at-Risk Act) be removed from Bill C-38 and referred to the relevant standing committees for thorough review and debate.”

It calls on the government to work with all stake holders, including the FCM, to ensure changes address municipal concerns and strengthen environment protection.