Protestors target MP Rathgeber's office
Saturday, Jun 16, 2012 06:00 am
The government's omnibus budget bill was opposed both in Parliament and on Perron Street this week, as opposition MPs in Ottawa and protestors in St. Albert opposed its passage.
About 20 protestors stood outside local MP Brent Rathgeber's office Wednesday night to protest bill C-38. The bill implements the government's budget, but also makes a host of other changes to environmental regulations, employment insurance and old age security, to name a few.
Opposition MPs showed their disdain for the bill by offering hundreds of proposed amendments, which aimed to break it up or change certain provisions.
Voting on those amendments took nearly 24 hours beginning on Wednesday and not ending until very late on Thursday evening.
Protestors in St. Albert said the bill was simply too large and being forced through parliament without enough debate.
“They have been limiting debate on it, it is very undemocratic, so we felt it was our civic duty to rise up and oppose this,” said Evan MacDonald a Grade 10 student from Morinville who helped organize the rally.
The 20 or so protestors carried signs and were cheered on by many passing motorists who honked as they drove by. The protest attracted young families, seniors and students.
The St. Albert protest was co-coordinated with other events at MP offices across the country, all aimed at convincing the government to change its mind.
“In order for this bill to be stopped 13 Conservative MPs need to vote against their own bill,” said MacDonald. “If they do it will be stopped and that is our goal.”
Another protestor, Tristan Turner, also a grade ten student in Morinville, said parliament should be given the time to truly consider the bills.
“The people we elected to represent us aren't given enough time to debate the sweeping changes that are proposed for our society.”
Eric Crighton, an Ottawa resident who was in Edmonton for a conference, came out specifically to voice his displeasure with the bill.
“This is something that I would have done in Ottawa if I hadn't been here,” he said. “The main issue that concerns me is the environmental issues and the removal and gutting of environmental impact assessments.”
Crighton said the issue isn't partisan, but about an appropriate process.
“This isn't a Conservative or Liberal issue, I think there are quite a few Conservatives in Alberta who are concerned about this,” he said. “Whether you agree with some of the issues or not, it is just so many changes and none of them are getting debated.”
The marathon session in parliament kept Rathgeber and other MLAs awake, nearly continuously, for 36 hours and he was not available for comment.
On his blog, Rathgeber described the ordeal as a waste of time.
“Undoubtedly, the marathon voting session will live in parliamentary infamy as a colossal waste of time, proving yet again that two things that you never want to watch being made are laws and sausages!”
The bill will return to the house on Monday, for a much shorter session, where it is expected to receive third reading.