Ottawa, ON—Environmental Defence said the government shutting down debate on its sweeping budget bill is fitting given it’s obvious powerful oil interests are the only ones that count.
The long-standing charity, regularly slurred by the government as “radical” and now “laundering” money, predicted the move will get more people involved in the fight to stop dangerous pipelines.
 
“The government thinks stripping rights away from citizens, charities and now MPs will make things easier for big oil,” said Gillian McEachern, Environmental Defence’s campaign director.  “They’re wrong.  It will make things harder because people do care about democracy even if this government increasingly doesn’t.”
 
The budget contains sweeping weakening of environmental rules and $8 million in new funding for the Canada Revenue Agency to harass charities’ legal, legitimate activities.  It followed up months of oil-funded front groups and Cabinet ministers diminishing charities’ rights to promote ways to fight global warming.
 
“Today’s move to end debate on this bill just formalizes what’s been clear for some time.  Who needs debate when powerful oil interests are around,” said McEachern.
 
“Environmental charities do not apologize for advocating for environmental protection, and neither do citizens who don’t want the global warming or spills that new, risky pipelines will bring.  The government clearly holds democracy—in the House or across the country—in low regard.  
 
“But clean air, water and land and the democratic right to speak up for them are Canadian values that will not go away,” she said.
 
Environmental Defence is a 28-year-old charity that is one of the charities complained about by oil interests to the Canada Revenue Agency.  These complaints conveniently triggered millions in wasteful spending for new audit powers, contained in the budget bill the government is determined to ram through.
 
About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (www.environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is Canada’s most effective environmental action organization. We challenge, and inspire change in government, business and people to ensure a greener, healthier and prosperous life for all.
 
-30-
 
For more information, or to arrange an interview, contact:
Erin Charter, Communications Manager, echarter@environmentaldefence.ca, mobile: (647) 210-7888.