Here’s the open letter text; be sure to go to the link and sign their open letter my fellow “caring Canadians” :
Open Letter To:
MP Justin Trudeau, Leader of the Federal Liberal Party
MP Thomas Mulcair, Leader of the Federal NDP Party
MP Elizabeth May, Leader of the Federal Green Party
MP Daniel Paille, Leader of the Federal Bloc Quebecois
This letter is written on behalf of myself and 25,000 Canadians, all of whom have electronically added their names to this document. They hail from big cities and small towns all across Canada and they are united in their determination to protect our right to free speech. They believe it has been imperiled by the actions of the Prime Minister and his government.
In June of last year, the federal government passed Omnibus Budget Bill C-38. It included provisions to limit the ability of Canadians to express their views on projects that come under the jurisdiction of the National Energy Board (NEB). Their rationale in doing so was to reduce what they deemed an excessive amount of time spent on public comment hearings.
We agree that government must operate efficiently but in revising the NEB public participation rules, the federal government has seriously breached our right to free speech. Rather than settling on some viable middle ground, the government has now made it extremely difficult for Canadians to weigh in on projects of national import—most notably those having to do with tar sands expansion.
If you now wish to submit a letter of comment, you must fill out a 9 page NEB online application form justifying in detail the reasons why—including professional credentials and expertise—you should be granted permission to do so. The NEB then selects who can and cannot provide testimony in accordance with a strict set of criteria aimed at culling out people who have no direct link to the project. What an absurd standard. Tar sands expansion projects impact all of us. A vast body of scientific findings makes this evident.
Along with the thousands of Canadians who have signed this Letter, I am asking each of you to call for a debate of this abuse of free speech in the House of Commons and to demand that Prime Minister Harper explain his government’s actions. Canadians deserve to know why their leaders have arbitrarily chosen to violate our cherished right to free speech. In our view it is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to silence opposition to tar sands projects.
All Canadians should be afforded the right to express their views before the NEB. Opinions matter—they are the fundamental building block of any democracy. Given the high stakes we all face with climate change, these opinions are doubly important. Again, we ask you to hold the Prime Minister and his government accountable for putting our future and right to free speech at risk. This is a crucial matter and we know that you will take action. Thank you.
Respectfully Submitted by Clayton Ruby on behalf of 25,000 Canadian citizens