Since when does the federal government get to gag its own citizens?

Let’s all get together on this action alert from Forest Ethics:

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Dear Eldy,
In the last 18 months the federal government of Canada led by Prime Minister Harper has done everything it can to slander, legislate and intimidate us into silence.
Now, under new National Energy Board (NEB) rules, they’ve made it almost impossible for Canadian citizens to provide input on tar sands pipeline, tanker or rail projects. If you wish to submit a simple letter of comment, you must first fill out a nine-page online application explaining why you are qualified to speak. Then the NEB gets to decide if you can submit comments based on a very strict set of criteria.
Since when does the federal government get to gag its own citizens?It’s time to BREAK THE SILENCE. Please join me in signing an open letter to Justin Trudeau, Thomas Mulcair, Elizabeth May and Daniel Paille asking them to openly debate this abuse of our right to free speech in the House of Commons. I want Prime Minister Harper and his government held accountable for violating this fundamental democratic right.
My goal is to collect 25,000 signatures and I need your help to do that. This is ambitious, but I need these 25,000 signatures to make a big impact when I announce a powerful initiative that ForestEthics Advocacy is launching soon. Please sign our Open Letter now and ask everyone you know to do the same.
Concerned citizens in Ontario and Quebec found out the hard way about the NEB’s new rules when they tried to sign up to speak on the Enbridge Line 9b reversal project. For those of you fighting other pipeline projects like Kinder Morgan’s Trans-Mountain pipeline on the west coast, BEWARE!
The Harper government doesn’t want to hear anything you have to say that would point to the larger, perilous consequences of their tar sands agenda. They want Canadians who care about clean air and water, forests and wildlife and the health of the nation’s people put on mute. THEY WANT SILENCE.
But in the next few weeks, the federal government is going to find out just how seriously we take this matter. ForestEthics Advocacy shed its non-profit status so that we could stand up to the Harper government and that’s exactly what we’re going to do. This Open Letter is a vital part of a strategy that will hit hard.
We must break the silence.Please add your voice to mine and sign ForestEthics Advocacy’s Open Letter to all the federal opposition leaders. Then share this message with everyone you know. I mean everyone. My announcement in the next few weeks will include this Letter and I want you and your friends to be part of this historic moment.Thank you!
Sincerely,
                                            Clayton Ruby, C.M.                                             Board Chair, ForestEthics Advocacy                                             B.A., LL.B, LL.M., LL.D. (honoris causa)                                            

P.S. What happened to our democracy? I thought we were entitled to  speak our mind in Canada, especially when it comes to the tar sands. I  need 25,000 signatures on an Open Letter to accompany an important  announcement I will be making shortly. Please sign on, speak out and  tell everyone you know to do the same.

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

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4 thoughts

  1. Pingback: Just Because: All Of Us Sh-t Disturbers need To Stick Together | Gups-Y-Bees: The Quest ~ To Do Justly ~ Love Mercy ~ Walk Humbly ~ Afflict The Oppressor

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