Canadian websites black out to protest government budget bill

Canadian websites black out to protest government budget bill

More than 500 Canadian organizations and businesses across the country are blacking out their websites today in protest against the federal government omnibus budget bill C-38 and its clampdown on environmental charities that do advocacy work.

“Today, hundreds of organizations and individuals — representing millions of citizens — are speaking out in support of two core Canadian values: the protection of nature and democratic discussion,” said scientist and activist Dr. David Suzuki. “These values are the foundation of the peace, order and good government that define our nation, yet they are threatened by the federal government’s omnibus budget bill, C-38.”

The “Black Out, Speak Out” campaign calls on Canadians to raise their voices against proposed changes to environmental laws included in Bill C-38, the government’s budget implementation bill.

Environmental groups say the changes in the budget bill will weaken environmental laws and crack down on charities, including environmental groups, that advocate for better laws and policies.

“The darkening of web sites and the thousands of letters, blogs, tweets and other actions by landowners, businesses, First Nations, trade unions, scientists and  citizens, reflect the grave concern and deep frustration Canadians feel about the direction the federal government is heading,” said  Alex Neve, Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada. “Fundamental human rights such as Freedom of Expression are at stake.”

Launched May 7th by the country’s leading environmental organizations, the campaign has grown rapidly to include major not-for-profit and social justice organizations, trade unions, scientists, businesses and Canadian icons like author Margaret Atwood and musician Bruce Cockburn.

“People don’t want only the most powerful, polluting voices to be heard,” said Rick Smith, Executive Director from Environmental Defence.  “They value public input into risky, huge projects and want charities to protect our land, water and air.  We hope the government agrees that it’s never too late to respect nature and democracy.”