While MP Randy Kamp prepared for an overnight sitting in the House of Commons defending budget Bill C-38, his opponents in Maple Ridge took their campaign to the street, banging drums and kitchen pots and carrying signs.
The Wednesday demonstration was organized by Leadnow and called the 13 Heros Rally.
The campaign was to try to convince the 13 MPs in the Conservative government needed to vote against and scrap its omnibus bill, which makes changes to the Fisheries Act, among several other laws. The new Fisheries Act removes general protection of fish habitat and focuses protecting aboriginal, sport or commercial fisheries from “serious harm.”
“We’re asking them if they will stand up for Canada and stop Bill C-38,” said Oosha Ramsoondar, with Leadnow.
The budget bill changes several Canadian laws, as part of its Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity focus.
“It’s been called a Trojan horse bill,” because of the changes, said Ramsoondar.
“This is not considered true democracy.”
Moe Gidda, an NDP member in Abbotsford, was at the rally to protest changes in the Employment Insurance, saying the government has taken surpluses from that program and put them into general revenues.
While one protester wrote a sign calling for protection of habitat, Danielle Cairns, a federal civil servant, held another that said, “The Man is Out of Order.”
“I’m just really concerned about Bill C-38 and just so dismayed that all these changes are being disguised as part of the budget.”
She added she recently heard that the government would only pay for refugee claimants health care if they had communicable diseases that could endanger the rest of the population.
“These are the most vulnerable people on the planet.”
She was also concerned about cuts to Service Canada, “Everything, it’s quite hard to keep up with.”
While the protesters were outside, Kamp was in the House of Commons preparing for a 24-hour round of voting on about 158 Opposition amendments to the bill.
He said the 164 Conservative MPs were organized into teams of about a dozen and were to take half-hour breaks every five hours.
“We take this seriously. We’re planning to win every vote,” he said Wednesday.
Kamp said all but the last vote will be on amendments to the bill.
Each vote was to take about 10 minutes, while the last would be on the entire budget.
“The last one is definitely a confidence motion that we won’t want to lose.”