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Conservative government counting on public indifference as it rams through Bill C-45

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As of 9p.m. EST Tuesday, MPs were into their sixth hour voting on amendments to the government's omnibus Bill C-45.

C-45 carries on from this past spring's first omnibus Bill, especially in its attack on the basic federal role in environmental regulation.

One of C-45's signature pieces is the complete rewriting of the more than century-old Canada Navigable Waters Act.

Ending protection for most of Canada's lakes and rivers may seem -- if you believe the Government -- like nothing so much as a matter of modernizing archaic water transport rules.

In fact, what this Bill does is scrap what Green Party Leader Elizabeth May calls "Canada's earliest environmental legislation."

And that's just one little piece.

In its massive entirety, Bill C-45 is serious business, about which we have made much in this space. The Bill is important not only for what it does, but for how so much is being rammed through Parliament in one fell swoop.

We have said here before that C-45 and its predecessor are unprecedented in the history of Canadian omnibus legislation.

In the past, monster composite bills that offended the Opposition and a sense of democratic fair play at least dealt with only a single policy area such as energy (in the Liberals' time) or criminal justice (a more recent Conservative initiative).

Despite its unprecedented nature and the best (if futile) efforts of the Opposition to break it up or amend it, this Bill will pass nonetheless.

And the government is counting on what it believes to be a widespread public indifference to the "niceties of parliamentary democracy" to shield it from any public backlash.

It is a bit sickening to consider that the Conservatives just may be right in their evaluation of Canadian public opinion.

Meanwhile, back at the national political ranch, there are also some fairly silly sideshows going on.

One is the brouhaha over Justin Trudeau's odd comments on the gun registry.

Another is Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre's continued efforts to demonize the union movements.  When the young and eager Ottawa area MP acts like a dog with a bone, you can be sure he isn't just speaking for himself. Poilievre is one of the Prime Minister's most trusted political hit men.

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