OTTAWA - The word "environment" was suddenly deleted from a federal government website that described Conservative proposals to change the law protecting Canada's navigable waterways.
The Navigable Waters Protection Act is being altered as part of the government's latest omnibus budget bill.
The proposed changes would make the Act apply to fewer bodies of water than before, in a bid to make the system more efficient.
The opposition parties say the move will further weaken environmental protection — and they say the proof is on the web.
The NDP pointed out on Tuesday that the government's own "Frequently Asked Questions" about the Act posted on the Internet stated that the changes reflected the government's "ongoing concern towards maintaining the safety of public navigation and the environment."
It also referred to companies potentially constructing "dangerous works in navigable waters."
But by Wednesday, that section of the Transport Canada website had been altered to remove the reference to the environment and the dangerous works. NDP Leader Tom Mulcair called the deletion "Orwellian."
"It's Orwellian, they made their website disappear. ... They want to make the environment disappear. We're going to stand up and protect the environment," Mulcair said during a House of Commons speech on the omnibus budget bill, C-45.
Transport Minister Denis Lebel said the original content on the website was a mistake.
"The Transport Canada website always specified that the Navigable Waters Protection Act was designed to protect navigation rights for all Canadians. That has not changed," said Lebel.
"The department reviewed the website and the erroneous information was pulled from the web."
Also on HuffPost:
The following data comes from<a href="http://www.nanosresearch.com/library/polls/POLNAT-W12-T559E.pdf" target="_hplink"> a Nanos Research telephone survey for CBC's Power and Politics of 1,000 Canadians</a> 18 years or older. It was taken between October 13 and 14, 2012.
5. Daniel Paillé - 1.2 per cent
4. Thomas Mulcair - 8.3 per cent
3. Stephen Harper - 12.0 per cent
2. Justin Trudeau - 15.0 per cent
None Of Them - 15.2 per cent
Undecided - 17.0 per cent
1. Elizabeth May - 31.4 per cent
The Conservative government has introduced Bill C-45, the second omnibus budget implementation bill. Here's a brief look at what's inside the 450-page document. <em>With files from CBC</em>
MP And Public Service Pensions
<strong>UPDATE</strong>: <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/10/19/mp-pension-changes-passed-bill-c-45_n_1987522.html">MP Pensions have been hived off from the omnibus bill and passed without further debate in a surprise deal between the government and opposition parties</a>. Starting as early as January 2013, public servants and MPs will have to contribute 50 per cent of the payments into their pensions. MPs will also have to wait until age 65 to start collecting their pensions, or be penalized if they start at age 55. The precise date for MP pension changes is Jan. 1, 2016. There will be no change to the current eligibility for MP pensions of six years of service.
The Canada Employment Insurance Financing Board will be dissolved, and an interim means of establishing premium rates set up to replace its work. The Crown Corporation is currently run by a seven-member board. This move continues employment insurance changes started with the first omnibus budget bill, as cabinet gradually receives more authority to reform EI.
Changes To The Indian Act
The bill makes what could be controversial changes to the Indian Act, amending it to change the rules around what kind of meetings or referenda are required to lease or otherwise grant an interest in designated reserve lands. The aboriginal affairs minister would also be given the authority to call a band meeting or referendum for the purpose of considering an absolute surrender of the band's territory.
Environmental Assessment Act Tweaks
Last spring's changes to the Environmental Assessment Act are tweaked further in this omnibus bill.
Hiring Tax Credit
The bill will extend a popular small business hiring credit.
New Bridge To U.S.
C-45 also facilitates the construction of a new bridge across the Detroit River at Windsor, announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper last summer. Certain legislation will be changed and other legislation won't apply to this bridge. Three federal bodies will cease to exist with the passage of this legislation.
Grain Act Amended
The bill also amends the Canada Grain Act, simplifying the way it classifies grain terminals, repealing grain appeal tribunals, and ending several other requirements of the current Act, giving the Canadian Grains Commission more power to regulate the grain industry. These changes follow the end of the Canadian Wheat Board's monopoly over wheat and barley sales in Western Canada, which take effect for this year's harvest.
Hazardous Materials Under Health
All the work of the Hazardous Materials Information Review Commission will be transferred to the health minister.
Merchant Seamen Board Under Labour
The Merchant Seamen Compensation Board will see its authority transferred to the Minister of Labour. The three-person board currently hears and decides benefit claims for merchant seamen who are injured or disabled as a result of their work and are not currently covered by provincial workers' compensation benefits.