June 6, 2022
We are into the homestretch of this Parliamentary Session, with midnight sittings, closure imposed on debate time, and the Liberals (with help from their NDP allies) pushing through legislation at the last minute because they failed to allow enough time for proper study.
Their contempt for Parliament knows few bounds.
They do not appreciate – or care – that the role of the Opposition in a democratic Parliament is to help them make better laws – to study, to inquire, to hear witnesses both expert and citizen, to propose amendments, to ask tough questions.
The NDP has abandoned that role, leaving it to the Conservatives and the BQ to keep pressing for better answers – answers or amendments that rarely come from this government that refuses constructive input.
With my work on the Standing Committee on Natural Resources, my focus has had to be on the imposed study of the so-called “Just Transition” – a misnomer if there ever was one.
I have questioned Indigenous spokespeople about the promise of responsible resource development for prosperity in their communities and skilled jobs for their members. They tell me they have not been consulted and meet resistance to their goal of developing their own communities.
I have asked why Canada isn’t following the lead of countries like Germany in facilitating a move away from dependence on Russia for resources that the world needs – countries that would rather not see their money funding Putin’s war machine.
I have asked why Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage was in the 2022 budget – but not in the Budget Implementation Act – more than a year after they voted down my bill to advance this solution because — ‘they had to consult’. CCUS is the most advanced solution we have to constrain emissions – and the Liberals continue to dawdle.
I will keep pressing on these issues, and my colleagues are pressing hard on other legislation such as the Liberal attempt to muzzle citizen postings on the internet by giving the CRTC the power to monitor and demand censorship – a serious overreach of government control.
Helping Indigenous Communities Direct Their Own Prosperity
One characteristic of this Liberal government is their absolute conviction that they know what’s best for everyone.
That is particularly clear in their paternalistic approach to relations with Indigenous communities. Many Indigenous people want to develop the resources on their lands. They want to do it in an environmentally responsible way, they want to manage the decisions that are made, they want to conduct consultations with their own memberships to reach the right decisions, and they want to benefit from the jobs and revenue of those projects.
But the government is not facilitating these objectives.
At the Natural Resources Committee meeting on May 30, First Nations representatives expressed concern about a lack of consultation; and worried that the government is trying to put another layer of bureaucracy on projects that Indigenous communities support.
National Coalition of Chiefs spokesman Dale Swampy pointed to Alaska as a model of Indigenous-led resource development. The government should be listening to the people they claim to want to help, and facilitate them guiding their own futures.
Continuing to Fight for CCUS
After almost a year of urging the government to take the single step that would have the most impact, in the shortest time frame, on emissions control – Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage – the government finally put it in the budget.
But it is NOT in the Budget Implementation Act (Bill C-19).
Industry is waiting to see the rules before they proceed with the many projects that are sitting, waiting.
I note that Germany is reducing its regulatory processes by 90% in order to move projects such as LNG along more quickly.
At the Finance Committee meeting on May 19, I asked one witness whether it would be useful for Canada to do something similar.
The witness noted that it will be hard to meet 2030 targets – just 7.5 years away, if it takes 5 or 6 years to approve a project.
A Defeat for Bill C-69
On May 10, I appeared on CTV Power Play with host Evan Solomon to discuss the implications of the Alberta Court of Appeal opinion which used strong language to determine that Justin Trudeau’s Bill C-69 (The Impact Assessment Act) is unconstitutional.
Amongst other criticisms, the Court said the legislation seeks to give the federal government the last word on resource development, which is clearly in provincial jurisdiction.
In the second segment, two journalists offer their opinion of the next steps in this constitutional battle. Prime Minister Trudeau has already said the federal government will appeal the ruling – no surprise. This federal government is all about control and doesn’t like provinces defending their constitutional jurisdiction.
Evan gives me the last word in which I remind them that many Indigenous groups are also opposed to this legislation; and many benefit from the prosperity that resource development brings.
I also point out that federal Liberal politicians are not the only people who care about, and are capable of managing, environmental challenges. Provinces can also do that.
The interview is in two segments: Part One – Part Two
Inflation and the Cost of Living
I went doorknocking on May 28 in Altadore, and two of the top issues were Inflation and the Cost of Living; and the Consumer Carbon Tax.
Inflation is now at 6.8% – the highest in 31 years – and people are feeling the pain at the grocery store and when buying other essentials like children’s clothing, fuel, and home maintenance products. Retailers are struggling with the rising cost of inputs against the negatives of having to raise prices for their customers.
The Consumer Carbon Tax adds to the misery. The price of fuel went up on April 1st. Instead of giving Canadians a break by at least delaying the implementation of the increase, the Liberals just decided people would have to absorb the extra cost of heating their homes and operating their work and personal vehicles. Take the extra cost out of the grocery budget … no, wait, that won’t work either.
While Europe is reducing taxes on gasoline to help their citizens cope with inflation, the Trudeau government is gouging hard working Canadians $2 Billion more in fuel taxes from consumers. On May 16, I asked the Finance Minister if she would help Canadians by reducing the federal government’s share of your gas fill-up.
In the Minister’s answer, she fails to acknowledge that the Parliamentary Budget Officer has debunked the refund statistics that the Liberals continue to use. In fact, the PBO determined that the average Alberta family will pay $507 MORE in carbon tax than they will receive in rebates.
That’s because the PBO accurately and correctly added such ancillary costs as GST being added to the carbon tax. (Check your utility bill. It is a tax on a tax.)
New “Luxury Tax” the First of New Taxes to Come?
The Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) has estimated that the new Liberal tax on “luxury items” will result in over $2.8 billion in lost sales over the next 5 years
- a 15% reduction in sales that will be punitive to Canada’s car manufacturing, boating, and aerospace sectors, and the people who work in those sectors.
This tax may or may not affect you personally but it is a harbinger of things to come.
A government that spends this recklessly will eventually have to increase revenues – taxes. We have already seen them repeatedly fund a think tank to come up with ways to tax our homes.
New taxes hurt people. As the Canadian economy emerges from the pandemic and businesses struggle to recover from the downturn, only the Liberals would think imposing new taxes on businesses that create and maintain good manufacturing jobs is the right path forward.
Astoundingly, the Liberals didn’t want to know what impact this would have on Canadians. Department officials revealed they weren’t even asked to conduct an impact assessment. Not acceptable.
AROUND CALGARY CENTRE
Here are some pictures from my work around Calgary Centre.
My team and I did some doorknocking in Altadore on May 28.
I spoke with constituents at United Active Living at Garrison Green.
And I also visited constituents living at Amica Britannia.
Please get in touch if there’s anything my office can do for you.
Greg McLean, M.P.