During the Canada 150 celebrations on Parliament Hill last year, Prime Minister Trudeau called out all of the Canadian provinces and territories, with one notable exception - Alberta. Although Trudeau and his team claimed that it was an innocent mistake, that moment was emblematic of a Liberal Government that has consistently ignored the concerns of Albertans.
From Day One, this Liberal Government's agenda has been at odds with Alberta workers, businesses, and families. I suppose that is to be expected from a Prime Minister who has openly disparaged Albertans in the past: "Canada isn't doing well right now because it's Albertans who control our collective socio-democratic agenda. It doesn't work." For nearly three years now, the Liberal Government has blocked development in Alberta with burdensome regulations and unnecessary red tape.
Shortly after killing the Northern Gateway pipeline, Trudeau told a town hall audience that Canada needs to "phase out" the oil sands. After the Trudeau Liberals also presided over the demise of the Energy East pipeline, the Canadian oil and gas industry was left with one last option to get its oil to tidewater: the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline. For months, the Liberal Government failed to provide Kinder Morgan with the assurances it needed to proceed with the pipeline. After construction was stalled by Kinder Morgan due to this political uncertainty, the Liberal Government made the unprecedented decision to purchase the incomplete pipeline with $4.5 Billion of taxpayer money.
The recklessness of Trudeau's $4.5 Billion gamble with taxpayer's money was exposed this week when the Federal Court of Appeal overturned the approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline. This perplexing Court decision effectively renders the Trans Mountain pipeline worthless. Now, not only are Canadians left without a badly-need tidewater pipeline to reach international markets, we are also on the hook to pay for a non-existent pipeline.
The last few years have undoubtedly been difficult for Albertans. Since 2014, Alberta has lost over 46 000 private-sector jobs. When the Liberal Government took over in October 2015, Western Canadian Select (WCS) was selling for just over $13 less per barrel than the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil benchmark. As of August 31st, this gap has grown to over $32 per barrel. Without the pipeline capacity to enable oil exports to markets other than the United States, the Canadian economy will continue to lose billions of dollars in potential revenue every year due to discounted Canadian oil.
The uncertainty surrounding the NAFTA renegotiation and the Liberal Government's retaliatory tariffs on U.S. imports are also hurting Alberta's economy. Under this Liberal Government, Canada has become an increasingly less attractive place for investment. In fact, foreign direct investment has fallen by half since the Liberals took over in 2015.
If the Liberal Government has a plan to fix these serious challenges and support the Alberta economy, I have yet to see it. The Canadian economy needs the Trans Mountain, Northern Gateway, and Energy East pipelines to get our oil to market and reduce our reliance on foreign oil. I will continue to stand up for the residents of Red Deer - Lacombe and oppose the Liberal Government's anti-Alberta agenda.
Please contact my Constituency office if you have any questions or concerns on any federally related matters, postage free, at: 201-5025 Parkwood Road, Blackfalds, AB T0M 0J0; tel: 587-621-0020; toll free: 1-800-665-0865 or visit my web site: www.blainecalkinsmp.ca or on twitter at www.twitter.com/blainecalkinsmp
EDITOR'S NOTE: The views expressed in this column do not necessarily represent those of rdnewsNOW or the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group. Column suggestions and letters to the editor can be sent to [email protected].
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