Mr. Speaker, right now in Alberta, over 180,000 people are out of work, and a majority of those people have seen their jobs lost in the last couple of years.
This morning, when I woke up and heard the news that the auto plant was being closed by General Motors, I tweeted the following, “From the tens of thousands of people who have seen their jobs disappear in Alberta, our hearts go out to the people of Oshawa today.” That is a legitimate sentiment. If we are going to be a federation, people in different provinces have to stand up for each other.
From the people of Alberta, I want to send a message to those in Oshawa who are affected: We get it. We are going through this right now. It should not happen. Canada should be a place where we have jobs and prosperity.
The interesting thing is that I had several responses to this comment of sympathy. One of them really stuck out for me, and it was this: “Both [job losses] are tied to outdated fuel sources/transportation modes. Economic hardship is always sad, but it was inevitable we would have to pivot.”
I want to spend the bulk of my time today refuting the government's budgetary plan, because it is based on this principle of economic management. I have watched the government travel internationally to attend wonderful meetings in Davos, and have heard the speeches the Prime Minister has given in Paris in which he talks about exactly what this Twitter response said. It is a leftist, elitist, academic understanding of the Canadian economy. It is a “let them eat cake” understanding from somebody who has never really had to work a day in his life, told to a bunch of people who only want to work.
They are being told their jobs are dirty and outdated. Do we have outdated modes of transportation? The last time I checked, it was cold in Canada, we did not have magical public transit from every place to every different place, and we drove cars. The last time I checked, the auto sector was one of the most important industries to the Canadian economy. The last time I checked, the energy sector in Alberta created so much revenue for all different levels of government in this country such that at the end of last week, we actually had major financial analysts asking the finance minister how he was going to deal with the significant price differential we are receiving for our energy products, compared to if we had market access for these things, in his budgetary forecast.
That is why the government's approach to budgeting is so fundamentally flawed. Liberals do not understand the fact that Canadians want to work and want to be competitive in some of the world's most important industries, such as energy production or manufacturing. They do not understand what their high-level, bourgeois thinking of what “appropriate” industries or “clean” jobs means to somebody who is just trying to make ends meet. They have not taken any sort of understanding of these concepts into a framework that would make us more competitive, not less competitive, with the United States. They do not understand how fundamentally damaging this is to the fabric of the Canadian federation.
If members were to go door-knocking from house to house in my province right now, as I frequently do in my riding, they would automatically hear a tale of somebody being out of work for a very long period of time. They would hear about how people have had to shutter businesses and how we are losing labour to the United States and to other parts of the world. They would hear about the fact that city council is increasing small business taxes by 25%, because the downtown core is now looking at about a 50% plus vacancy rate, even though we had, I think, a zero vacancy rate in downtown Calgary just a few short years ago.
We will hear one other sentiment and that is, why are we sending money to other parts of the country in equalization payments when the rest of the country will not stand up for us? The reality is that the context has changed since 2015. I used to think the Prime Minister's father, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, was the worst possible Trudeau to Alberta, while he looks absolutely great compared to his son. Bill C-69 finishes the job. It shoots the energy sector in the head. Oil is over under Bill C-69 and maybe that is what the Prime Minister wants. Maybe he is celebrating that, but my community sure is not. The tanker ban, the carbon tax, the political veto of the northern gateway pipeline, not saying anything to President Obama when he vetoed the Keystone XL pipeline. The Prime Minister and the government have done every single thing possible to kill the energy sector.
In the last budget implementation bill, the Liberals said they were not going to look at the equalization formula. If the Prime Minister will not stand up for the jobs in every part of the country, including Alberta, then we have to look at that formula because it is not fair. I would not be doing my job as a member of Parliament from that province if I did not stand and say he has a responsibility to make policy that is in the best interests of the entire country, not penalize regions because of his or his father's ideological opposition to having power and economic growth in Alberta. That is where we are at.
We cannot look at 180,000 people out of work and at the response that other industries get and the lip service. I look at his response in Calgary on Thursday. I am so proud of my city for getting out and protesting him. I saw that and thought it was great, give him a message. I am so proud of my city for doing that, but at the end of the day, the people of Calgary and of Alberta have always been happy to contribute to the entirety of Canada. They do not want to be out protesting, they just want to work. However, the Prime Minister comes with nothing for my city. He is still pushing through Bill C-69 full steam ahead, full steam to kill the energy sector. He is not even acknowledging the depth of crisis that his ideological opposition to the development of the energy sector has done to the Canadian economy.
The Liberals will stand with their talking points and will say the economy and the environment go hand in hand. There is only one reason that we will see a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, if we do, in Canada, and that is because he has killed the energy sector. His carbon tax will do nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That is because carbon, for the most part in Canada, is inelastic and we cannot set whatever the United Nations report called for, a $5,500 per megatonne price on carbon, and expect the economy to continue to grow. I cannot stand here on behalf of my constituents and support anything that the government is doing in terms of taxation, in terms of budgeting because it is a lot of spending on nothing. In this entire budget implementation act, there is no spending on any sort of infrastructure that is going to make my city more productive. There is nothing in it for the workers.
Frankly, to add insult to injury, he is not talking about the fact that the Liberals have underwritten and underpinned a continuous welfare system for this country based on the backs of the people in my province. Enough is enough. Either the Prime Minister writes some policy that is in the best interests of the entire country or he starts dealing with the voices of the people in my city and in my province. They are tired of it and they will not go gently into that good night.
Shame on the member for Calgary Centre. Shame on the member for Calgary Skyview. Shame on the members from Edmonton who have had the opportunity to speak up in their caucus for the rights of the people in this country and still see Bill C-69 going forward, still see the budget implementation act going forward, spending and taxing, with nothing happening for them. Enough is enough. There will be more protests like we see in Calgary. We will not go gently into that good night and the bill needs to die.