Madam Speaker, I would like to advise you that I will share my time with the hon. member for Calgary Rocky Ridge.
For my riding in particular, this issue is of critical importance, and let me provide a quick example to illustrate exactly why. Within hours of the province of Alberta announcing what was basically a blockade of B.C. wine being sold or transported into that province, I received a call from a panicked B.C. wine owner. That winery owner has 6,000 cases of wine sold into Alberta, yet still has to make delivery. This is not some big corporate winery, and 6,000 cases represents a huge part of this winery's annual sales revenues and volume of production. This is a family-run winery, where on any given day we will see father and daughter working side by side. They have mortgages to pay, wages for staff, utilities, taxes, and hopefully at the end of the day, enough left over to draw a wage. I am certain everyone in this place can empathize with the resulting fear and frustration being felt by the British Columbia wine industry.
How did we get here? On the surface, we have two fighting New Democratic Party provincial governments. In B.C. we have a coalition NDP desperate to maintain its power through its deal with the Green Party. Of course, that coalition is on thin ice after the NDP approved the Site C dam project that it had railed against for years. Going after the Trans Mountain pipeline project is a political necessity for the B.C. NDP, and likewise for the Green Party in British Columbia.
So far, the Green Party has delivered very little. It abandoned its opposition to bridge tolling to support the NDP, and is likewise supporting an NDP government that approved the Site C dam and one that wants to support B.C. liquefied natural gas. B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver is desperate to show his base that his support for the NDP is not just a sell out deal that has resulted in little else but his party receiving taxpayer subsidies for political parties.
Meanwhile, over in Alberta, we have an NDP government essentially terrified after the two provincial political parties recently merged, with an election that is quickly approaching. For the Alberta NDP, fighting for the Trans Mountain pipeline is critically important not just for it to survive but because this project is absolutely critical to Alberta. That is what is troubling. This brewing trade dispute is politically helpful for both these NDP governments. Meanwhile, small family wineries are caught in the middle as political pawns.
As members of Parliament, how do we fix this? Ultimately, we know the Prime Minister has stated he strongly believes the Trans Mountain pipeline is in Canada's national interest. For the record, I agree with the Prime Minister on this. However, here is the problem. Beyond saying that he strongly supports the Trans Mountain pipeline and that the project is in Canada's national interest, the Prime Minister has said nothing else as to what measures he is prepared to invoke to make this project a reality. Of course that has created uncertainty, and in essence, a leadership vacuum on this file.
Therefore, the province of Alberta is basically in a situation where, absence of any federal leadership on this issue, it is now essentially forced to not only defend the interests of Alberta but also the Canadian interest. To be candid, I agree that the Prime Minister's lack of action and leadership on this file has put Premier Notley into a difficult and unfair situation. That is why we are having this debate today.
It is all well and good for the Prime Minister to say that this project is in the national interest and that it will get built, but he does not say when it will get built. When will he show some leadership and take action?
Here is the part I find deeply troubling. Recently on CBC we heard that “ultimately the federal government will not allow any province to impinge on its jurisdiction over the national interest. Full stop.” On the surface, this sounds somewhat promising. There is only one problem. Who said it? According to the same CBC article, it was “a senior Liberal, speaking on condition of anonymity”. In other words, it was not the Prime Minister, not the Minister of Natural Resources. The best the Liberals can do is to send out some anonymous person to speak some tough talk to the CBC. Seriously, is this the best that the current Liberal government can do?
What troubles me more is that this is a Prime Minister and Liberal government who will fight against veterans in court, even after they promised that they would not. This is a Prime Minister and Liberal government who will fight against faith organizations receiving summer jobs funding for grants unless they take a values test. This is a Prime Minister and Liberal government who will fight against the Prime Minister's having to repay his illegal vacation expenses, but when it comes to fighting for a project that the Prime Minister has deemed to be within Canada's national interest, basically nothing. All we get is some lowly anonymous Liberal leaker hamming it up with his favourite CBC reporter. Of course, that is why we are in this situation and why we are having this debate.
The Prime Minister needs to clearly articulate to Canadians what actions he will take to ensure projects in Canada's national interest become a reality. I think everyone here gets that. The time for platitudes and flowery language is over. Now is the time for action and to deliver results. If this Prime Minister is not capable of doing that, I would suggest he should find someone else who can, preferably someone who is not a senior anonymous Liberal.
I would also like to add a few observations. When it came to potentially looking after the interests of Irving Shipbuilding, the Prime Minister was prepared to cancel another shipbuilding contract in Quebec at great cost to taxpayers, until the public found out. When it came to defending the interests of Bombardier, we know once again that the Prime Minister was prepared to cancel a contract. In fact, the current Liberal government has now announced a procurement policy with this in mind.
I mention these things because we know that the Prime Minister is actually capable of standing up for certain things from time to time. Surely if the Prime Minister strongly believes that the Trans Mountain pipeline project is in Canada's national interest, he will do the same. The only question to be asked is why he has refused to do it thus far. Ultimately, that is what we need: a Prime Minister who will step up, show leadership, and deliver results for the country. That is the job of the Prime Minister.
That is why today I will ask this place to support the motion before us. In effect, what it is calling for is for the Prime Minister to do his job. On this side of the House, we do not believe that is asking too much and I hope that Liberals on that side of the House will agree.