Mr. Speaker, it is truly a privilege for me to stand in the House and represent the fine folks in the constituency of Red Deer—Lacombe, some of the hardest working people we will ever find, many of them out of work or underemployed now as a direct result of policies, both provincially and federally, when it comes to the energy sector. People only need to take a drive through my constituency past the pipeline companies and the Edgar Industrial Park in Red Deer. If there is not a for sale or for lease sign on some of these buildings, they will see that all the iron is either still parked in the yard or gone. Where has it gone? It has gone to the United States. We are selling rigs at the pace of one a week out of Canada and into the United States.
This is all about the carbon tax cover-up. The Liberal government will not reveal the documents that finance officials and others have, underlining the cost to Canadians. This is because bad news is not good news for the government, so it will not release that information. It knows it will be a damning set of information that will likely haunt it into the next election.
However, we will not let up on this side of the House. We appreciate clean air, water, and land, and we will make the responsible choices that allow us to get there.
Notwithstanding all the graphics certain organizations and interests like to produce and show around the world, Alberta is one of the most clean place we will ever find. There are beautiful mountains and crystal clear blue rivers flowing out of our Rockies, pristine wilderness in our national and provincial parks, as well as in our forested areas all over northern and central Alberta. It is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. Anybody who says otherwise obviously has not been there.
The Liberals will not say how much the cost of this carbon tax is. In fact, when we ask for the documents, we are given these massive documents and every page is virtually blacked out, otherwise known as “redacted”, which means the information in there is too sensitive for the government to give us. It leads us to having an opposition day where we have to ask the government to reveal this information, which is known as the carbon tax cover-up.
If we are not going to know what the cost of the actual carbon tax is going to be, then we should know what the cost is to Canadians. I will talk about the boots on the ground.
As I alluded to earlier, over 100,000 jobs in the energy sector alone, many of jobs in my constituency of Red Deer—Lacombe, are not entry level salary jobs. These are some of the best paying jobs we will find in Alberta. In fact, these jobs are so desirable and so high paying that the taxes that have come from Alberta over the last series of decades have left Alberta in a situation where it contributes approximately $20 billion more a year to the coffers and revenues of the Government of Canada than the province of Alberta gets back in transfer payments for health, education, and so on. This means it is a $20-billion a year sector. This is just for the people who live and work in Alberta. It does not even include the thousands of people across the country who used to travel all the time to Alberta.
I mentioned this in a speech last week. I have been a member of Parliament here for 12 years. I get on a flight Thursdays to go back to Alberta, which is the best part of my job. These flights would originate out of either Montreal or Halifax. When I would get on that airplane in Ottawa, it would be filled with oil sands workers coming from either Atlantic Canada, the Maritimes, or Quebec. These folks were all wearing their Firebag and Kearl project jackets, they had their workboots on, and they were ready to go all the way to Alberta. These jobs were so well-paying it was cost-effective enough for them to book a flight, go work in the oil sands for several weeks at a time, and then go back to their families. That paycheque would improve the quality of life of these Canadians. People from all over the world would come to Alberta.
Over 4,000 businesses in Canada alone have a direct line to the oil sands because they provide goods, services, or products to the oil sands development. These are millions and millions of dollars of revenue.
The cost is 100,000 pairs of boots on the ground that are no longer working in some of the highest-paying jobs, and paying the highest tax rate, by the way, providing government coffers with more wealth than virtually any other sector of the economy.
What has this cost been to families? When someone does not have a job it causes stress. It causes strife. It causes suicides. These are things that do not get talked about a lot, but as the member of Parliament for Red Deer—Lacombe, I can say this is one of the most egregious factors undermining the ability of those in an otherwise well-paid portion of our economy who have lost their jobs to be able to provide for their families. What I mean by that is places where houses are relatively expensive and the cost of living is fairly high because the amount of wealth that is generated there is generally fairly high. This creates all kinds of problems for the constituents in my riding.
These costs are very high. There is a cost for mothers wanting to take their kids to baseball or to hockey. When one lives in Rimbey—
Mr. Speaker, I see you want me to stop here. I will pause and resume where I left off with the fine folks in Rimbey.