Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the residents of Durham, my constituents, for giving me the honour to rise again in this House in the 43rd Parliament. It is a profound honour for me to represent my hometown in Parliament.
As someone who attended the Churchill Society award dinner honouring David Crombie last week in Toronto, and as the former director of that committee, I am very happy to start my first speech of this session with a quote by Winston Churchill.
It is self-deprecating, because Churchill once said, “It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations.” I have read many books of quotations, not just by Churchill but also by the government and the Prime Minister.
I am going to seize upon one of the quotes from the throne speech, which I actually took away in a positive sense. The throne speech ended with a remarkable passage by Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson's speech at the opening of the Centennial Flame, just beside us in West Block, which read:
Tonight we begin a new chapter in our country’s story. Let the record of that chapter be one of co-operation and not conflict; of dedication and not division; of service, not self...
The irony is that speech was kicking off our centennial year, lighting a centennial flame using natural gas from Canada. I am not sure that irony was found by the Prime Minister's Office when it chose that aspirational quote, but that was how people celebrated. The Centennial Flame has all of our provinces and territories, now including Nunavut, around it and is burning Canadian natural gas, allowing that fountain to burn throughout the coldest winters in Ottawa.
Earlier in that speech, Pearson complimented our industrial capacity and our resourcefulness as a country. Sometimes we have to ask what was said before the quote that the government used for its throne speech. In the same speech, kicking off the celebration of Canadian natural gas in many ways, Pearson said:
Economically, we have become a rich society and a great industrial power. We have built new dimensions of progress and welfare into the Canadian way of life. The boundaries of freedom and opportunity have been expanded for every Canadian.
That was Lester B. Pearson's remark, speaking about the balance that Canada had been able to have by being resourceful, tapping our natural resources and being industrial, celebrating our industrial sectors, in order to provide for the welfare of the country.
One thing people on this side of the House have been saying, both through the first term of the Prime Minister and this one, and what is missing in the throne speech, is recognizing the economic diversity of this country. There is no mention of the serious national unity issues we are facing as a result of the Prime Minister and the Liberal government's opposition to our resource sector in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and beyond. There is not one mention of it. This is unlike Pearson who actually understood that resourcefulness, industry and celebrating it, the hard work of Canadians allowing us to have new dimensions of progress for the welfare of our people.
The Premier of Alberta is in Ottawa today. Alberta has been very proud to share not just that wealth with the rest of the country as part of the resourcefulness of its industry, but at times, when the auto industry was struggling in my province, more manufacturing jobs in Ontario were attributable to our western resource industry than into auto assembly. When our national economy was struggling, the global recession, it was actually our resource economy that allowed us to lead the G7. That is allowing new dimensions of progress, embracing that.
The Prime Minister and his whole cabinet should read the entire Pearson speech, not just cherry-pick some aspirational sections. We need a Prime Minister who does not divide the country.
The disappointment and the frustration we see in many parts of the country are the direct result of the Prime Minister hindering the progress of provinces already struggling with global resource prices, a range of issues, pipeline challenges. They have seen a government that has had policy decision after policy decision holding them back. That is how the Prime Minister started.
I spoke about this in my speech four years ago, in January, 2016. I spoke about how disappointed I was that the Prime Minister talked about diversity except for recognizing the economic diversity that our country had. In the Prime Minister's first speech abroad as the Canadian prime minister, at Davos in January 2016, he said, “My predecessor wanted you to know Canada for its resources. I want you to know Canadians for our resourcefulness.”
What was disturbing was that only a few minutes after he went to an international forum, he essentially attacked his predecessor. What mades it worse was afterward the Prime Minister's Office changed the speech to take out the reference the Prime Minister made to his predecessor and to just put “Canada” in the quote in the official record. We know press releases often will say “check against delivery”. The Prime Minister delivered something that he should not have delivered. More important than the slight against the previous prime minister was the fact that he mocked the resource industry in Canada in his first remark at Davos. That is division.
I said at the outset that I was going to look to quotations for guidance much like the throne speech used in the Pearson speech. Here is a quote I used four years ago, which rings even more true today, from Robert Stanfield in March, 1969. He said, “Let us be quite clear that national unity does not mean uniting most of Canada against part of it.” What wise words when the division in the country at that time was caused by a Trudeau, Pierre Trudeau, and I can say that safely in the House.
We see that in practice from the present Prime Minister from his first speech at Davos, playing off resourcefulness and the resource sector as if steam-assisted gravity drainage and the ability of our oil sands to minimize the mining operations, minimize water usage and minimize greenhouse gas, those innovations somehow did not count to the Prime Minister.
The resourcefulness of our resource sector and the capital markets that developed in Canada as a result of our resources have given us the new dimensions of welfare that Lester Pearson talked about on the eve of Canada's centennial.
What has the Prime Minister done in four years to cause this national unity crisis?
After the Davos speech, there was the cancellation, unilaterally, of northern gateway; no consultations with the one-third owners, indigenous communities; and zero consultations before taking that opportunity away from them. There was the cancellation of energy east as a result of Bill C-69, which is still being brought up in question period today. Why? Because the majority of the country opposed that legislation, including my premier. With respect to Trans Mountain, the company withdrew because of a lack of confidence in Canada. We had Bill C-48, the tanker moratorium, and the 2016 Arctic ban where unilaterally the Prime Minister took away 17% of the landmass from Inuit and northerners to develop.
In fact, previous Liberal Senator Charlie Watt said this about the Prime Minister's unilateral action in Washington:
There have never been clear consultations. As a matter of fact, when the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of Canada made that decision, we were not too happy. Without even coming to us, they just turned around and said, “This is what's going to happen.”
That is not exactly reconciliation.
We can see why Canadians are upset. What is missing from the Throne Speech is a recognition that Canada can and must balance our economic diversity. This means getting our resources to market. It means prioritizing pipelines. It means ending the divisive Bill C-69. That is what we want to see from the Prime Minister.