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Track Blake

Your Say


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is liberal.

Conservative MP for Banff—Airdrie (Alberta)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 63% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Housing November 9th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, first, the Liberals made it more difficult for Canadians to qualify for a mortgage, and taking away the dream of home ownership from thousands of first-time buyers. Now they are tacking on even more costs, adding thousands of dollars in expenses when Canadians build, sell, or renovate their homes. As the Canadian Home Builders' Association said, when talking about $30,000, $40,000, or $50,000, our concern will always be about what this means for affordability.

Why are the Liberals making home ownership more expensive for middle-class Canadians, while owners of fancy French villas are let off the hook?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns November 3rd, 2017

With regard to sponsored social media posts (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) by the government, including those put out by agencies, Crown Corporations, and other government entities, since November 4, 2015: (a) what amount has been spent on sponsored posts; (b) what is the description and purpose of each sponsored post; and (c) for each sponsored post, what are the details, including (i) date, (ii) analytic data, views and reach, (iii) details of demographics targeted?

Housing November 3rd, 2017

Mr. Speaker, imagine senior citizens who have worked hard their whole life and are ready to start the next chapter in retirement. Their kids have moved out, they are empty nesters, and they want to sell their houses and downsize. Now the Liberals want to make people pay more for that too. New building code requirements will require them to complete costly mandatory renovations when they sell their houses.

Why do the Liberals want to ruin the retirement plans of middle-class Canadian seniors?

Committees of the House October 16th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member's lecture. I would like to say that it was informative, but I really cannot say that. I hope she satisfied her own need to provide a lecture to the House.

In some odd, convoluted way, I suppose she has a point in saying that the energy east pipeline itself would not have allowed us to serve energy needs. Of course not. However, the refinery that was being proposed would have. Unfortunately, that is the kind of thing we see dead as the result of this decision.

Yes, it was a business decision, but it was a decision based on the endless changes to the regulatory process, which were designed by the government, and I do not exaggerate in saying this, to try to prevent our oil and gas from getting to market. That is what they were designed to do. I thank the member for the opportunity to highlight that once again. I thank the member for the opportunity to highlight just how wrong she is. I thank the member for the opportunity to remind the government how wrong it is in trying to kill our energy industry and in making sure that the thousands of Albertans and Canadians who are out of work remain so, for continuing to inflict harm on our local economies and local communities as a result, and for the damage that then does to the environment as a result of our far more environmentally friendly oil.

I would challenge the member who asked the question to stand up and indicate if she believes that our oil is not more environmentally friendly than it is in places like Saudi Arabia and others. That is a question she should be answering. It is a question the government should be answering, because I cannot understand why it would want to see that oil being produced, rather than ours, to feed the world's energy needs and help the environment in the process.

Committees of the House October 16th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, the member raises a great point. I want to pay tribute to her work as well on this. I know how hard she works to try to make sure we are championing our economy, environment, and energy products. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the Prime Minister. She is absolutely correct that his efforts here are all about the comments he made. He wants to see the end of oil sands and our energy industry in this country. Why that is, one cannot even begin to guess. It is a shame.

As I have said, this is a great opportunity for us to improve, not only our economy but the environment. The Prime Minister does not seem to get it. He does not seem to care. It is really sad to watch. I believe the member is right. His attempts here are not just about a moratorium on tanker traffic, they are about trying to prevent our energy industry from being able to move forward, develop, and create those great outcomes for our economy, communities, and our environment. It is sad.

Committees of the House October 16th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, it is important that we have a process that is fair and ensures we make the right decisions. There is no question about that. Yes, the decision could be one way or it could be the other. There is no doubt about that. I firmly believe that if we have a fair process in this country, one that ensures that opportunity is given for a project to succeed if it is in fact environmentally friendly and good for our economy, then these projects would be able to move forward. I know how hard our energy industry in this country works to try to make sure that environmental outcomes are world class. There is no doubt in my mind about that.

I firmly believe that a fair process would yield those approvals and see our economy and environment improved. That is what I would hope to see.

Committees of the House October 16th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, what is necessary is that we have someone stand up in this country for our energy sector, for the people who are suffering, to stand up to make sure our economy is strong, and to make sure we have a good solid environment. The Liberal government is failing at all of those things.

I will not apologize for standing in this place on behalf of my constituents who are hurting and suffering as a result of the actions of this Prime Minister and the Liberal government. I must stand up and do that. That is my job, and I will do it to the best of my abilities. I hope that the government over there is listening and will start straightening things out, so we can get our energy products to market, improve environmental outcomes, and improve our economy in the process. I really hope it is listening.

Committees of the House October 16th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I want to talk a little about the effects that will be had by this moratorium, and obviously why this consultation is so important. I have to go back and start with the big picture.

I think the sole desire of the Prime Minister is to be like his daddy. Everything he does is centred around that. That is why we have the situation with what I would call the second version of the national energy program. That is what he has done with his changes. I will get into that in more detail.

So far we are seeing that his second version to try to be like daddy actually will result in him accomplishing what his dad did not quite do. He almost killed the oil patch in our country. He did not quite succeed because he did not realize how resilient, tough, and strong Albertans were. However, he put them through an unbelievably difficult time. It was a situation at a time when people by the thousands were being put out of work by the combination of the interest rates being what they were and having to go to the bank and literally hand over the keys to their homes. That was what the Prime Minister's father did to my province and to the people in it. He did not quite succeed in killing us off. We came back stronger than ever. The Prime Minister is going to do whatever he can to try to finish the job. That is what he is trying to accomplish.

If we look at the situation in my province right now, it is not good. A lot of people are out of work. I had some events on the weekend. A number of people came to me and said that they had not been able to work for some time. They were wondering what could be done or was there any way to get rid of the government right now without having to wait for an election in two years. They did not see any prospects or any hope for the future with the government in place. I told them we would be fighting for them and working hard to ensure we would see that change in government. However, we did not have the leverage that could magically replace the Prime Minister right now, as much as they would like to see it.

The damage he is doing, and has already done, is immense. That is why people are concerned with the situation.

The Prime Minister has put in place this moratorium on tanker traffic off the B.C. coast, rejecting pipeline projects that could have been very beneficial for our energy industry across the country. The government continually changes the goal posts. Let us not make any mistake about it. When the goal posts are continually changing, the real goal is to try to ensure that projects do not proceed. We saw that happen, the very tangible result of that when the energy east project be pulled.

I know the Prime Minister and other Liberals will try to claim that this is somehow the result of a business decision by the proponent, TransCanada pipelines. It was a business decision, but it was based on a fact that it was in such an uncertain regulatory environment created by the government by continually changing the goal posts about how one could have a project approved, about trying to set conditions to approvals that would be impossible to meet. It made a business decision that it could not move forward with the project because the government did not want to let that happen. There is no point in throwing billions of dollars into trying to get through a process that is clearly designed to fail. That is the bottom line. That is what it is doing.

I want to get a bit more in to what the results of that mean. What I will do is start with a column I recently wrote for my local newspapers. I want to read it into the record of the House. It summarizes it quite well. Then I will expand on each of those points. I will not use the name, but what it indicates is that the “[The Prime Minister] Fails on Energy, Environment and Economy.” That is the headline.

I will get into each of those points in more detail, but I will start by reading this because it is very informative. I wish a few more Liberals were in the House to hear it, but maybe the ones who are here will let their friends know and perhaps they will change course. I do not know, but let us hope. It says:

I believe in supporting Canada’s energy sector. The industry creates thousands of middle-class jobs and is a major boost to our economy. The success of Canada’s economy depends heavily on our energy sector. Most Albertans either work in, or have friends and family members that work in the industry.

[The Prime Minister] claims he supports Canada’s energy sector and our middle-class. Yet the announcement today that the Energy East Pipeline would be cancelled is just the opposite of what the Prime Minister claims. Make no mistake: this decision by TransCanada is a result of the [Prime Minister's]...mismanagement and failure to champion our energy sector.

The Prime Minister says he supports pipelines but the reality is that he puts petty partisan politics ahead of sound economic decisions. [The Prime Minister] showed his poor judgment in 2016 when he claimed to “approve” two pipelines, but in reality it was the regulator who approved three and the Prime Minister rejected one. The rejection of Northern Gateway in 2016 was foreshadowing of the...Liberals’ attitude towards our energy sector.

Under our previous Conservative government, Northern Gateway was approved and construction would have started if the Liberals had not placed a moratorium on the transportation of crude oil by B.C. tankers. Northern Gateway would have created thousands of well-paying middle-class jobs in Canada...

What would Energy East have contributed? The project would have created 15,000 well-paying middle-class jobs and put $55 billion into the Canadian economy. Energy East also would have been more environmentally friendly, as it would have reduced Canadian dependency on foreign oil imports. All of this would have benefited the middle-class, the people that the...Liberals always claim to be trying to help, and would have made a positive impact on our environment.

The effects that Energy East would have had on our local community would have been enormous, by creating tens of thousands of well-paying jobs. Our local small businesses (the same ones that the Prime Minister and Finance Minister call tax cheats) would have benefited greatly from the increased economic activity, growing our communities and providing more opportunities for our families and friends. This is the bigger picture that the...Liberals fail to see time after time. They claim to have the best interest of middle-class Canadians but their actions do not back up their words.

As we have seen over the past two years, everything becomes a disaster the minute this Prime Minister becomes involved. We cannot depend on this government to protect or champion our vital energy sector or our economy. The [Liberal] government has failed on energy, the environment and the economy.

I want to get into that a little further and explain exactly how the Liberals have failed on energy, the environment, and the economy.

First, with regard to energy, we have oil and gas in our country in such great abundance. We have all the oil and gas we could possibly need to meet all our energy demands and to provide energy, and I will point out very environmentally friendly energy, to the world. All we need is access to other parts of our country and to tidewater and we could provide environmentally friendly energy all over the world. Is our energy perfect in terms of its environmental record? No, it is not perfect, but it is certainly far better than, I would argue, anywhere else in the world. Our energy industry always works hard to try to improve upon its environmental performance and environmental record. It always looks at ways to innovate and make that record even stronger.

When we compare that to some of the places we get our oil and gas from now, like Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and other countries of that sort, is anyone going to claim that is better for meeting our energy needs? Is anyone going to claim that is somehow better for the environment? Is it better to bring tankers into Canada rather than sending them out? I cannot imagine how anyone could reasonably and legitimately make that argument, but people do. It is unbelievable.

We are wasting the opportunity to bring our energy to other parts of the country while making sure we are feeding our own energy needs and improving environmental outcomes. How can anyone argue with that? It amazes me that we are even having this debate.

We talk about getting our energy and our oil to tidewater. We would have the opportunity to do that if the government would quit trying to prevent it. The Liberals can pretend all they want, but we know the reality. TransCanada confirmed that for us. If anyone had any doubt, TransCanada was direct evidence of it, and that is the kind of thing we are going to see under the Liberal government.

The Prime Minister might be able to succeed where his daddy could not quite get the job done. He might be able to make sure that our environment is worse off. He might be able to make sure that our energy industry is ruined. He might be able to harm our economy irreparably. That will be his record. That will be his legacy. I cannot imagine anyone being proud of it, but for some reason that seems to be the goal of the present Prime Minister.

What does the Prime Minister have to say to the thousands of people all across this country, particularly those in my province of Alberta who are out of work? I cannot imagine what he could possibly say to them to explain his actions. It is so obvious that getting our oil and gas to markets in other parts of Canada, in other parts of the world, would benefit our economy, put so many people back to work, and, in the process, help our environment. How can anyone argue against that? It is a perfect outcome. We need to be championing that. That is what should be done. Instead, we have a Prime Minister who either does not get it or does not care. It is probably both. It truly is sad, and that is the only word I have for it.

I think about the failure of our economy. Getting these products to market alone would create tens of billions of dollars in economic activity and thousands and thousands of jobs. How much impact would that in itself have on our economy? It would be immeasurable, but that does not even factor in to some of the side benefits.

When I am in my constituency, I see the effects of the many unemployed people on my local communities, on our economy. All businesses throughout a community are affected, whether they be restaurants, hotels, retail shops, anything that serves our community. All of them are suffering. I talk to restaurant owners and owners of retail shops who tell me they are struggling, that they are just trying to keep the doors open. They are lucky they say because they have been able to keep their doors open and been able to keep most employees, but it is tough. These owners are basically not taking any income for themselves. They are just trying to keep the doors open and their people employed.

On a side note, what does the government do in return for those people? It calls them tax cheats. It tries to go after more of their money, grabs their wallets, and digs out every last bit in them. It tries to prevent them from reinvesting in their businesses to keep going and keep people employed. That is what the government does as a result. It says thanks so much for trying to keep people employed, people who are suffering, but then it gives them a couple of kicks while they are down, grabbing their wallets, and calling them tax cheats while they are at it. That is what the Liberal government does. However, that is as a side note.

Businesses are suffering, and I can give a number of examples. There is one business owner I know who was running a family business that was in business for years, probably longer than I have been alive in fact, and guess what. Because of the economic conditions, it had to shut its doors. That is one example, though I know there are many out there. Those are the kinds of results for local economies, particularly in my province.

Therefore, what does it mean for businesses like the one I just described, which have been great supporters of initiatives in their communities, whether it be charities, local sports teams, or local events? They are the first to step forward and contribute to causes. When they go out of business, all of the great community causes, such as local sports teams, do not get the opportunities. It is a community band, or maybe a local cadet squadron that has a trip planned to visit a site from one of the world wars where Canadians fought so courageously and gave their lives, but they cannot quite raise the funds to do it. That takes away opportunities for our youth to show their appreciation and learn. That is the result on our economy and on communities.

I also want to talk about the effect that this has on the environment. When we do not get our energy to market, not only does our economy suffer, do people in our communities suffer, not only do we lose the opportunity for our own resources to be used in Canada and all around the world, but, as a result, that does damage to our environment. We hear the Liberal government claim all the time that the energy sector, the environment and the economy, go hand in hand. I do not know if the government thinks that means it should try to make sure both of them are worse off, because that is what it seems like. When our energy products do not get to market, instead of bringing oil in from places like Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, or wherever it might be, it means that the oil we receive is less environmentally friendly than the oil we are producing right here in Canada, which we are continually trying to improve every day.

We have a government that is doing everything it can to make sure our pipeline projects cannot be built, that our energy cannot get to market and, in the process, it is harming our economy, our energy sector, our communities, and our environment. All of those things are worse off because of the Prime Minister and the Liberal government, and they are getting worse by the day. The government does not seem to care and does not seem to get it, and that is sad. That is, in fact, pathetic.

I hope that the Liberals will think twice, change their course, and realize we can do so much for our economy and the environment if we can get our energy products to market. That is why this study and the opportunity for people to be heard on this issue are so important. For the government to shut down debate on second reading after a couple of hours and not provide an opportunity for Canadians, people in my province who are suffering and communities that are hurting, to have their say and tell the government of its terrible actions is truly an atrocity.

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day October 3rd, 2017

Mr. Speaker, on October 15, Canada observes Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. This day helps us remember the lives of all infants who were taken from their families too soon. It also encourages support and compassion for parents who have suffered this tragedy.

Sarah and Lee Cormier of Airdrie told me about losing their daughter, Quinn, at four months of age from SIDS. Shortly after, Service Canada told the Cormiers that they had to pay back their parental benefits for the time period after Quinn's passing. Families may not have even had time to lay their child to rest before being forced to return to work, due to financial hardships. I have since met many families who face the same problems, highlighting a serious flaw in our system.

Therefore, I put forward Motion No. 110 to have the government look for better ways to support and show compassion for bereaved parents. Parents are already grieving, and they should not have to suffer any further due to government regulations. We all need to ensure that no more Canadians have to go through what the Cormiers did.

I encourage all MPs to support Motion No. 110 and show their support for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.

Taxation September 27th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, today is World Tourism Day. As we all know, tourism is one of the most important sectors in the Canadian economy. This is especially true in my riding of Banff—Airdrie. Tourism is a $90-billion-per-year industry and accounts for one in every 11 jobs in Canada.

Most tourism operations are small businesses, the backbone of the Canadian economy. Nearly 10% of small and medium-size businesses in Canada operate in tourism. Over the past month, I have heard from hundreds of tourism operators, such as campground owners, who are concerned and outraged that the Liberals are branding them as millionaire tax cheats and comparing them to Marie Antoinette. Tourism depends on factors outside their control to be successful. These tax changes will make it harder for Canadians working in tourism to save for a rainy day or to plan for their financial futures. We should be doing everything possible to lessen their tax burden, not to increase it.

Today, on World Tourism Day, the Liberals should do the right thing to help ensure the viability of tourism operations by cancelling the proposed small-business tax increases.