Fight­ing for en­ergy is more than just a po­lit­i­cal fight

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - Opinion - Hon. An­drew Scheer Leader of Canada’s Con­ser­va­tives

Ed­i­tor:

I had one of the most in­spir­ing days of my po­lit­i­cal life this week in Nisku, Al­berta.

I was there as an end­less line of trucks rolled through town in a show of sup­port for Al­berta’s en­ergy sec­tor.

The con­voy stretched back al­most 22 kilo­me­tres, with hun­dreds of men and women mak­ing their voices heard loud and clear. Head­ing to a town­hall meet­ing to talk to these strug­gling work­ers, I got out of my car and walked the rest of the way.

It was emo­tional. There’s a lot of anger, and it’s jus­ti­fied. Peo­ple have lost jobs. Fam­i­lies have been bro­ken up. The pain is real, but it’s go­ing un­ad­dressed by Justin Trudeau’s gov­ern­ment.

That’s why so many hard­work­ing Cana­di­ans came out with a sin­gle mes­sage for Justin Trudeau: They don’t want his hand­outs. They want to go back to work.

I went to Al­berta this week to re­spond to this im­pas­sioned plea for help. I went to look these men and women in the eye, and tell them that we’re with them, and we’re fight­ing for them. Not just Con­ser­va­tives, but peo­ple from across the coun­try that un­der­stand how im­por­tant our en­ergy sec­tor is to Canada’s econ­omy. They’re not alone.

Ev­ery­one in Nisku un­der­stood why they were there, and why the sit­u­a­tion in Canada’s en­ergy sec­tor is so grim.

Justin Trudeau is try­ing to phase out their jobs. An in­dus­try that has sus­tained fam­i­lies and given them their liveli­hood for gen­er­a­tions is be­ing shut down by a prime min­is­ter who no longer hides his dis­dain for their work. In just three years, Trudeau has killed two ma­jor pipe­line projects, and thrown $4.5 bil­lion in tax­payer money into an­other that he can’t build. Mean­while, his gov­ern­ment’s Bill C-69 will put the en­ergy sec­tor out of busi­ness for good by en­sur­ing that no pipe­line project will see the light of day – ever again.

The con­se­quences of Trudeau’s dis­as­trous poli­cies are felt most strongly in Al­berta but will af­fect ev­ery part of Canada. Our na­tional econ­omy is los­ing bil­lions of dol­lars be­cause we don’t have enough pipe­line ca­pac­ity to get our re­sources to those who want to buy them. Cana­dian oil is now sell­ing at a ma­jor dis­count, cost­ing us jobs and in­vest­ment. That is why Al­berta’s gov­ern­ment took the dras­tic step of cut­ting pro­duc­tion, and why the ul­ti­mate re­spon­si­bil­ity for that move lies with Justin Trudeau. His pipe­line ve­toes, car­bon taxes and added red tape are the cause of this lack of pipe­line ca­pac­ity, and the dire con­se­quences that have fol­lowed.

The pros­per­ity that once flowed from Al­berta’s en­ergy sec­tor to com­mu­ni­ties across our coun­try is a dis­tant mem­ory un­der Justin Trudeau.

At the same time, all he’s of­fered suf­fer­ing work­ers and their fam­i­lies is a small gov­ern­ment hand­out. That money might feed fam­i­lies for a few weeks, but the pipe­lines that get Cana­dian en­ergy to mar­kets will feed us all for a gen­er­a­tion.

With Justin Trudeau dou­bling down on his de­struc­tive car­bon tax and re­ject­ing ev­ery at­tempt to re­vive strug­gling pipe­line projects, it is clear that he will never take any mean­ing­ful step to of­fer help.

That’s why I out­lined my Con­ser­va­tive plan to get out en­ergy sec­tor back on track. When Con­ser­va­tives form gov­ern­ment we are go­ing to can­cel the car­bon tax, and re­peal Bill C-69. But that’s just our first step. We will also es­tab­lish firm time­lines for pipe­line ap­provals, in­voke con­sti­tu­tional au­thor­ity to build ma­jor projects, and elim­i­nate for­eign in­ter­fer­ence in the ap­provals process.

Justin Trudeau has done his­toric dam­age to Canada’s en­ergy sec­tor. And af­ter this week, ev­ery­one un­der­stands that it’s go­ing to take a change of gov­ern­ment to put an end to this cri­sis and get our en­ergy sec­tor back to work.

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