Foothills Focus #14, Feb. 16, 2016
A new beginning
It is certainly a new perspective as the 42nd Parliament in Canada began in December 2015, as I took my seat as a member of Her Majesty’s Loyal Official Opposition.
Although we are no longer Government, I am proud of what we accomplished under Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Certainly we were not perfect, but Mr. Harper was an incredible leader leaving our country in an envious position. Canada was one of the most respected countries in the world, we had one of the strongest economies in the G-7 coming out of the global recession, we played a prominent role globally especially in the fight against ISIS, our low tax plan resulted in the lowest tax burden on Canadian families in 50 years and we left Canada in solid position with a $400 million surplus.
It was an impressive track record, but now our job is to hold the new Liberal government to account and we are taking this job extremely seriously. In fact, I am proud of the tone we have set in such a short time. In fact, I firmly believe we have the potential to be the strongest Official Opposition in Canadian Parliamentary history, especially under the guidance of interim leader Rona Ambrose, who has done a phenomenal job thus far.
On a personal note, I was honoured to have earned the confidence of the Leader of the Official Opposition to be named Deputy Critic for Employment, Workforce Development and Labour and to be elected vice-chair of the Standing Committee on Natural Resources.
These are a critical roles, and ones of which I am extremely proud. Ms. Ambrose said she was looking for someone to be a champion for Alberta and the thousands of Albertans who have lost their jobs due to the devastating downturn in the resource sector.
The job losses in the oil and gas sector have been profound, but the policies of the federal Liberal government and the provincial New Democrat government have been crippling for Alberta and things are only getting worse.
As a result, I have spoken in the House of Commons and in the local and national media about the need for a national strategy to get Albertans back to work and to support our vital resource sector.
Unfortunately, Prime Minister Trudeau has gone a different direction deciding to add more bureaucracy and regulations to the pipeline process delaying critical infrastructure such as Energy East indefinitely. His quest for additional consultation and a Cabinet veto means these projects could be in limbo for months perhaps years and his answer will likely be the same – No.
What we need is leadership, leadership to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our resource sector and if a proposal meets the extensive regulatory process currently in place and, it is deemed good for Canada, it can proceed.
We should embrace the gifts we have been given regarding our natural resources – it is our economic engine, it is an industry we are renowned for world-wide and we have been phenomenal stewards of these resources.
Instead, we have provincial and federal government’s intent on listening to foreign-funded lobby groups who are determined to see Canada falter.
It is sad and I will continue to work tirelessly for the best interests of Albertans and Canada.
Now our Liberal government is reneging on its campaign promise of accountable and transparent government.
With the job crisis in Alberta it is extremely frustrating that the top priority for our new Employment minister is to repeal three pieces of legislation whose very foundation is accountability and transparent.
The minister tabled Bill C-4 to repeal two Conservative bills imposing transparency on unions to make their financial records public and allow secret ballots on union business.
I have debated the merits of accountability and transparency in unions and it was incredible to hear the Liberals argue secret ballots are undemocratic and are an added level of red tape. Secret ballots are a hallmark of our democracy and it is a further example of the Liberal’s distaste for our democratic institutions.
It is a disturbing trend.
In addition, the Minister of Indigenous Affairs has already stated she will repeal the First Nations Transparency Act, which forced First Nations to publicize their financials including the salaries of chief and council. This is something First Nations people wanted and supported.
Also, the Liberal government has stated it will not have a referendum on electoral reform. When you are changing a pillar on the foundation of our democracy, changing how your vote is counted, EVERY Canadian deserves a say.
So much for transparent and accountable government.
Please sign my e-petition asking the Liberal government to hold a referendum on electoral reform.
If you would like to see the speeches and questions I have made in the House on these issues, click on the link below.
I have four communities competing for Kraft Hockeyville this year including Okotoks, Millarville, Pincher Creek and Redwood Meadows.
Good luck to all of them and please let me know of your events so we can promote them via social media.
Okotoks has some events coming up including:
Feb 20: 7 pm – 9:30 pm Okotoks Junior A Oilers game at Pason Centennial Arena
Feb 21: 11 am – 4pm: Winter Carnival at Pason Centennial Arena
Post hockey photos, videos and stories on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Posts have to contain #khv_pasoncentarena
• My focus after Christmas has been travelling through the riding meeting with municipal councils to discuss their priorities regarding infrastructure projects. Access to high speed internet has been top priority to many of the municipalities I have met with thus far. As a result, my colleagues and I are establishing a task force in hopes of working with the Liberal government to provide assistance to bring high speed internet to rural communities. I will keep you up-to-date on this issue moving forward.
• The Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Okotoks to discuss their projects.
• I attended the announcement of the new Okotoks branding initiative entitled Join the Innovation.
• I have met with councils in Pincher Creek, Fort MacLeod, Claresholm, Crowsnest Pass, Willow Creek, MD of Pincher Creek, Cardston, MD of Foothills, Black Diamond,
• Spoke at the opening of the Habitat for Humanity homes in High River
• Attended the Potentate evening for Byron Nelson at the Al Azhar Shriners in Calgary
• Met with Syrian refugee families in High River
• Attended pre-budget roundtable in Calgary with Rona Ambrose and several other regional MPs.
• Attended fibre-optic internet service meeting in Priddis
• Read to students at Spitzee School in High River for Literacy Week
• Attended the Stockman’s Dinner in High River
• Met with the new chair of the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association
• Met with Canadian dairy farmers in Ottawa including Conrad Van Hierden from Fort Macleod
• Helped the teachers at Okotoks Junior High School defeat the students in their annual hockey game
• Met with stakeholders in Brocket to discuss a homeless shelter project
• Participated in the annual Millarville outdoor charity hockey tournament
• Joined the Spoilers to play the Okotoks Timbits for Kraft Hockeyville
• Played in the Canal Classic as MPs took on the media in an event for Canadian Tire’s Jumpstart programme
• On January 25, I had a speech on the response to the Speech from the Throne
• On Feb. 5, I spoke against Bill C-4 which guts accountability and transparency from unions including secret ballots