Since he first came to power in 2015, Justin Trudeau has willfully ignored the needs of Western Canada.
When he was sworn-in as Prime Minister, he inherited an economy with a thriving energy sector set for expansion. Projects like Energy East, TransMountain, and Northern Gateway promised new opportunities for energy sector workers and communities across the country. Enter Justin Trudeau, stage left.
Trudeau quickly began to dismantle these projects and squash any hope for future ones. First, he began moving the regulatory goal posts for projects that had already been approved, like Energy East and Northern Gateway. When they couldn’t meet his arbitrary, impossible standards, they were either rejected or forced to withdraw their proposals. Then he brought in Bill C-69, also known as the no-more-pipelines bill, to essentially regulate out the possibility of future pipelines. Now, Northern Gateway and Energy East are off the table, and TransMountain has been floundering for years.
Next came the carbon tax, which has squashed our international competitiveness at a time when our energy sector is already being destroyed under the force of Justin Trudeau’s ideological agenda. But it wasn’t just the energy sector that felt the pressure of the carbon tax. Poor weather conditions have meant tough harvest conditions for farmers, particularly here in Saskatchewan. When they begged for relief from the carbon tax for farm fuels used to dry their crops, Justin Trudeau went forward with his plan to raise the tax anyway.
We can’t forget the small businesses that drive our economy either—even at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when most businesses were closed and guaranteed to struggle for the foreseeable future, the Liberals moved forward with an increase to the carbon tax anyway. This same carbon tax increase applied to workers and their families—even when millions of Canadians were being laid off or were out of work because of COVID-19, the carbon tax came in and increased the cost of living. At a time when Western Canada was already facing significant challenges, the Trudeau Liberals just keep making life more expensive.
This speech was an opportunity for Justin Trudeau to show leadership and present the country with a clear path forward. Western Canadians were indeed hoping for something in Justin Trudeau’s throne speech that they would show the federal government has a plan to help and support Western Canada not just now, but going forward. Western Canada got nothing.
Nowhere in that nearly hour-long speech did the government promise any support to grow our oil and gas sector, get pipelines built, or help the thousands of workers who rely on these crucial industries get back to work. Not one policy promised in his new throne speech will provide any relief to the thousands of Canadian farmers who continue to struggle under the weight of his carbon tax. In fact, agriculture wasn’t even mentioned once.
When he spoke with the Prime Minister in August, Erin O’Toole stressed how important it was that the government not forget about Western Canada and the importance of national unity. It was the first thing he talked about. Justin Trudeau could not commit any time in his speech to show Western Canadians that he cares about their issues or concerns. The Liberals just don’t care about Western Canada.
The role of government should be to create the conditions for its citizens to thrive and its economy to prosper. Saskatchewan, now more than ever, needs a government and a Prime Minister that will allow us to do just that. We need a Conservative government under Prime Minister Erin O’Toole.