The Trudeau Liberal government's campaign against energy is wreaking havoc on Western communities.
As a Member of Parliament, my priority is to fight for the wellbeing of my constituents. This means doing everything in my power to ensure there are plenty of good paying jobs available, economic opportunity for entrepreneurs, and the right resources available to build strong resilient families.
Though I've spent the past several months speaking with government and industry stakeholders to address this issue, 591 Regina workers will be losing their jobs on December 17, 2020—a week before Christmas. This is an all-too-familiar tale of the slow-moving car crash that has become Canada's natural resource policy, which has pushed jobs and capital away from our shores.
There is no question that this Liberal government has wreaked havoc on Western Canada's energy industry. Since they were first elected in 2015, several major projects have been cancelled including Energy East, Tech Frontier, and Énergie Saguenay, costing Canada's economy countless dollars in lost opportunity and incalculable job losses.
In addition to all the opportunity that was squandered, if these projects had gone through according to plan nearly 600 families in Regina likely wouldn't be job hunting at Christmas time. As a direct result of Liberal Bills like C-48 and C-69, less foreign investment has come to Canada's energy sector and more Canadians have invested in energy projects abroad.
This is the price Canada pays for the atmosphere of regulatory uncertainty established by this Liberal government. Investors, especially those in natural resource development, must see certainty and predictability in the tax and regulatory environment in order to invest in our country.
Regardless of how onerous the regulatory process or expensive the tax in question is, the private sector needs clear expectations and standards they can count on. When the goalposts are constantly moving and regulations are changed in a frequent and arbitrary fashion, investors no longer feel confident predicting what the government’s next move will be. We need to put a stop to this culture of uncertainty before we lose even more jobs.
Canada's world-class energy producers are best suited to lead the way on sustainability practices so that we can export those solutions to the world, but they can't invest in innovation without more certainty from the Federal government and increased export capacity.
We need to build more infrastructure to employ Canadian steel workers, energy workers, and bring more economic opportunity to energy producing regions of the country. Canada is not an island, and we cannot tackle climate change alone. Why should Canada suffocate our own resource development activities when other countries with inferior environmental records are lining up to supply global demand?
The solutions to climate change will not come from more taxes, banning oil tankers, or blocking rail lines. Our only hope to reverse the upward trend of global emissions is to invest in green innovations to make existing infrastructure more efficient.
We need to supercharge the market for energy alternatives like nuclear, geothermal, liquified natural gas, and biomass, while supporting oil and gas producers who maintain some of the highest standards in the world.
None of this change will occur under this Liberal government, which has made it clear the only way it knows how to address a problem is by inventing a new tax or changing rules for producers. When the next election is called, Canadians need to remember that these 591 Regina steel workers were victims of these punitive taxes and regulations, alongside the tens of thousands of energy workers already out of a job.
Warren Steinley is a Conservative MP for Regina-Lewvan.