By Lethbridge Herald Opinon on December 7, 2018.
At the G20 summit on the weekend the prime minster talked about the so-called “social impacts” that male construction workers have on rural areas.
He suggested that hard-working, blue-collared men are dangerous and a threat to the well-being of rural communities.
We happen to have a lot of those men in the riding of Lethbridge, so let’s talk about the real “impacts” they have.
They leave tips for our servers, barbers and drivers.
They fill up their trucks at our gas stations, buy coffee at the local Tim Hortons, and get their work clothes from Park Place mall.
They take care of their families, pay their taxes and build the roads, bridges, schools and hospitals that we rely on each and every day.
Many of these men have lost their jobs in the oil and gas industry and have been forced to re-start their lives. They’re not asking for a handout, just a little respect from the prime minister.
Signing off on one or two pipeline projects wouldn’t hurt either. The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion seems like a reasonable place to start.
While Trudeau is committed to demonizing the oil industry and those working within it, the fact is, Canada’s oil and gas sector has created high-quality, good-paying jobs for Canadians from coast to coast for decades.
But the creation of jobs isn’t the only reason to build the Trans Mountain pipeline.
Canada needs pipelines because we are competing with countries around the world to be the first to find a buyer for our product.
There are only two methods for shipping large quantities of oil across the country: trains or pipelines. It not only costs more to ship oil by train, but it’s also more dangerous than using pipelines. The odds of a train spilling oil vs. a pipeline leaking are 4-1. However, due to inadequate pipeline supply, the use of trains to transport oil has skyrocketed.
Pipelines are the most environmentally responsible way to transport our commodity to market and generate revenue, which results in provincial and federal tax dollars. Those tax dollars are what pay for the hospitals we visit when a loved one is ill, the schools our children attend, and the roads on which we drive.
Two weeks ago, when Trudeau landed in Calgary to speak to the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, he was confronted by more than 2,000 protesters calling on him to “build that pipe.”
You’ll recall that the prime minister spent more than $4.5 billion from the taxpayers’ purse to purchase the Trans Mountain pipeline and promised that this type of government interference would allow for construction to begin immediately.
To borrow from a famous Elvis Presley song, “well, that was just a lie.”
As a result of Trudeau’s failure, thousands of Canadians have lost their jobs and reports indicate that Alberta’s oilpatch is losing $80 million per day. Imagine the number of schools, hospitals, roads and bridges that could be built from the tax revenue generated from getting our commodity to market!
It’s no wonder the prime minister was met by thousands of protesters chanting “build that pipe.” Canadian taxpayers, particularly Albertans, are living in uncertainty, bracing for layoffs and anxiously waiting for Trudeau to resolve this crisis.
During this devastating time, my Conservative colleagues and I continue to call on Trudeau to take immediate steps to end this senseless disaster. Canadians deserve concrete action on this file. Alberta’s energy sector deserves to be restored to its former glory.
As you chant “build that pipe,” I am chanting with you.
Instead of trying to detract from his failure on the energy file by making the blanket statement that men have negative “social impacts” on rural communities, Trudeau should turn and look in the mirror.
The riding of Lethbridge, and indeed all of Canada, would benefit greatly if he addressed the problem staring back at him.
Rachael Harder is the Conservative MP for Lethbridge. Her column appears monthly.
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