By Lethbridge Herald Opinon on December 6, 2019.
Ethics and accountability need to be restored
On Thursday my colleagues and I returned to the House of Commons where we got our first look at Justin Trudeau’s minority government. Serving as the Official Opposition, Conservatives stand united and well-positioned to hold the Liberal government to account.
Under the leadership of Andrew Scheer, we have grown in number to 121 seats in the House of Commons and have added many strong members to our caucus. Having won the popular vote, we know the majority of Canadians support conservative principles and policies – they want their government to function with integrity, have a positive and unifying vision for the country, steward tax dollars, reduce taxes and facilitate economic prosperity.
In the 43rd session of Parliament, our main priority as the Official Opposition is to unify Canadians and heal divisions caused by the irresponsible decisions of Prime Minister Trudeau. We are seeing the results of Trudeau’s divisive leadership through a resurgence of the Bloc Quebecois and a growing separatist sentiment in western Canada.
It is a government’s role to ensure that Canadians of all regions, ages and backgrounds can confidently plan for a vibrant future where they, their children and their grandchildren will be able to thrive. Canada’s Conservatives are committed to fighting for this result.
First and foremost, ethics and accountability need to be restored to government by introducing stronger penalties in the Conflict of Interest Act. Justin Trudeau is the first and only prime minister in Canadian history to be found guilty of breaking ethics laws. The Liberals promised they would be accountable and ethical. Instead, time and time again, Trudeau has used the power of his office to enrich himself, reward his friends, and punish his critics. A higher ethical standard must be established, and parliamentarians must be held to greater account.
Furthermore, all parties must work together to repair our economic footing as a country. The Liberal government must return to a balanced budget, lower your taxes, draw investment into our country, and create opportunity for entrepreneurs and innovators to succeed so that jobs are created, and economic prosperity is enjoyed by all.
This government must keep Canada united and strong. One of the best ways to do that is to launch a task force to study the establishment of a national energy corridor, which could bring Ontario and Quebec hydroelectricity to new markets, open opportunities for Western Canadian oil and gas, and connect rural communities in Atlantic Canada and the North.
Trudeau needs to get the energy and forestry sectors back to work. My colleagues and I will be encouraging the government to prioritize the negotiation of a new softwood lumber agreement with the United States and to table a detailed plan to support our energy sector.
Pipelines need to be built so we can stop relying on blood oil from Saudi Arabia, where human rights don’t exist and environmental protection isn’t even a thought. In order to draw investment into our natural resource sector, steward our environment, and ensure that Indigenous communities are given opportunity to advance themselves economically, Bills C-48 and C-69 must be repealed and the Trans Mountain expansion project must move forward.
The development of Canadian oil and gas is critical not only to the success of Alberta, but to the success of our country. When our energy sector thrives, high-paying jobs are created and billions of dollars of generated revenue result in new hospitals, schools, roads and recreational facilities. Every region of our country benefits when Canada’s natural resource sector is supported.
Moreover, we need to advance our place on the world stage and seek new export markets. Canada used to be one of the most respected countries in the G20 and enjoyed a positive relationship with the world’s next economic superpower, India. We need to get back to that place of favour and respect on the world stage and once again stand shoulder to shoulder with our allies.
It is of utmost importance that we diversify our export markets and establish positive relationships with new trading partners like Indonesia and other Asian Pacific countries. Here in Lethbridge, where our economy largely relies on agriculture, the advancement of trade is vital. Agriculture is our superpower and our producers deserve to be advocated for by Canada’s prime minister.
The House of Commons will remain in session until Dec. 13, upon which time we will return to our ridings to spend the holidays with our constituents. I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible when I’m out and about at various events throughout the community.
Rachael Harder is the Conservative MP for Lethbridge. Her column appears monthly.