By Tim Kalinowski on January 23, 2021.
Lethbridge Member of Parliament Rachael Harder says the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline represents a failure in leadership for Prime Minister Trudeau, but stopped short of endorsing punitive sanctions against the United States over the decision – despite calls to do so from Premier Jason Kenney.
“Of course Mr. Kenney has a responsibility to defend Alberta,” states Harder when asked what the Conservative Party of Canada would do about the U.S. decision if it were in government.
“And, of course, I wish him all the best in his endeavours in doing that. At the federal level, our responsibility is to put forward a grand vision for the entire country from coast to coast. And we have stated over and over again, and we continue to stand by, our position: and that is, energy has a place in this country. It is the greatest contributor to our GDP, and it will continue to be so for quite some time.
“Let’s face it,” she added, “natural resources, and in particular energy, is the lifeblood of this country. It is the fuel to life. It is what allows us to drive our vehicles, go to work and heat our homes. It is out of petroleum products that we are able to create shoes and glasses, and chairs, and desks, and computers and phones. Let’s not kid ourselves; we need the energy sector. And as the Conservative Party of Canada, we are going to do all we can to protect the energy sector, and to protect those who work in the sector.”
While acknowledging the ultimate decision for cancelling the pipeline’s expansion into Canada rests with President Joe Biden, who was clear on the campaign trail for the past year on what he would do on this issue if elected, Harder says Trudeau should have done more to advance this cause with Biden prior to the president’s inauguration.
“It’s a huge blow to Canadians,” Harder states.
“It is very sad. I would even go so far as to say it is an insult. It is extremely devastating to the nation of Canada. In particular, we are talking about people and their livelihoods, their jobs, but we are also talking about an industry which supports this country from coast to coast. And it is an industry we have, traditionally, been quite proud of. Unfortunately, the prime minister did absolutely nothing to advocate for Canadians. And it is absolutely shameful.”
“The prime minister has said in the past that he supports the energy sector,” she adds, “and he even took taxpayer money and put it toward the TMX, but then when he had an opportunity (prior to the inauguration) to fight for the industry, when he had an opportunity to fight for Canadians, he didn’t even do so much as pick up the phone and call, at the time, President-Elect Biden.”
Harder says the failure to get this pipeline built and approved shows how little effort, in her opinion, the prime minister put into this file.
“He simply doesn’t care about Canadian energy workers, and the well-being of this country; and, in particular, Western Canada,” she states. “The United States of America are our largest trading partner, and we should do all we can to maintain a positive relationship with them. And that means that, at times, in order to protect that relationship, in order to advance that relationship, you have difficult conversations. And Trudeau just fails to have a spine to do that, and it’s Canadians who are, ultimately, put on the hook.”
On a side note, Harder says further evidence for the questionable decision-making of the prime minister is the fiasco surrounding his hand-picked, now former, Governor General Julie Payette, who resigned under a cloud of scandal earlier this week after only three years as Canada’s vice-regal.
“In 2012 there was a process put in place by which a non-partisan group would choose the GG,” she says. “And it would be an appointment process that wouldn’t involve partisan politics. That is great, and it should have been upheld. Unfortunately, Trudeau decided to snub that process, and went ahead and appointed a friend. So he put his friend in place, and his friend failed miserably, but that responsibility rests on the shoulders of Trudeau. Because as the prime minister, he decided to ignore the process that was previously in place.”
Harder says Trudeau’s choice of Payette for Governor General was a “massive mistake” pretty much from the beginning.
“It’s colossal in nature,” she states, “it is extremely sad, and, quite frankly, it’s embarrassing.”
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