June 23rd, 2024

MP Thomas reflects back on the year that was 2021

By Trevor Busch - Lethbridge Herald on December 28, 2021.

Herald photo by Trevor Busch Lethbridge MP Rachael Thomas looked back on issues locally, nationally and abroad during her annual year-end interview.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDtbusch@lethbridgeherald.com

Throughout the year many Canadian politicians were predicting 2021 would see an end to the COVID-19 pandemic. When that prognostication turned out to be pretty far off the mark, getting “back to normal” just wasn’t in the cards for Canadians.
Not even a “new normal.”
Reflecting on the odd year that was, Lethbridge MP Rachael Thomas highlighted efforts by the Conservative Party of Canada to investigate the circumstances of the fall of Afghanistan earlier this summer.
“I think in the short time that we’ve been back, I think one of our big successes has been calling for a special committee with regard to Afghanistan and what happened there with regards to U.S. and Canadian forces, and NATO forces, pulling out. Obviously there was a collapse, the Taliban went in. Now it’s running the country. The bad thing is there were many men and women who functioned as interpreters for us, for NATO, and unfortunately they got left behind, and now their lives are in jeopardy.”
Prime Minister Trudeau should have done more to assist the people of Afghanistan, argues Thomas, and calling a snap election wasn’t part of it.
“It’s interesting to me that Trudeau called an election on the very same day that the Taliban took over and formed what they would call a government and are now running the state. I don’t understand how a person can do that to be quite honest – how you can call an unnecessary election when Afghanistan is in absolute turmoil? And you have people that are losing, and many more who are inevitably going to lose, their lives at the hands of the Taliban. The prime minister could have done something, could have remained as a formed government and actually taken action, and instead he dissolved government and called an ’emergency election’.”
Thomas lambasted the Liberal’s efforts to pass Bill C-10 in the House, which was aimed at imposing regulations on social media companies and streaming giants, and raised the ire of rights activists.
“You’re talking about government censorship of the public square. That’s wrong. The Liberals made a determination that they wanted to assault the very rights and freedoms of Canadians within Section 2.B. of the Charter. As Conservatives we saw that, and we went to task holding the government to account and pointing out the mistakes in that piece of legislation. We put up a good fight, and we slowed it down to the point where it passed Parliament, but it wasn’t able to make it through the Senate prior to the election.”
Thomas suggests that over and above all other freedoms, freedom of expression is key, and attempts to limit this freedom should be fought tooth and nail.
“We not only stand up for freedom in this country – freedom of expression, freedom of belief, freedom of opinion, freedom to assemble, freedom to move. These are just basic freedoms, and as conservatives that is a key pillar for us. I think we need to continue to hone in on that as we move forward. If you don’t have freedom of expression as a country, you have nothing. Your freedoms are gone. If that is taken from you, every other fundamental freedom is also gone.”
While medical care is not strictly a federal issue, Thomas had some ideas for how the federal government might be able to assist in addressing Lethbridge’s growing doctor shortage.
“This is something I’ve received many emails, many phone calls, and had many one-on-one meetings with regard to this issue. It is very important in this community. I think there’s a few things we can do at the federal level to assist. I believe the government needs to look closely at its levels of immigration, and look to bring more skilled workers – and particularly skilled doctors – to our country. The other thing that needs to be looked at, and this was part of the Conservative platform in the last election, is how do we help individuals that are coming from other countries with credentials that are different from Canada’s?”
When asked if there were any positives for the riding she wanted to highlight over 2021, Thomas responded firmly that the people have managed to persevere in a time of hardship.
“The people. I’m not much for celebrating government. I don’t see a whole lot there to celebrate, but the people, I will celebrate them all day long. When I Iook at 2021, I see tremendous beauty in this region because I see people that are choosing to triumph over adversity and do incredible things.”
Thomas also sees a great future in the ag industry in southern Alberta.
“I could spend a whole day describing the incredible opportunities that exist within agriculture. It’s a sector that I am just incredibly impressed by. The ingenuity, the creativity, the innovation, the scientific advancement, the technology that is coming out of the ag. It deserves to be celebrated, and deserves to be noted, and not just here locally but on the national and even on the world stage.”
Looking toward the future in 2022, Thomas isn’t confident the Liberal government will be the panacea the nation needs to address the chronic problems it already is facing.
“When I look at the throne speech in Ottawa, and I look at the direction that has been set by Mr. Trudeau and his Liberal caucus, I see a prime minister who is pitting one region against another. I see a prime minister that wants to continue printing money that we don’t actually have, therefore driving up inflation and drastically driving up the cost of living. And ultimately at the end of the day it’s hurting seniors who live on a fixed income, it’s hurting those with a disability that live on a small stipend, and it’s hurting the single mom who is trying to get by on an income of $30,000 – $40,000 a year.”
Thomas argues Trudeau likes to talk about assisting the middle class, but the evidence before everyone’s eyes is startlingly contradictory.
“He’s not about growing the middle class. He’s punishing the middle class. He’s making life more difficult, not more affordable. I think I’d be hard pressed to go onto a street corner right now and talk to any single Canadian who is feeling better off. They’re just not. Unless you’re already super-wealthy. By all means, if you’re super wealthy you’re a happy camper right now, because your investments are doing well, because you own the things that are being sold at atrocious prices, because you own the houses that can be turned around and sold for six times what you bought it for. So the wealthy are doing great, including Mr. Trudeau himself and his silver spoon. But if I talk to any normal Canadian they are suffering right now.”

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At least she didn’t make any moronic comments about Covid this time!