As your Member of Parliament, I have recently received in my office two documents that I find important as a policy maker. The first was a June 28 letter from the Alberta Chamber of Commerce stating their support to expand Canada’s access to crude oil markets. The second document was the Fraser Institute’s July 17 report entitled, “Ensuring Canadian Access to Oil Markets in the Asia-Pacific Region.”
When I am in Ottawa, my colleagues and I in the Conservative National Caucus spend considerable time developing the policies our nation needs to develop the talents, and capabilities of firms and workers in many sectors of Canada’s economy. This work includes the management of many of our nation’s resources. As the government, we have the duty and responsibility to ensure that Canadians prosper at the same time that we manage responsible development of our resources. Since Confederation, the Government of Canada has overseen our nation’s progress and development by managing different resources at different times in our history.
In our area of Crowfoot, our most senior generation talk about the federal government helping rural areas of Alberta and the two other prairie provinces to manage the years of the ‘wheat boom’. Before that, the world wanted Canadian lumber and our federal government was in the business of helping Canadians ‘ship’ our wood to Europe. Previous to this – and even Confederation itself – we were collaborating to earn our way from the fur trade.
Today, our Conservative government continues this role of helping to build a prosperous Canada. While each province and territory is responsible for the development of its own natural resources, the Government of Canada can help.
The Fraser Institute is a major Canadian ‘think tank’. They study the impact of markets; government interventions; and, they measure the welfare and prosperity of individuals. They are calling on Canada to build the infrastructure necessary to ship our oil to Asia. They estimate this will add at least $10.5 billion to Canadian GDP. They have identified significant job creation – including for Canada’s First Nations. This Fraser Institute study goes so far as to forecast significant gains from investments which will boost returns for Canadian pension plans – and in turn, this prosperity will extend to Canadian Seniors as well.
The Alberta Chamber of Commerce speaks on behalf of 125 local Chambers of Commerce and 23,000 businesses throughout our province (including many in our riding). Their June 28 letter to me was delivering the same message as the Fraser Institute, “Alberta is a landlocked province which is almost totally reliant on the United States to purchase our crude oil. The Alberta Chamber of Commerce believes diversifying our energy markets is vital to sustained economic development for our country and our province.”
For me, these two documents ‘go together’. The Alberta Chamber of Commerce presented me with their case and the Fraser Institute – within two weeks – provided me with the details of the evidence proving the case.
The most satisfying part of all of this is that Budget 2012 is doing a great deal of work to ‘tool up’ Canada to realize this economic opportunity. As well, once again in Canada’s history a part of our nation is going to experience such a high level of productivity – and profitability – that our entire nation will share in the benefits.