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    Kinder Morgan and Bill C-75

    I’m sure you have heard the big news on the Trans Mountain Project: the Prime Minister has decided to spend $4.5 billion of your tax dollars to buy the existing pipeline.

    Kinder Morgan never asked for taxpayer money. They were ready to invest in this project. All they wanted was certainty from the federal government. But now taxpayers are on the hook for billions because of this government’s inability to get a pipeline built – and there’s still no guarantee that it will ever be built!

    The Liberals would have you believe that risking taxpayer dollars on the project was the only way to move ahead with it. This is simply not true. Under our former Conservative government, four pipelines were built without any need for nationalization schemes.

    The $4.5 billion the Liberals are spending is just the start. It only buys the existing pipeline. If the project is actually expanded – and that’s a big if, given that the Prime Minister still has no plan to overcome opposition – it could cost many billions more. It is inexcusable that this government’s mismanagement has taken us from billions of private sector investment in Canada to billions of taxpayer dollars being on the line.

    We need to replace this government in 2019 and get back to common sense solutions that actually get pipelines built without public funds.

    The Liberals have also introduced a massive reform to our criminal justice system – Bill C-75. This omnibus Bill is a huge step in the wrong direction.

    C-75 weakens our justice system. It hybridizes indictable-only offences by adding summary conviction as a sentencing option. That means some serious crimes could be punishable by a mere fine. And some of the offences listed in the Bill are undoubtedly serious crimes. We’re talking things like: participation in a terrorist group. Impaired driving offences causing bodily harm. Kidnapping a child. Possessing stolen property. Taking part in gang activities. And many more.

    The Liberals are making these changes to try to deal with the backlog in our court system. But they haven’t yet taken the obvious first step of appointing more judges. As of April 1, 59 federal judicial vacancies remain.

    Even worse, the changes mean that the federal backlog will be downloaded onto our provincial courts, which are already dealing with their own delays. It’s going to make a bad situation that much worse. Provincial judges, courts, prisons and legal aid could all be stretched to a breaking point. We could have many more cases thrown out for taking too long.

    C-75 is omnibus legislation, which the Liberals promised they would not introduce. The Bill does contain some good measures that we Conservatives can support, like removing certain unconstitutional provisions from the criminal code.

    This is going to make our justice system more of a ‘revolving door’ than it is now, and make rural crime even harder to deal with. My Opposition colleagues and I are opposed to C-75, and will be doing our best to stop this government from putting criminals before victims yet again.

    I can be reached in Ottawa at martin.shields@parl.gc.ca. My Brooks office can be reached at 403-793-6775 or martin.shields.c1@parl.gc.ca, and my Strathmore office at 403-361-2980 or martin.shields.c1B@parl.gc.ca. Please don’t hesitate to contact me about any federal issue.