Hello Chestermere! It is nice to see a little bit of sunshine poking through after all the snowfall, storms, and intense highway conditions. This past week was extremely busy for us. We went from one end of the riding to the other and back again. As you know, it takes an army of volunteers to help with so many things, and politics is no different. There are a thousand little things that need to happen for an event to come together, and for it to be successful. I have met so many of you in the various constituency associations (CA) surrounding Chestermere-Rocky View. The CAs are the backbone of any political party. Our local Chestermere-Rocky View UCP CA has been hard at work building grassroots policy, some of which will be presented and voted on at the founding AGM for the United Conservative Party in Red Deer on May 4th (www.unitedconservative.ca). It is imperative that those of us who are members attend this event to help write and construct what will be the founding documents of our party. It is very exciting. I would like to personally thank the policy committee of the Chestermere-Rocky View CA for their hard work. I have had the privilege of helping several other CAs out with their fundraising activities as well. The dollars that these CAs raise are for nominations, helping incumbent MLAs in their outreach activities and other types of events to help with informing constituents about upcoming elections, boundary changes, nomination races, and the rules around how to raise money and what it can be used for. It is an epic time for these CAs and if you have ever wanted to volunteer for any CA (for any political party), this is the time to get involved and participate. I would also like to take a moment and thank the volunteers who helped with our Jason Kenney Meet and Greet on February 26th. Thank you so much to Judy Johnson, Penny Creswell, Pam Steeves, Vicky Welsh, Emily Green, Hope Nakonesky, Bianca Smetacek, Akesh Aheer, Pieter Boere, Malkeet Aheer, James Carpenter, and Jenelle Giong. A special thanks to John and Helen Kittler for the use of their beautiful venue at Dockside. We as elected representatives would not exist without our volunteers. Please contact us at 587-429-6465 if you are interested in any way in helping us to keep building our momentum as we head towards the nomination races and the election. Did you know that if you are 14 or older, and if you have your $10 membership, you can vote in the nomination race? This is so important. It is incredible that our youth have the ability to flex their political muscles. To join the UCP go to www.unitedconservative.ca or check out www.voteleela.com.
Let’s chat about the Trans Mountain Pipeline. I’m going to back up for a moment to remind all of us that our Federal Ministers Makenna (Environment) and Carr (Natural Resources) have put forward an “overhaul” of the environmental assessment process, the largest one in a generation, effectively removing the independent non-partisan National Energy Board and replacing it with the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada, in Bill C-69 to conduct assessments, and then the new Canadian Energy Regulator (CER) that will regulate pipelines. These are not independent of government but are now within the portfolio of the Ministers. This was what was recommended by the “expert panel” who advised Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr. So we have replaced an independent, non-partisan expert agency body with one under political direction. This is worrisome to say the least.
Did you know that The Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board and Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board, are not being replaced? I wonder why? What I find most interesting is that British Columbia now believes that it can kill pipelines with endless delays. Let’s look at some of the numbers. Over the next 20 years, the expansion could be worth over 7 billion dollars, with future revenues as high as 46 billion to our national economy. So how does this look in the job department? Well based on Senator David Tkachuk’s speech that he gave during the emergency debate over the Trans Mountain pipeline in February it shakes out like this:
It means 15,000 construction jobs and an estimated 37,000 direct and indirect jobs per year. Overall, the project should generate more than 800,000 person-years of employment.
Keep in mind that environmental assessments were already completed. As the Senator said there is $18.5 billion in the first 20 years of the pipeline’s operation in fiscal benefits, not to mention access to a market that would see us selling our products at market value, and not at a discount to our friends south of the border. The Federal government is responsible for taking away investor confidence, for not resolving these situations, and basically giving the BC government all the ammunition it needs to believe that it has the right to stop a national infrastructure project that helps all of Canada. The government bans tanker traffic on the West Coast, but not the East Coast? The Federal Government effectively killed Energy East which would have brought our ethical oil to the East. Canadian Oil. Responsibly developed Oil. Oil that does not come at the cost of Human Rights! When will we stand up for ourselves? To quote the Senator again, the Prime Minister’s principal advisor Gerald Butts was quoted as saying in 2012, when asked about alternative routes for the Northern Gateway Pipeline, he said
“Truth be told, we don’t think there ought to be a carbon-based energy industry by the middle of this century. That’s our policy in Canada and it’s our policy all over the world.” He (Butts) went on to say “the real alternative to the Northern Gateway is not an alternative route. It is an alternative economy.”
The Senator goes on to say “In my opinion they are going about achieving their objective by using a strategy of a project delayed is a project denied. The energy industry in Canada is missing out on higher energy prices and investors and customers look askance at our policies and our inaction. The government needs to make it very clear that it has the jurisdiction in this area, that getting it done in a “timely fashion” means getting it done before the deadline for completing the expanded pipeline, so it becomes operational on time and on schedule.”
He’s right. The Prime Minister has the constitutional authority to do this so let’s see some action. As always we love to hear from you.