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View Michelle Rempel Garner Profile
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my constituents in the riding Calgary Nose Hill for giving me a very clear mandate to do one thing: to stand up for them, fight for them and their voice here in this place.
I received the mandate of over 70%. I went door to door. People who I know had voted Liberal or NDP in the past looked me in the eye and we had a serious conversation at the door. They told me that they had never voted Conservative before, but they were going to vote for me because it was really bad. They needed me to fight for them. My way of thanking them is not just saying it here. It is to do that, to fight for them every day.
To the 98 new members of Parliament in this place, I want to talk about what it is like at home. I want to talk to them about what it is like to have 175,000 people who work in the primary industry of their province suddenly out of work, in a very short period of time. It is not because of commodity prices, as the Prime Minister so glibly said this morning. I will get to that. It is because of policies that were set here.
What we do here reflects on how people live in every part of the country. What happened in the last Parliament for the people in my riding meant trauma, suicide, homes lost, jobs lost and families lost. What we do here matters. I will fight for the people in my riding.
Right now in my province we are seeing some of the highest unemployment rates in the country sustained. It is happening and not because of commodity prices. If it were because of commodity prices, then why is the United States doing so well with its natural resource sector? It is because of instability and political decisions that have made it impossible for the energy sector to sustain employment. That is why. It is because of the decisions made here.
In 2017, Alberta's suicide rate was 14.9 per 100,000 people, just over three points higher than the rest of Canada. That is up really high. In 2016, there was a project by the Calgary Police Service called “Operation Northern Spotlight”. It was to help sex workers in the city. Let me read a story.
A woman who entered the sex trade in 2016, and it has gotten worse since then, said, “I never thought I would be here. I never thought I would have to hide from my family, telling them that my cleaning job runs late every night. I am here because this would have been an easy $350. I had a great job, then the jobs crisis hit and I got laid off. Two weeks later, my husband lost his job as well. The bills did not stop coming.” The problems have not stopped in my riding.
I will be splitting my time with the member for Battle River—Crowfoot.
We sit here, and yesterday's throne speech was a slap in the face. I got scrummed in the media yesterday. I heard, “It was more of a tone-setting document.” If it were a tone-setting document, it was tone-deaf for every person in my riding. It did not say anything about what the government was going to do to reverse the policies that create the instability that puts the people in my riding out of work. That needs to change.
If we are not willing to change that, then what is happening in my province is going to continue to grow. My province is saying it does not see itself in this country, our country does not have our back, and asking why it should be part of it. It will continue to fester. It is because of the decisions that are being made to put the people in my riding out of work.
People in this place say that it is a dirty industry and that the province should diversify its way out. Then they go fill up their car with Saudi oil, while they drink their kale smoothie with its component parts imported from California, while they promote their industry, like aerospace, with planes that create greenhouse gas emissions, or the auto sector, with cars that create greenhouse gas emissions, or while they go to Walmart and buy a cheap Chinese T-shirt that is created where there are the some of the highest greenhouse gas emissions in the world.
They are hypocrites. Anybody who says that the people in my riding have dirty jobs and do not have the right to work is a hypocrite, because nobody is willing to take climate action individually in this country. They are putting the entire responsibility on the people in my riding and saying that it is good, that this is what it is going to take to get this job done, and it will not.
The people in my province have a right to work. They have a right to prosper. I am sick and tired of this debate. Nothing on climate change is happening while my province and the people in it bear the entire cost and responsibility, and we do nothing. It has to stop.
I am going to tell you one thing, Mr. Speaker: It is going to stop one way or another. One way or another, it is coming to a head.
To everybody in here who thinks that what is happening in my province is just a separatist movement, just a few fringe people, I say that it is not just a fringe. People do not feel that they have a place in this country. They do not feel like they have a fair deal. Do colleagues know what they see? They see the hypocrisy that I just mentioned. They see a Prime Minister who fights for jobs with SNC-Lavalin and stands alleged of bribing Moammar Gadhafi's son with prostitutes. They see the former fisheries minister signing special deals over clam fishing that brought him ethics commission violations. They see scandal after scandal, special deal after special deal.
Then there are the people who say that people in their riding have been out of work. In Alberta, there are 175,000 people.
I do not know how many lobster fishers there are in this country, but when something happens to fisheries, we get angry. We all do here. We say that we have to fix this. They cannot stay out of work. When something happens in the auto sector, we do not say that cars create greenhouse gas emissions and we should just let that industry die. We do something about it.
When has it become acceptable to let an entire province's industry die while the rest of the country looks like a hypocrite? It has to stop. Otherwise, we will face a national unity crisis. We are in one.
I want to let the people in this House know what that looks like. The premier of my province is rightly talking about a fair deal for Alberta, and autonomy, and I support him in that.
Here is what Alberta opting out of the CPP looks like. We are the net contributor to the CPP in the country. Having higher premiums across the country means that people will not be able to retire until later ages, and that is because the Prime Minister has put them in this position.
We need to scrap Bill C-69. We need to scrap Bill C-48 and we need to understand the wealth that the energy sector creates. It creates receptor capacity for clean technology. It displaces energy from Saudi Arabia and Venezuela and if we are talking about transition and climate change, Canadian energy and what my province does are at the heart of that equation. It should not be killed. Why would we kill the heart of what Canada can contribute to when it comes to this?
Enough is enough. I will stand here for however long this Parliament lasts. I will stand up for the rights of my province because that is why I am here. Colleagues stand up and give their thanks for having been sent here, but I was not sent here to just collect a salary or stand up and just seal-clap and vote. Constituents sent us here to fight.
I am going to fight for my province and the people of my riding. If that means saying we need more autonomy and we need the equalization payment formula looked at, then I will do that. If everybody here says that they will not do that, that they will not give my province a fair deal, then I am going to tell them right now that the people in my province are going to say enough is enough. The choice is for every single person in this House. It starts here and it ends here.
I implore the people in the House to realize that what was in that throne speech was not good enough. It is not going to cut it. It is not going to fix it. It is going to take smart, tough conversations; otherwise, it is over.
My colleague from Malpeque just made an appeal for unity, and I want to tell him this: I am not here and the people on this side of the House are not here to make life politically expedient for the Liberals in a minority situation. We are here to fight for the people of our provinces, and our provinces are Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, B.C., Ontario, and every part of this country that sees Alberta as a strong part of Confederation. We will not let this continue.
I ask people who are watching today to support me by signing petition e-2303 at e2303.ca, which would send a message to every person in the House to do just that. Let us talk about setting a tone. It is time for Alberta to have a fair deal.
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