Mr. Speaker, I would first like to indicate that I will be splitting my time with the member for Elgin—Middlesex—London. I look forward to those remarks as well.
I cannot begin without thanking the constituents of Calgary Midnapore for sending me here again. I am so very overjoyed to be back in the House representing them. I am truly grateful.
My parents are my constituents, so my mom is probably watching. I promise to be extra good in the House at this time.
I am very sad for my family today. My mother is from Quebec and my father is from Saskatchewan. It is not uncommon for Canadian families to have one parent from the west and the other from the east. We heard a similar story on the other side of the House last week. Families becoming divided has become a Canadian story, and that is very sad. We are divided because the other side of the House spent the past four years playing all kinds of political games. The government split us right in half. It pit regions against one another. That is truly sad.
My region, the west, and more specifically Alberta, where the energy sector has no support, obviously comes to mind. Also coming to mind are several bills, such as Bill C-69, which makes it practically impossible to start new projects. There is Bill C-48, which makes it practically impossible to build a pipeline and transport oil. That is very sad. The carbon tax is another example. Bills that impede the energy sector have serious consequences on families and individuals. Bills like these are completely destroying families and people's lives. The government claims to want to eliminate poverty, but it is actually creating poverty with these kinds of bills.
On more than one occasion, the Prime Minister has said one thing to one part of the country and the opposite to another. The President of the United States called that behaviour “two-faced”. The President of the United States and Canadians have seen those two faces.
With the Speech from the Throne, the Prime Minister had an opportunity to put the country on a new path. Sadly, he let that opportunity pass him by. However, he had previously taken certain steps in that direction. He specifically appointed a minister of provincial relations. He held numerous meetings with various provincial premiers. The Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister promised to listen carefully to what the premiers had to say. The Speech from the Throne would have been the perfect opportunity to prove that they had listened. Unfortunately, the speech shows nothing of the kind. The situation is different from what it was before the election.
There were words, but not much was said. There were platitudes, like talking about the good of our community and clichés such as “no challenges are too big.” There were also false attempts to show empathy and understanding for regions. There were parts of the speech that said that as much as Canadians had instructed us to work together, they had also spoken clearly about the the importance of their regions and their local needs.
What did Canadians say when they spoke? Did they say how their father had not been able to find a job in three years because the corporation he was working for left because of instability due to political regulations? Did they say how their neighbours could not get out of a deep depression because they had spent their entire retirement savings on just surviving? Did they say that they sent a suicide note to their member of Parliament because they had absolutely given up hope of ever finding a job?
We do not know, and we will never know, because it was not in the Speech from the Throne.
The speech said that regional needs and differences really mattered. Today's regional economic concerns are both justified and important. However, in what year on the planetary spacecraft will Canada's energy workers get an apology from the Prime Minister; when he sheds a tear for those who have committed suicide because they are completely destitute or for the women and children who have been beaten because, after years of not having a job, dad finally snapped? What year on this spaceship is that? Is that when we will know that regional differences really matter? For now, we do not, because the speech does not say so.
This was the opportunity to demonstrate action, and if not action, true understanding, and if not true understanding, at least respect. It would not have taken much: a timeline for the TMX pipeline or a promise to look into the national energy corridor. However, it was not there.
We can pretend that the world is simple and that the solutions to Canada's problems need not be complex or detailed, but that is not true. We can pretend that we do not need one another and that we are not dependent on one another, but that is not true either. Anyone who denies those facts will suffer for it eventually, even if they refuse to acknowledge it today.
This is not the way of Albertans.
What a great day to be in the House, the day when my predecessor and now premier, the incomparable, the Hon. Jason Kenney, is here to get a fair deal for Alberta. He brings with him my counterpart, minister of children's services and MLA for Calgary-Shaw, Rebecca Schulz. Together Minister Schulz and I will work tirelessly for the children of this nation.
We Albertans love Canada. We have always been proud to work hard and to share the fruits of our labour with the nation, to do our part for Confederation. We have never told others how to live their lives or that their way of life is not welcome in our country.
We will not let the Prime Minister divide us and we will not let the government push us out of Confederation. We will not allow that to happen. The government had an opportunity to do something profound, to say something profound and to unify, and it did not.
That is why I am sad today. I am a woman from Alberta. My mother is from Quebec and my father is from Saskatchewan. I am here for unity. I am here for Canada. Unfortunately, the throne speech is not.