Mr. Speaker, that was the weakest response to a national crisis in Canadian history. I listened to the Prime Minister's word salad just now and at least two key things were missing: a clear denunciation that the actions of these radical activists are illegal and some kind of an action plan that would put an end to the illegal blockades and get our economy back on track. The Prime Minister's statement was a complete abdication of responsibility and of leadership.
We are at an important time in our country's history, a time when we have to decide who and what our country stands for. Will we be a country of “yes”, where big national projects can get built and our country can grow and develop, or will we be a country of “no”, where a few loud voices can shut down development and prosperity for all?
Will our country be one of the rule of the law, or will our country be one of the rule of the mob? Will we let our entire economy be held hostage by a small group trampling the legal system that has governed our country for more than 150 years?
Let me be clear. Standing between our country and prosperity is a small group of radical activists, many of whom have little to no connection to first nations communities. They are a bunch of radical activists who will not rest until our oil and gas industry is entirely shut down. They may have the luxury of not having to go to work every day, and they may have the luxury of not facing repercussions for skipping class, but they are blockading our ports, railways, borders, roads and highways, and they are appropriating an indigenous agenda, which they are willfully misrepresenting.
The Prime Minister's elevation of these protestors to the same level as the thousands of men and women in first nations communities across our country who have been trying in good faith to right the wrongs of Canadian history is a disservice to the spirit of reconciliation.
The Prime Minister has emboldened and encouraged this kind of behaviour by cancelling other big projects based on political considerations instead of science and facts.
The reality is that a vast majority of members of the Wet'suwet'en people support the Coastal GasLink project. Every single elected band council on the Coastal GasLink route supports this project. Even the majority of hereditary chiefs support this project. The vast majority of first nations community members themselves support this project because it will create jobs and it will create opportunities. It will lead to investments in their communities and, in the end, it will help reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.
This is a fantastic opportunity for the Wet'suwet'en people, so why are these radical activists opposing this project? For them this is just a warm-up act. It is a warm-up act for what they consider to be the next fights against Trans Mountain and against Teck Frontier. In the end their goal is to shut down our entire energy industry.
It is important to remember who the victims of this have been and who have been victimized by Liberal inaction. They are the farmers who cannot get their grain to market. They are the small business owners who cannot get their shipments in time. They are the homeowners who may face trouble getting their home heating fuel for the winter. They are the workers facing layoffs. The ultimate victims are the Wet'suwet'en members themselves who are looking for prosperity for their children.
Conservatives have been calling for common sense and appropriate recommendations to end these illegal blockades. We have called on the Liberal government to enforce the rule of law. What we were expecting today was some sort of an announcement about a plan that would put an end to these illegal blockades. Instead, today we heard literally nothing.
Everyone has the right to say their piece, regardless of whether we agree or disagree, but nobody, and I mean nobody, has the right to hold our economy hostage.
The blockades across our country are illegal and it is time the government stepped in and did something about that. On this side of the House, we stand with the farmers. On this side of the House, we stand with commuters. On this side of the House, we stand with workers facing layoffs. We stand with everyday, hard-working Canadians. Most importantly, on this side of the House, we stand in solidarity with the Wet'suwet'en people.
We stand in solidarity with the elected councillors of the Wet'suwet'en First Nation. We stand in solidarity with the majority of hereditary chiefs from the Wet'suwet'en First Nation who recognize that these types of projects and investments are the only way to lift first nation Canadians out of poverty, give them hope and opportunity, and give the next generation of indigenous Canadians the same quality of life that everyone else in this country enjoys.