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View Greg McLean Profile
View Greg McLean Profile
2019-12-13 13:17 [p.414]
Mr. Speaker, today marks the first time I rise in the House of Commons. My first duty is to pay my sincere respects to the constituents of Calgary Centre who gave me the privilege and responsibility of representing their concerns in the House.
Calgary Centre is a diverse part of this country that represents the greatness that Canada offers. We are reflective of Canada's storied past, our present and our hopeful future.
The past is celebrated every summer as we gather for our annual Stampede, the greatest outdoor show on earth, the roots of which lie in the skills required of ranchers and the cowboys they employed to get their cattle to market.
The present is the bustling metropolis that includes Calgary's oldest neighbourhoods along with the new Canadians who have found a home here. The bustling downtown has been burdened these past four years with an exodus of talent and opportunities as a result of failed government policies, but we will not find a person who does not think our imposed difficulties cannot be overcome.
The future has brightened as our new provincial government has seen to implement policies that will reverse years of economic stagnation with the growth-oriented, balanced approach to moving us forward.
I chose to serve this riding because of all it represents: vitality and opportunity, diversity and history. I am honoured the voters of Calgary Centre heard my message loud and clear in this past election and returned a Conservative member of Parliament soundly over the incumbent member from the previous government. The message we send could not be more clear. The government's policies are moving Canada in the wrong direction.
Allow me to wind back the clock and discuss how we arrived here. Almost two years ago on vacation with my wife, I broke the news to her that getting better government in Canada was a necessity. I believe strongly that we are impoverishing the next generation of Canadians with bad fiscal policy, false choices on energy and overtaxation. I asked for her support in bringing this change to Canadians. She agreed. Let me say that without her constant love and support, I would not be here. My thanks to Ruth and I love her very much.
It is no small undertaking to run for public office, but so many friends and supporters joined us along the way. Our message about the need for change in the way Canada is being governed resonated throughout our city. I owe so much to so many for their contribution to our efforts and I will do my best to fulfill their trust.
The message delivered by Calgarians was so clear that the Prime Minister referred to it several times after the election. The Deputy Prime Minister pledged to listen really hard to combat the disunion wrought by the government's agenda.
In that context, I listened to the throne speech attentively. I did not hear any indication of reversal or accommodation. I have reviewed it and I find some relief in statements and potential, like reducing taxes for the middle class, the government pursuing a responsible fiscal plan, understanding that economic growth is the best way to ensure a good quality of life for Canadians, better health care for Canadians and the ethical use of artificial intelligence, getting Canadian resources to market and offering unwavering support to the hard-working men and women in Canada's natural resource sector. These are all ideas for our times.
I also noted reference to the bedrock of our parliamentary system, which heartened me. After years of federal powers drifting to various whims and interest groups, perhaps there would be a change in approach.
Actions speak louder than words, and I am concerned, given the record of the government, that the definition of its objectives differs strongly from objective, tangible outcomes for Canadians. Will all these words have some meaning this time, or will they be empty virtues that show no results? Is the country being asked once again to play Charlie Brown to the government playing Lucy with a football?
However, there are clearly words, and thus direction, missing from the speech. There is no commitment to young Canadians who are now or soon to be entering the labour force that their future taxes will not increasingly rise to meet the needs of the squandered finances of the government. There is no commitment to stem the transfer of wealth from working Canadians to international financial organizations for guarantees borne by Canadians. There is no commitment to right a regulatory system that has been broken beyond recognition by the government, giving Canadians a regime that makes national projects too risky to undertake, thereby further constraining and impoverishing a generation of Canadians, and this is especially true of indigenous Canadians. There is no effort in mending the divisions created in the past four years and during this past election by a Prime Minister openly campaigning against one region of the country. This betrays a true prejudice, and it is not becoming of a government leader.
I note in the Speech from the Throne the iteration of “climate change” eight times. That is prominent, and I note the focus of the government's virtue. The climate is changing. We need to address it and we need to address its effects. We should acknowledge that we are not an island and accept that all our efforts would be for naught without efforts from significant contributors to the increase in greenhouse gases in the world.
Let us examine clearly the cost of our virtuous approach versus the negligible contribution we provide to the outcome. Our world leadership on this file should be one that binds the country and actually helps solve the problem, not rip us apart with an approach that accomplishes next to nothing. This is our role to fulfill in this global problem. Let us lead Canadians to our solutions, but first let us free ourselves of the bias and hyperbole that simply inflame reactions and stoke divisions.
Our words and our approach matter. We have a problem to solve, and today's decision-makers need to find the solutions that lead to our outcomes. However, we need to understand that our use of language in this matter has led to a hysteria among a generation that believes the future is bleak.
On the contrary, I believe the best is yet to come for Canada.
I work with energy professionals and technologists, who are all parents. Everyone strives in their field to make their lives and this country a better place for their children. All are dismayed by the half-truths and false choices the government is thrusting upon them.
Follow the outcomes proposed, and on a full-cycle basis, they represent a worse outcome for the world, for Canada, for our environment and for families. We know there are no free environmental solutions to producing energy. Coal, oil, natural gas, hydro, solar, wind and nuclear energy all have an environmental footprint and CO2 footprint.
Canada's oil production represents part of the best, most environmentally friendly 8% of the world's oil production. Let me add that production in Canada, to these standards, is not inexpensive. Is this the resource we do not want the world to produce?
All governments need to be wary of solutions that end up causing bigger problems. Yes, Canada does need an effective approach to tackling climate change, and we can find solutions.
False solutions will lead to problems in addition to economic dislocation, with increased world poverty and decreased lifespans, increased emissions from other more primitive power sources, increased human dislocation and a threat to world peace.
Let me get granular on Canada's world-renowned energy industry. Let us talk about the 175,000 workers who are no longer employed. Let us talk about the world-leading technologies and service providers that have been forced to work in competitive jurisdictions, like the United States, a country that has more than doubled its oil production to 12 million barrels per day over the past decade, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions to the levels in the 1950s.
Let us talk about the reversal of fortune of our oil and gas companies, whose only drawback is their jurisdiction. Let us talk about the economic disadvantage that has been played upon Canadians by a non-constructive regulatory regime manipulated by foreign lobbyists. Let us talk about the transfer of wealth of tens of millions of dollars per day from Canada to the United States where our exported oil is uniquely bound. From a Canadian taxpayer's perspective, let us talk about the taxes not being paid as a result of this wealth and jobs transfer. We can talk about taxes that would pay for schools and hospitals, and doctors and teachers, yes, those social outcomes for Canadians.
Let us collect our thoughts and find a way to rationally address the causes and effects of our changing climate. Let us look at solutions put forth by Canadian champions. The very definition of that is the companies in our energy industry. As an analogy, when in a tight game, put the best players on the ice.
To address the effects of climate change, Canada's best players are in the energy industry. Oil sands operations have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 20% to 30% since 2000. Conventional oil and gas producers have brought their environmental footprint down substantially in the same period. We should not forget that environmental solutions stretch beyond addressing climate change.
Canada's energy sector is the best in the world at minimizing its environmental footprint. We have a role to play in the world and climate change is a world issue. We will not begin to address its impact with a parochial approach.
We have homegrown solutions developed here because of the Canadian public's insistence on building a clean oil and gas sector. We owe a great deal to the Canadians of today. We owe significantly more to the future, and the course the government is leading will leave tomorrow's Canadians with fewer options and a debt legacy that will constrain their options in dealing with the problems that will emerge in their lifetimes.
We need to do better. I urge the government to focus on real solutions that do not pit regions of this country against each other and that do not divide Canadians by their status or where they live. I urge the government to bring understanding to the breadth of Canadian solutions and show leadership to bind this whole country. There is much at stake.
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