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JULY 11: We Need a Real Plan to Protect the Environment, Not a Tax Plan

Two weeks ago, Andrew Scheer released the Conservative environment plan as promised.

For months we’ve been directing pointed questions to the government on how much their carbon tax will cost Canadians, why they’re using Conservative GHG reduction targets and calling them their own, and why they’re punishing small businesses and Canadian families with a carbon tax but giving a pass to the biggest emitters. Their response has always been that the Conservatives have no plan. Well guess what, we do.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer recently reported that under the Liberal plan, gas prices would have to increase a minimum of 25 cents per litre to have an effect. Internal government documents note it could be as high as triple that.  The Liberals have even admitted their plan is not robust enough and will not come close to meeting the goal of reducing GHG emissions. The GST alone on Trudeau’s carbon levy will reach almost a half billion dollars a year. More money right out of your pocket.

Let’s be clear: The Liberal’s plan is a tax plan.  It’s not an environmental plan. 

We offer a balanced approach to reduce emissions, conserve and protect our air, land, water and wildlife, and fight climate change at home and abroad. It’s built on three key policy principles:

First, is to invest in green technology, not just raise taxes. This is the best way to lower our emissions,  promote green innovation and create jobs all without imposing new taxes on Canadians.

Second, is to promote a cleaner and greener natural environment. We will work with farmers, hunters and anglers, Indigenous peoples, provinces, and territories to help protect our air, land, water and wildlife. We will also put an end to cities dumping hundreds of millions of litres of untreated raw sewage into our waterways. 

Third, is to take the climate change fight global. Climate change is a global problem and doesn’t just stop at our borders. It requires a global solution, and Canada has a leadership role to play.

You can read the plan in full here: ARealPlan.ca 

In terms of targets, the Paris targets are Conservative targets and our plan is Canada’s best chance to meet them. Our plan balances the need for Canada to fight climate change by lowering global emissions without compromising our core promise of leaving more money in your pockets and helping Canadians get ahead.

JUNE 18: Nation Unites in Opposing Bill C-69

In yet another turn of events for the Prime Minister the Senate returned his beloved Bill C-69, or as industry experts call it, the “no-more-pipelines” bill, with a plethora of amendments signaling that the bill was not just ill-advised but poorly conceived. Numerous Premiers, including those for Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, and the Northwest Territories, have spoken out against the bill saying that the Prime Minister must accept the almost 200 amendments proposed by the Senate, the Senate that Trudeau has stacked with handpicked “non-partisan” appointees.

Trudeau’s response? Ignore the recommendations of the Senate and Premiers and ram through Bill C-69 with just 30 minutes debate in the House. So why is it so difficult for him to admit that he got it wrong the first time? Why can’t he accept that the chamber of sober second thought suggested important changes to ensure the legislation is sound? Here’s where the issue is​. The Prime Minister is not one to admit that he’s made a mistake.

In fact, when questioned on why he won’t be accepting the amendments, he said that those who challenged him – Premiers representing over half the population of Canada – are a danger to “national unity”. The same Prime Minister who in 2012 said he would support Quebec’s separation from Canada and who continuously invokes identity politics to divide the Canadian electorate.  The same Trudeau who throws money into Quebec and Toronto for things like sausage factories, bonuses for Bombardier executives, and multi-million dollar handouts for the billionaire owners of Loblaws, while Alberta suffers a downturn unseen since Trudeau Senior and the NEP.

Bill C-69 is not just a bad bill. It will devastate what is left of Alberta’s energy industry. It imposes open-ended timelines for project approval. It increases political interference in the review process. It introduces vague project criteria that will empower foreign anti-resource activists to significantly delay approved projects in the courts. Basically, it ensures that no new pipeline project in Canada will ever get built. This is not how we should be doing business in Canada. It’s certainly not helping to keep business in Canada. And it’s definitely not reassuring existing Canadian businesses that their futures are secure by staying here.

JUNE 7: Liberal’s Media Bailout Stacks the Deck for Upcoming Election

We told you that the Liberals were getting desperate. We also told you that they’d try every trick in the book to hold onto power, and it looks like we were right.

In just the last few years, the Ottawa Liberals opened the door to voter fraud with their new election bill. They manipulated the election finance laws to benefit themselves, and now they’ve just recently announced a $600 million bailout package to the Canadian media industry.

This comes in the form of handouts of taxpayers’ dollars, which were made available as of January this year. According to the update, the recipients of the package would be decided by two “independent” panels of journalists. The trick? Each member is hand-picked by the Liberal government.

That means we’ll have two panels full of Liberal picked members deciding how “quality journalism organizations” will make the cut to be eligible for up to $13,750 in annual subsidies for individual editorial staff. All under the guise of supporting “media independence”.

The Liberals recently announced the organizations that will sit on these special panels, with one of them being Unifor, the rabidly anti-Conservative union. Unifor is an aggressive, hyper-partisan group that have already begun their campaign to get the Liberals re-elected by releasing attack ads on our leader Andrew Scheer.  It’s hard to believe but, Unifor – the self-titled “resistance” to the Conservative Party – will help decide which news organizations covering the upcoming election will receive taxpayers’ subsidies. This is a blatant conflict of interest and only adds to an ever-growing perception problem.

Don’t get me wrong; media outlets play an essential role in informing the public and holding politicians to account, but a healthy democracy relies on an independent press, free of political influence. It should never be up to any government to decide which media outlets receive government support and which do not. Furthermore, it’s completely unacceptable that a Liberal-friendly interest group which has vowed to campaign against a specific political party be given a say on who receives government subsidies.

With less than four months until the next election, it’s clear what we’re up against: A Liberal party that will stoop to any level to win, and a Prime Minister who will rewrite the rules to give himself any advantage he can.

MAY 31: The Truth About the “Steel” of a Deal

The Prime Minister and Minister Freeland were patting themselves on the back last week following a Canada-US agreement to lift the 232 steel and aluminum tariffs weighing down on the Canadian import industry. Unfortunately, it’s not exactly the great victory that they’ve claimed. The US had agreed to lift the national security tariffs on aluminum and steel, but only on the condition that Canada and Mexico would accept a quota that would potentially limit our exports. On a more detailed level, the agreement also states that in the event that exports “surge meaningfully” above a historically significant level, the United States could reimpose damaging and job-killing tariffs for both steel and aluminum.

Canada also agreed that in the event of another conflict over trade, we would not retaliate across a broad spectrum of products. This means that we can forget about our strategic tariffs on other US markets such as dairy, auto and pharmaceuticals. Should the U.S. decide to re-instate their tariffs at any time, we would not be able to respond in a way that could bring them back to the bargaining table.

This is a huge problem because we don’t have a product to retaliate with in the aluminum industry. Both of the United States’ aluminum and steel industries tower over ours. While their markets foster growth and prosperity every year, Canada barely breaks even with more and more investment leaving our country and investing in the US (looking at you, General Motors).

Oh, and the tariffs collected by US companies that were supposed to go to support Canadian companies affected by this trade war?

Well, as confirmed by the Parliamentary Budget Officer, the Liberals last year slid over $1 billion into government coffers to be used for pre-elections spending.  The PBO further predicts the amount taken as general tax revenue and not used to help Canadian companies will be in the billions of dollars.

The Liberals have used this trade war as a tax grab.

With the US tariffs in place since May 31 of last year, steel manufacturers and engineering and construction companies in Edmonton have experienced a lot of the negative aspects resulting from this international conflict. All in all, in a reckless attempt to discontinue the damage being done to our industries and sway voters before the federal election, Trudeau has caved in to Trump’s demands. All the cards in this situation are now in the hands of President Trump.  And the only card we hold is the joker.

MAY 24: Liberal Changes are Ruining Chances of Home Ownership for Young Canadians

After four long years of continuous policy failures by the Ottawa Liberals, Canadians are now finding it harder to achieve one of the single biggest assets for the middle-class: home-ownership.

In December of 2017, the Minister of Finance stealthily introduced a policy directive to certain crown corporations, including the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), to pay the federal government any excess revenues on their books. The CMHC provides mortgage insurance to protect financial institutions from default if a homeowner can’t make their mortgage payments. Home buyers are required to purchase the coverage when they do not have a down payment of at least 20 percent on the purchase price of their home.

Fast forward to the Public Accounts documents for 2018, and we can see that the CMHC has paid over $5.6 Billion to the Government of Canada. Before last year, the CMHC has never paid the federal government. The CMHC is unnecessarily inflating the costs for mortgage insurance and are siphoning the excess profits into the hands of the Ottawa Liberals through special payments.

This means that Canadians like you are paying higher mortgage insurance rates for no reason other than to give more money to the Liberal government. We’re no longer going to be seeing a generation of young, first-time buyers entering into home ownership.

In January 2018, the Ottawa Liberals also introduced a set of new mortgage rules titled “B-20”. These new rules introduced a mandatory 2% stress test for all qualifying mortgages. This means that Canadians buying a home need to prove that they can afford mortgage payments based on their contract mortgage rate, plus two percentage points. This policy was supposedly introduced to protect Canada’s major banks and prevent households from taking on excessive debts. Liberal MPs have argued that this was to reduce real estate prices in major urban centres like Toronto and Vancouver, and because Canadians have taken on too much personal debt.

The Liberals have not only damaged the housing market and made it more difficult to sell your home or purchase one, they also completely ignore the reality that the issues around our high household debt is due to credit card spending, car loans and the such. Mortgage defaults are at a near all-time low, but the Liberals are attacking the wrong problem.

A side effect of B-20 is the banks raising their rates on mortgage renewals, knowing that Canadians can’t move to a competing bank because they won’t pass the new Liberal stress test.

This new stress test has lowered mortgage growth rates to 4% – the lowest in 17 years – and more and more middle-class buyers are being priced out of the market. Mortgage Professionals Canada has estimated that 150,000 Canadians have been prevented from buying a home due to the stress test. Bank of Canada has also estimated that the new rules will force people to save for an extra six years before buying.

As the Liberal changes continue to suppress the market, Canadians will see their positive equity fade away or their negative equity increase. What’s more, the economic slump spurred by the stress test is estimated to cost Canada about 200,000 jobs over the next three years.

These policy moves are a severely misguided attempt on the part of the Ottawa Liberals, and if they really care about Canadians, let alone first-time homebuyers and those who pay mortgages, they will look at the numbers and reverse these policies.

MAY 17: TransMountain delays aren’t just hurting Alberta

Did you know that for every day the Trans-Mountain Pipeline Project is delayed, the Canadian economy loses $80 million dollars in revenue? That’s over $29 billion dollars a year. In fact, in the two minutes it takes to read this article, we’ll have lost over $110,000. Since January 1st, the delays have cost our economy over $19 billion dollars in revenue. That’s $19 billion dollars that could go towards new roads and schools, social programs, and employment benefits.

Instead of a private sector company building a brand-new pipeline with private money, Trudeau single-handedly bungled the Trans Mountain project and put $4.5 billion of your dollars nationalize it –  only to slow it to a complete halt not long after. Just to be clear; we’re not getting a new pipeline for that money, we’re getting the same old one that has existed since the 1950’s. That’s $4.5 billion dollars of your money directly thrown away, given to a private company that turned around and used your money to build pipelines in the US.

At the same time, the Liberal government has given $250 dollars to the China-led Asian Investment Bank – to build pipelines in China. Your tax dollars are being used by the Trudeau Liberals to build pipelines in China and the US.

Each year Alberta contributes over fifteen percent of the national GDP, equaling to over $331 billion dollars to Canada’s national economy. The oil sands alone have injected almost $13 billion dollars into the economy in 2017.

Unfortunately, we are faced with a Liberal government run by ideologues that do not support our energy industry and the jobs and prosperity it brings. They actively work against our province and ruin major energy projects. Since winning in 2015, Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government have displayed their traditional interest in fighting against Alberta and our energy industry by allying themselves with foreign-funded anti-oil radicals. They killed the Northern Gateway pipeline which would have brought our oil to a deep-water port for export, and killed Energy East, which would have brought our oil to eastern Canada, thus displacing oil imports from some of the world’s worst human rights abusing regimes. They have introduced the discriminatory anti-Alberta Bill C-48 and the job killing no-new-pipeline Bill C-69 and of course the carbon tax.

The way they have treated Alberta is discouraging, but we won’t give up. My Opposition colleagues and I will continue fighting to hold the Liberal government to account for the lack of support for Albertans every step of the way. If, like us, you’re fed up with this government’s double speak, you can add your voice to the tens of thousands of Canadians who want the Trans-Mountain pipeline built. My colleague Shannon Stubbs has launched a petition calling on the government to take immediate action and I encourage you to sign it here: https://www.shannonstubbs.ca/buildtmx. Help us get this project done.

MAY 9: Tax breaks for who?

Remember just a few weeks back when the Trudeau Liberals stunned Canadians by giving $12 million dollars to the super-wealthy owners of Loblaws and Superstore to buy new fridges?  Well, they’re at it again.

In another example of how stunningly out-of-touch the Ottawa Liberals are, Budget 2019 has saddled Canadians with a cost-hiking carbon tax all the while giving subsidies to the wealthy to buy electric vehicles – that are made in the US. Yes, taxpayer dollars to subsidize the well-off and create jobs in the US.

Currently, the average cost of the most popular electric vehicles in Canada (the Chevy Bolt and the Nissan Leaf) is around $42,000 and up for a basic model. Add on tax and you’re at around $45,000. The Liberals are proposing to give a $5,000 subsidy – leaving a net $40,000 purchase (or about a $900 a month car loan). Tesla has announced it will offer a barebones Tesla as well priced at $44,995 to ensure their purchasers can access your tax dollars as well. Oh, in case you weren’t aware, Elon Musk – owner of Tesla, is worth over $25 Billion. So the Trudeau Liberals are using your tax dollars to create jobs in the US in support of the 80th richest person in the world. 

The issue isn’t about the value comparison for buying electric or sticking with the status quo – or whether having a few more EV’s on the road will help the environment.

The issue is the average Canadian simply doesn’t have $40,000 laying around to upgrade their family vehicle. Nor are they able to re-mortgage their house to buy an electric vehicle as the BC Green Party leaders suggests. The government’s taxpayers’ funded gift for the well off for electric vehicles doesn’t benefit the average Canadian. It helps the wealthy. And with the launch of the Ottawa Liberals’ carbon tax, it’s becoming even harder for middle-class taxpayers to make ends meet.

The Liberals claim their carbon tax will put more money in the pockets of Canadian taxpayers – and that it will be revenue neutral. They conveniently forgot to mention they’ll pocket the GST that they’re applying on the carbon tax. They also don’t mention the fact that companies will simply pass on the carbon tax to consumers –  making everything from food to clothing more expensive. Nor do they mention the carbon tax will make everything we produce less competitive and cost us jobs.

This is yet another way that the Liberals have misled Canadians. As I’ve said, again and again, if their reliance on policy mechanisms like electric vehicle subsidies and carbon taxes were really an environmental plan, they would include the biggest emitters to share the biggest burden. They haven’t done that. Rather, they’ve opted to increase the cost of living for people across the country, hiked the cost of food, and hiked the cost of energy and gas bills. Real action needs real change, and we have yet to see real change.

APRIL 30: Just like we warned, your taxes are going up

Let’s talk about taxes. We’ve seen record spending from a government that has absolutely no plan to pay down the deficit. The Official Opposition has said repeatedly that today’s deficits are tomorrow’s tax hikes. What’s concerning is this is exactly what’s happening. The Liberals are raising taxes across the board, making it harder and harder for Canadians to make ends meet.

The independent, non-partisan, Fraser Institute writes that more than 90% of Canadian families will pay higher taxes once the Liberals’ taxes are fully implemented. Hikes to CPP deductions will not benefit retired Canadians for decades – but you’ll pay a lot more now, and in years to come. Remember when we discovered the Liberals were planning on taxing benefits like staff meals and employee discounts? The CRA’s own website shows that the Liberals’ plan to tax employee discounts is ‘currently under review’.  Hardworking, low-income, wage-earning retail workers should not have to pay tax on the small employee discounts they receive. We also have the Parliamentary Budget Officer who has found that Trudeau’s plan to tax employer-provided health benefits will cost Canadians $2.8 billion in higher personal income tax. 

Finally we have the Carbon Tax, a tax that not only doesn’t reduce emissions but raises the price of everything for consumers. This is especially concerning for people like seniors who are on a fixed income, increasing the cost of gas, home heating, food, and everyday essentials. Let me be clear; this Carbon Tax is not an environmental plan. If it were, Justin Trudeau wouldn’t have negotiated massive exemptions for Canada’s largest emitters. They will be able to pollute for free while families and small business owners get hit with the full force of the tax.

A Conservative government will scrap the Liberal Carbon Tax, end the review to tax employee discounts and benefits, introduce tax credits like the Tax-Free Home Heating Plan, and help Canadians get ahead.