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Bill Morneau - When are you going to help the energy sector?

December 18, 2018

Honourable Bill Morneau House of Commons Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

Dear Mr. Morneau,

I am writing to express my frustration with your government’s continued lack of meaningful action to support the Canadian energy industry.

It has been three weeks since you spoke to the Chamber of Commerce in Calgary, and the best solutions that have been put forward are changes to EI and the “Accelerated Investment Incentive”. Running up the deficit by spending more money to support out-of-work Albertans is not what we need. Albertans don’t want increased EI payments; we want to work and contribute to the country.

Writing off capital investments faster without revenue does not improve business conditions in the struggling energy sector. There isn’t a need to purchase more equipment if it won’t be used, especially when there is surplus equipment sitting idle. We need a better action plan from your government.

Minister Sohi’s plan to ensure existing pipelines are fully utilized is at least a tangible action plan, but one that doesn’t do anything to resolve the problem; the pipelines are full. I have enclosed a report from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) on this matter.

Spending $4.5 billion to purchase the existing TransMountain pipeline from a private American company does not give you a continued free pass to ignore the dire situation in Alberta, nor does it allow you to avoid telling Canadians what you plan to do with our money that you spent to purchase the pipeline. Contrary to what you keep saying publicly, most rational Canadians on both sides of the argument do not support your government’s decision to purchase the pipeline.

The situation in Alberta is dire. Thousands of people continue to lose their jobs in addition to the more than 100,000 people who have already lost their job in the last 4 years; Albertans are staying unemployed for an average of 20.9 weeks; suicide rates are rising to alarming levels; domestic abuse is increasing; drug use is at epidemic levels. I have no doubt that the current energy crisis is a contributing factor, and a robust, functioning energy sector could be the solution to a lot of these problems.

Unfortunately, your government’s policies are hurting every day, average people all across the country. They're losing everything they have worked for. It's cruel and unfair, but the energy sector continues to receive no meaningful support. That’s why we rally and will continue to rally until your government, or the next elected government, takes appropriate corrective action.

Perhaps government policies should include an examination of the potential to put people into poverty if the project is rejected. Maybe in addition to conducting a gender-based analysis, a poverty impact analysis should be completed. In the case of the Canadian energy sector, that would begin by ensuring fair, consistent regulations that allow Canadian energy companies to compete effectively on the global stage. If these businesses stay in business, and even thrive, their people stay employed, and they thrive.

As James Freeman Clark said, “The difference between a politician and a statesman is that a politician thinks about the next election while the statesman thinks about the next generation.” I hope you choose to be a statesman.


Deidra Garyk

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