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Time to get Parliament Working Again

June 12, 2018

Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

c/o Office of the Prime Minister

80 Wellington St Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2

Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette

c/o Office of the Secretary to the Governor General

Rideau Hall 1 Sussex Drive Ottawa ON K1A 0A1

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau and Governor General Payette,

I’m writing in response to the government’s decision made on May 26, 2020, to suspend full parliamentary sittings until September.

I recognize that we are in an unprecedented time, a time that is challenging leaders of all calibres, and forcing decisions that have not been necessary in a century. However, considering where we are at in this pandemic’s lifecycle and the information we’ve learned about it, I have to question the wisdom of continued postponement of parliament. Governing using a special committee on COVID-19 is simply not sufficient, particularly because parliament has been effectively shut down since mid-March.

An accountable, functioning government is important to me because I work in the oil and gas sector, a sector that has been particularly hard hit even though its value has been magnified throughout the crisis. Unfortunately, it has been kept waiting for a sufficient portion of the financial relief that has been distributed hand over fist.

Prime Minister, you have said that the oil and gas sector is essential, even as we transition towards a cleaner energy future. You are correct. Nonetheless, the industry is in the middle of a crisis, some of which was created long before COVID-19 due to poor public policy put in place by your government. The oil and gas service sector has been particularly hit hard by these policies. This impacts the workers. The climate activists don’t want bail out money going to “billionaire CEO’s”, but what they don’t realize is that when the company goes down, the workers go down with it.

Now we have the Task Force for a Resilient Recovery to contend with. A task force whose self-proclaimed agenda is to influence the government’s green policies to help restart our battered economy. A task force made up of academic, environmental, and political influencers, like your good friend Gerald Butts, but devoid of anyone from the conventional energy sector who can speak to the practicality of proposed “solutions” and the large sums of money required to implement them. Would it not be wise to have people with real-world experience involved to provide balance and a dose of realism so that tax dollars are spent prudently?

It appears the Task Force has an agenda for the post-COVID stimulus program funded through tax dollars – green energy at any and all costs. Considering some members of this Task Force orchestrated the disastrous Green Energy Program in Ontario, resulting in the highest electricity prices in North America, lost jobs, and minimal emissions reductions, I have serious concerns about the consequences of any proposals put forward by this Task Force. The entire country cannot afford Ontario’s Green Energy Program. It will bankrupt ordinary Canadians and small businesses while making the wealthy, powerful inner circle even more wealthy and powerful. This is why we need parliament to resume immediately. Any proposals put forward need to be thoroughly vetted and debated so that those that benefit Canadians can be implemented and those that divide the country further by benefiting the inner circle can be struck down.

Ms. Payette, yours isn’t only a ceremonial role. You have a non-partisan responsibility to ensure our democracy functions effectively for the people of Canada, and you can do that by ensuring government accountability. Opening parliament is a good first step. You have the powers to do so. The first item in the list of the Governor General’s responsibilities is “summoning, proroguing and dissolving Parliament.”

Please resume parliament so our elected representatives can get back to debating the merits of public policy and spending plans before it’s too late for Canada’s oil and gas sector and we have to surrender our market share to producers in other less favorable jurisdictions.


Deidra Garyk

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