Discover more from Resuming Debate
Supreme Court Strikes Down Anti-Pipeline Bill C-69
Plus $1 billion in cuts to the military, Auditor General reports and more
Supreme Court Strikes Down Anti-Pipeline Bill C-69
Last week, the Supreme Court announced that Bill C-69, the ‘No More Pipelines’ bill, was found to be largely unconstitutional. In a 5-2 decision penned by Chief Justice Wagner, the Court described Bill C-69 as “inviting the federal government to make decisions in respect of projects that it has no jurisdiction to regulate.”
The Chief Justice went on to say that sections of the bill “grants the decision maker a practically untrammelled power to regulate projects ... regardless of whether Parliament has jurisdiction to regulate a given physical activity in its entirety” and that other parts of the bill represents an unconstitutional arrogation of power by Parliament.” This is a stunning indictment of the federal Liberal government.
The decision affirms everything conservatives, public figures, and many business leaders said about the bill since its inception. Every point raised in the Supreme Court decision was highlighted by Conservatives in debate on Bill C-69 nearly five years ago. The Court affirmed every argument and caution on jurisdictional overreach, the wide scope and latitude for unwarranted federal intervention, and many others. The Supreme Court now affirms Bill C-69 “exceeds the bounds of federal jurisdiction,” just like Conservatives warned. Most importantly, the majority decision highlights that the “‘designated projects’ scheme intrudes more than incidentally into the provinces’ constitutional sphere”, a scheme about which the Chief Justice said, “Parliament has plainly overstepped its constitutional competence.” This was a challenge led by the Alberta government and supported by nearly every other province including Ontario and Quebec.
While a significant legal victory, the battle is far from won. With the appeal successful and upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada, many parts of C-69 are now unenforceable in law. This adds to the instability and lack of certainty for businesses. The federal government has claimed it will offer “legislative tweaks” (their words) to fix the legislation, but judging from the decision it will be impossible without a significant redrafting and preferably dumping the entirety that is now unenforceable.
There is also other news for energy workers and their families in our communities. The NDP-Liberal government recently introduced and now moved to shutdown debate on their “Just Transition” Bill C-50, a government-mandated tearing down of the most productive sector of Canada’s economy. Canada is home to the third largest oil reserves in the world, with recoverable reserves of 171 billion barrels. Canada is the fifth largest producer of natural gas and has the 19th largest proven natural gas reserves in the world, enough to supply consumers with natural gas for more than 300 years. The Liberal plan will kill 170,000 direct Canadian jobs, displace 450,000 workers directly and indirectly working in the energy sector, and risk the livelihoods of 2.7 million Canadians across all provinces the sectors of energy, manufacturing, construction, transportation, and agriculture. As Calgarians, we know that the prime minister is just not worth the cost. The NDP-Liberal coalition is pushing forward with its red tape and anti-energy agenda that will kill investment in Canada, much like Bill C-69 did. Years ago, when this was first debated, I warned the Liberal government they were ignoring the Constitution and that no new projects would be built in between. That turned out to be accurate. I invite you to read what I said at the time during the debate on the legislation that has now been struck down.
Canadian Military Expected to Face $1 billion in Budget Cuts
In testimony before the parliamentary defence committee, Chief of Defence Staff Wayne Eyre revealed that the Canadian Armed Forces is facing nearly $1 billion in cuts by the Liberal government. This is a baffling decision, in light of the unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022 and the ever-increasing dangers of global conflict elsewhere, such as the Taiwan strait as well as the recent declaration of war by Israel on the terrorist group Hamas after the October 7th massacre of civilians and hostage taking. The world is increasingly unstable, and a stronger military footprint is in our national security interest.
The Liberals claim that they have increased spending year-on-year. This is extremely misleading. The bulk of the increased expenditure has come from procurement projects such as the F-35 jet fighter or the Royal Navy’s Canadian Surface Combatants (CSC), both of which have not been procured for use for the forces yet. For the CSCs, ballooning costs due to delays and other problems simply cannot be used to account for increased expenditures.
As it stands, Canada is only spending 1.3 per cent of its GDP on defence, significantly under the NATO pledge of 2 per cent which the prime minister promised to work towards in prior NATO summits. The military is already drastically underfunded, with numerous problems in procurement that has delayed replacement of old equipment. The military is about 16,000 people short already. Soldiers that Canada deployed to Latvia following the Russian invasion of Ukraine had to buy their own equipment, as the equipment on hand was too old and shoddy for use. Additionally, General Eyre said that Canada has not produced a single round of ammunition since February 2022, which is simply astounding. We are getting less and less prepared in a dangerous world. A $1 billion cut will further reduce our capacity to respond and react with our allies. This must be reversed.
Touring Calgary Shepard residents in Parliament
In my role as a parliamentarian, residents of Calgary Shepard are at the forefront of my mind. When they visit Ottawa, I am always happy to give a tour to constituents to visit their Parliament. Welcome to Tim and Bev, I hope you enjoyed your visit! For any residents who are visiting Ottawa and wish to meet and tour their Parliament, please reach out to my office below.
Auditor General slams Federal Government for Lack of Results
On Thursday, the Auditor General tabled five reports in Parliament of her audits of various government programs being carried out by the federal public service. All five reports were a resounding condemnation of an utter lack of government effectiveness, as gaps, delays and other deficiencies were laid bare. Important objectives, such as securing access to new antibiotics for Canadians, reducing immigration backlogs and wait times, and ensuring swift delivery of benefits and services through the Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security, have all fallen by the wayside, as wait times increase, reforms are delayed, and costs continue to rise and rise. Despite the Liberal government’s actions to drastically increase the size of the public service and its funding in recent years, adding up to 30% more federal public servants, problems continue and continue. More money, less results.
I got up early that Thursday to join the parliamentarian lock-up where we have the opportunity to review the reports. As the conservative shadow minister for immigration, refugees and citizenship, I took on the review of Report 9, which outlined how eight permanent residency programs were performing. All eight had failed the AG’s tests. Significantly, two of the programs were in violation of Treasury Board guidelines. It also turned out some files waited up to 2 years before a human reviewed them or did the intake. Furthermore, you had a 1 in 100 chance of being assigned to an internal processing code that would result in your file being delayed for processing or forgotten. Terrible results. I later joined the parliamentary public accounts committee to talk with the AG on what she and her auditors found. You can watch it on CPAC below.
Townhall Success on Cost of Living
Thank you to the over 100 residents who came out on a weekday to my cost-of-living townhall to talk about rising prices. Thanks to former Liberal MP and Trudeau critic Dan McTeague for travelling from Ontario to talk about how Liberal government policies are driving up transportation fuel costs and thereafter everything else. I noted many of the concerns voiced by residents and will ensure that Ottawa hears your voice.