The Liberal Party of Canada has a history of intruding on provincial purview. Look no further than the National Energy Program which caused much of the hostility towards Pierre Elliott Trudeau in the West that is still felt today. The attitude of the first Prime Minister Trudeau unfortunately seems to be how the second Prime Minister Trudeau treats the country. The first job of any Prime Minister should be to promote and preserve national unity… regretfully, the Trudeau legacy is one that has divided the country.
This is clearly seen when you take a look at the war Justin Trudeau has waged against the energy industry, something that disproportionately affects western Canada. Last week, Liberal Minister of Justice David Lametti stated in response to a question at an Indigenous round table that he was “looking at” the National Resources Transfer Agreements signed in the 1930s that ceded resource rights and jurisdiction over natural resources to provinces. This agreement ensured that Alberta and Saskatchewan were constitutionally equal to other provinces. To flippantly bring this up when you are the nation’s attorney general was not only irresponsible but dangerous.
It is important to note that Indigenous rights are an important conversation. An example is that because of the Indian Act, Indigenous peoples do not have the ability to own property on reserves. This limits the ability of residents to qualify for a mortgage or start a business. This is also true when it comes to resource development, where First Nations should be able to benefit from resource development on their lands. But to threaten to tear up the constitution not only threatens national unity but also erodes the trust with First Nations.
The Minister’s comments are irresponsible, but it’s only confirmation of the trend of what the Liberals have been doing over the course of their time in Government. The evidence of this is clear in Canada’s natural resource sector and the right for provinces to have sole jurisdiction to manage those resources was hard fought. Despite this, Trudeau’s election and their record like the passage of job-killing legislation like the “No-More-Pipelines Act” Bill C-69, the “just transition,” refusing to respect the fact that Alberta elects its senators, imposing the carbon tax on unwilling jurisdictions, and other measures instituted by the Liberals… provinces are having to fight to keep that right. This is dividing the country and leaving Canadians behind.
The way the Liberal Government has worked with the provinces is a national embarrassment. While Lametti has confusingly half-retracted his comments (and Prime Minister Trudeau denied that they were even made), it is a clear indicator of what his government’s attitude is: distract, divide, and continue. This needs to change because it is tearing the country apart. The reality is that when provinces have less autonomy, it means less prosperity for both those jurisdictions and the entire nation.
And this is reaching a fever pitch in Alberta with the deadline approaching for the renewal of the equalization formula, one that will likely result in a unilateral extension of an unfair formula that, like so many other things under the Liberals, results in a more divided country. Unlike the current state of things, a government led by Pierre Poilievre will ensure provinces will be respected and that they will be treated like partners. Conservatives will always stand up for Canadian unity and ensure that we bring home prosperity for every Canadian.