Earl Dreeshen, Red Deer-Mountainview MP

MP Earl Dreeshen on budget 2021, economic recovery and environment policy

This year has continued to be a challenging one after a turbulent 2020. Many people are dealing with significant health effects, financial strain, mental health strain, and so much more.

I would challenge everybody to recognize that, to some degree, everyone in Canada has been affected by the pandemic. I encourage you to keep that in mind in our dealing with our neighbours and fellow community members going forward.

2021 Budget

For the first time in over two years, the Liberal government has tabled a budget. They spent most of the pandemic, and the year prior, dodging from accountability on their spending and we can see why.

It’s clear Justin Trudeau’s election budget fails to put forward a plan to adequately fund healthcare, grow the economy, and create jobs.

Trudeau’s budget is a massive letdown for Canadians. Unemployed Canadians, workers and families are all going to feel let down.

This is not stimulus spending focused on creating jobs, but spending on Liberal partisan priorities backed by a $100 billion election slush fund. Unfortunately, this budget does nothing to secure long term prosperity for Canadians. Instead, what Trudeau has proposed is a “reimagined” Canadian economy that dabbles in risky economic ideas, like abandoning Canada’s world leading and sustainable natural resource industries, leaving our economy in a precarious position.

For these reasons, my Conservative colleagues and I voted against the 2021 budget.

Economic Recovery

As Conservatives, we have been focused on economic recovery across Canada. We acknowledge that these times are unprecedented and additional measures were necessary. Millions of Canadians had their employment and businesses impacted and there was a responsibility to those who fell through the cracks.

However, the reason why these programs need to be extended is due to Trudeau’s failure on vaccines. We are behind many of our allies on moving forward which is why it is so critical that we have a plan to recovery now, and can hit the ground running when possible.

Erin O’Toole and our team has put forward Canada’s Recovery Plan, which is focused on creating financial security and certainty. This plan will safely secure our future and deliver a Canada where those who have struggled the most through this pandemic can get back to work.

Conservative Environment Policy

I have heard a lot of feedback already on the proposed Conservative Environment Policy.

As you might know, I have been a vehement opponent of the Liberal government’s environmental approach, and of their carbon tax. I have spoken in the House of Commons and other venues on many occasions about the devastating impact the carbon tax is having on our farmers and ranchers as well as its devastating impact on all residents of Alberta – who are literally seeing their paychecks and their savings eaten away by this ill-conceived Liberal tax.

My Conservative colleagues and I remain committed to scrapping the job-killing carbon tax. We also remain firmly committed to protecting and enhancing our environment. Conservatives have always been the party which cares the most about conserving our resources, protecting our soils and waters, while taking action to preserve the environment we live in. As Western Canadians, we all understand the need to preserve the environment for future generations.

What we don’t understand is the Liberal government’s approach which is one of big government taxing consumers and phasing out jobs at a time that we need them the most.

Our plan for the environment does include a carbon pricing mechanism. Young Canadians in particular want to see us take action on this front. And we will need a broader base of voter support than we have had in the past if we are going to form Canada’s next government.

In a nutshell, the Low Carbon Saving Account works like Airmiles or other affinity programs. When you purchase gas, your card is fully credited the carbon price. You can bank that money to eventually use on energy efficient products like new windows, hot water tanks, low emission equipment for your farm or business, etc. Businesses get their own account so they no longer pass the cost onto you the consumer as a ‘hidden carbon tax’.

A comparison I have heard is to the deposit on your cans and bottles. You pay it, but if you return the cans and bottles you get that money back. Yes, there will be upfront costs, but the costs will be less than 1/3 of the Liberal plan once fully implemented and you retain agency of every penny you put in.

One of the other major concepts is that small businesses and non-profits will be able to keep control of the money they pay, instead of the current system where these organizations subsidize the program for people in downtown Toronto who don’t have to drive to work.

The savings account idea is only a portion of the plan in total. I would encourage you to look at the whole plan if you are interested. One of the driving ideas is that we don’t want to shut down our industry just to see it end up in other jurisdictions. Our plan addresses that by being less punishing for using carbon while still incentivising more environmentally friendly practices through use of the savings plan. We will also study putting tariffs on certain products that come from places like China that do not do their part in addressing the environment, so that we are not artificially harming our own industries.

Independent analysis, conducted by Navius Research, found this plan would be expected to achieve substantially the same emission reductions as the Stephen Harper’s targets, while resulting in a boost to jobs and the economy. In addition, not a cent of consumer tax dollars will end up with bureaucrats in Ottawa.

Earl Dreeshen is the Red Deer-Mountain View MP.

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