YYC Matters: City of Calgary Priorities – Federal Election 2019
Promoting Calgary’s Economic Recovery
Section 1 - Promote Economic Recovery
Q. Strategy for supporting Calgary’s recovery - What is your party’s strategy to support Calgary’s recovery as we reshape our future? What will your party do to support our responsible energy industry and ensure our resources get the best price?
Restoring Jobs in the Energy Sector
The Conservative Party of Canada is proud of Canada’s oil and gas industry. We recognize the vital role of Alberta and its energy sector in contributing to the health of the Canadian economy, jobs for Canadians in every region of our nation, and providing sustainable funds to support social programs for every jurisdiction.
Albertans have the right to work in the energy sector. We will proudly continue to take a strong leadership role to ensure this happens, and support and unapologetically advocate for energy sector workers. We will restore investor confidence in the oil and gas industry, with a clear plan and vision for the development of our energy resources.
Under our previous Conservative government, four pipelines were built, four more pipelines were approved, and investment in the energy sector was stable and increasing. At the same time, Canada saw a decrease in the growth of its GHG emissions, while our economy was growing.
Early in his mandate at a town hall meeting, Trudeau said, “We can’t shut down the oil sands tomorrow. We need to phase them out.” Since then, he has done everything possible to make this a reality. Trudeau’s record on energy sector jobs is as follows:
Over the last four years, Calgary Conservatives have been actively fighting this destructive agenda, while the lone Liberal cabinet minister in Calgary, Kent Hehr, cheerfully helped Trudeau destroy our economy.
Since 2015, Conservatives have:
Going forward, the Conservative Party has a 6-point plan to get projects built and support Alberta’s economy:
An Andrew Scheer Conservative government will also establish a Canadian Energy Corridor, which will aid in the development of Canada’s energy sector.
Restoring a Climate for Job Creators to Create Jobs
Businesses across Calgary have struggled as Trudeau’s anti-energy sector policies have chased away investment and triggered massive layoffs. Significant increases in City of Calgary property taxes have also exacerbated layoffs and business closures.
The Conservative Party of Canada has fought Trudeau’s never-ending tax hikes and new regulations that make it harder to grow and operate local businesses. These include:
At a time when Calgary businesses were struggling, Justin Trudeau and Bill Morneau steamrolled ahead for months with his small business tax increases, claiming that business owners were just rich tax cheats. The Conservative Party of Canada vigorously fought these tax increases.
Trudeau’s small business tax hikes and complicated compliance rules are so vague and complicated that a former Chief Justice of the Tax Courts said they will lead to a “battle” in court between taxpayers and the Canada Revenue Agency, and the Parliamentary Budget Officer has estimated that they could end up costing entrepreneurs more than $1 billion.
An Andrew Scheer led Conservative government would repeal Trudeau’s tax increases on small business investment, and help Calgary small businesses get ahead and create jobs.
Technology, Not Taxes – The Intersection of the Environment and Canada’s Energy Sector
The Conservative Party’s Real Plan to Protect Our Environment strengthens Canada’s economic advantage and encourages environmental sustainability by making sure major emitters do their part to lower emissions, while incentivising the adoption of Canadian developed clean technology.
Guided by our Green Technology, Not Taxes principle, Canada’s Conservatives will require Canadian companies to lead by example and invest in emissions-reducing technology if they fall short of our emissions standards. This will create a market for Canadian, and Calgary developed, clean technology. This will create new jobs and protect our environment.
We will continue to consult with provinces, territories, business leaders and industry experts to make sure that our standards are not just enforced but are also fair. Our standards will keep pace with technological change so that our businesses can adapt and continue to be competitive and environmentally sustainable, reducing their emissions with minimal economic impact. We are committed to protecting Canadian industry from the negative impacts of carbon leakage by ensuring that standards are set with their competitive environments in mind.
As Prime Minister, Andrew Scheer will set emissions standards for major emitters that will lower greenhouse gases and drive Canadian businesses to the highest standards of green technology.
In addition to this, an Andrew Scheer government will develop a dedicated, coast-to-coast right-of-way specifically set aside for energy infrastructure projects.
Rather than have industry submit complicated route proposals for every new transmission line and pipeline project, we could have a single corridor – planned up front and in full consultation with the provinces and with Indigenous Canadians who would share in the prosperity that it would provide.
With a single corridor, we could minimize environmental impacts, lower the costs of environmental
assessments, increase certainty for investors, and most importantly, get these critical projects built. All while doing Canada’s part in the fight against climate change by lowering global emissions.
More Good News
As with all sections of this survey (below), additional information on the Conservative Party’s plan to grow our economy will be contained in our platform, which will be published in its entirety in the coming days.
Q. Clear and fair regulatory review process for infrastructure - What will your party do to establish clarity and certainty in regulatory processes for timely decisions on critical Canadian infrastructure projects in the public interest?
The Conservative Party strongly supports the timely development of critical public infrastructure projects.
Under Justin Trudeau’s government, vital infrastructure projects are not getting built. Calgarians need less photo ops with Liberal politicians reannouncing the same funding announced by the Harper government, and more projects to actually be built.
A Conservative Government would review and improve Canada’s regulatory practises as it relates to infrastructure development. We would lead a system that adheres to Canada’s world class environmental standards, and reduces politicization.
We will work closely with municipalities to move forward on ensuring that we have the best regulations possible to get important infrastructure built.
Q. Improving federal-municipal relations - What is your party’s plan for building strong cities in Canada?
With a majority of Canadians living in urban centres, the federal government must have a strong relationship with the leaders of its municipal government in order to ensure the needs of urban Canadians are met.
There is only one taxpayer, and it is vital that all three levels of government work together to ensure wise stewardship of public funds, and efficient and effective delivery of public services.
Calgary area Conservative Members of Parliament have a strong history of reaching out to Calgary City Councillors and working collaboratively with them on projects such as the Green Line.
Good public policy starts with positive working relationships, and members of all three levels of government must constantly put partisan and personal differences aside to deliver for those we represent. A Conservative government would welcome strong positive interaction with the Mayor’s Office should he so choose, and continued positive interaction with the entirety of Calgary City Council.
A Conservative Government will work collaboratively with all municipalities to ensure that local priorities for infrastructure and policy are delivered, and that projects move forward in a timely and fiscally responsible basis.
Q. Investing in Public Infrastructure - Does your party commit to funding a portion of the construction of the Fieldhouse and the renewal of the Arts Commons?
Per above, Canada’s Conservatives are committed to working with the City of Calgary to identify key infrastructure priorities and work collaboratively to ensure that projects move forward. We are also cognizant of the tax burden many Calgarians are struggling to shoulder, and would work collaboratively to ensure that cost of living affordability is reflected in public spending decisions.
Q. Immigration as a driver of economic growth - What is your party’s position on immigration to Canada, and how will you ensure cities see the benefits of this immigration?
Canada is a nation of immigrants that stands on the traditional territories of, and shoulder to shoulder with, First Nations and Indigenous persons.
The Conservative Party recognizes the vital role immigration plays in Canada. However, over the last four years under Justin Trudeau, our once strong, compassionate and fair immigration system has come under abuse. This is detrimental to Canadians and newcomers alike.
A Conservative government will work immediately to restore the fairness, order and compassion of our immigration system.
A Conservative government led by Andrew Scheer will seek to ensure that newcomers to Canada, like so many who have already done so, integrate into the Canadian economic and social fabric. The Conservative Party believes this principle is key to sustaining Canada’s pluralism, and that the best way to do this is to encourage and enable newcomers to become self-sufficient.
A Conservative government led by Andrew Scheer will ensure that our humanitarian immigration system prioritizes the world’s most vulnerable, and that our intake numbers reflect the cost realities of supporting the integration of those who have fled extreme persecution.
A Conservative government led by Andrew Scheer will directly link the number and skills of people seeking to enter Canada for economic reasons, to the needs of Canada’s economy.
More details on our Conservative vision for a fair, orderly and compassionate immigration system can be found here https://mprempel.ca/news/f/mp-rempel%E2%80%99s---%E2%80%98pathway-to-canada%E2%80%99-remarks.
Q. Immigration as a driver of economic growth - How will you ensure municipalities have access to the best employees and protect them from legislation like Quebec’s Bill 21?
The Conservative Party of Canada strongly believes that the freedom to practice religion is a fundamental right of all Canadians. Bill 21 was a decision made by Québec MNAs. A Conservative Government will not propose similar legislation at the federal level.
Section 2 - Honouring Commitments to Calgary
Q. Permanent, higher funding for infrastructure from the Gas Tax Fund - Does your party support existing (Gas Tax Fund) or other mechanisms to directly and permanently fund the renewal and construction of municipal infrastructure?
It was our previous Conservative government that understood the importance of the Gas Tax Fund and extended it, doubled it from $1 billion to $2 billion annually, and legislated it as a permanent source of federal infrastructure funding for municipalities and communities.
Our previous Conservative government delivered record levels of infrastructure investments to Calgary, including $1.5B for the Green Line, Calgary post secondary institutions, community centres, roads, overpasses and more.
The Trudeau Liberal record when it comes to infrastructure is one of failure. Many of their Calgary area infrastructure announcements have been re-announcements of previous Conservative government funds, and they have failed to work with our municipal and provincial partners to get shovels in the ground and deliver projects on-time and on-budget.
We will work with municipalities and to get much needed projects built so Canadian families can get ahead. We will also honour any infrastructure funding announcements made by the Trudeau Liberals.
Q. Fair share of cannabis revenue - How will your party ensure that cities actually receive the federal funds needed to cover the administration and enforcement costs of legalization?
During the debate on the Liberal’s cannabis legislation, Conservatives were virtually the only voices raising the issue of the lack of planning on the part of Trudeau’s government as it relates to the cost burden the legislation would have on municipalities.
It was clear from day one that the Liberals had no plan to assist municipal governments that shoulder costs related to cannabis legalization, nor did they understand what the costs were to begin with.
We will review the implementation of the cannabis file – including taxation and distribution of taxation revenue, and work closely with municipalities on this issue.
Q. Public transit funding - How will your party support long-term transit funding to build and extend transit in Calgary?
A Conservative Government will work with municipalities such as Calgary to identify key infrastructure priorities and work with all stakeholders involved to make sure that important projects move forward. We must do better than Trudeau’s Liberal government – and that is what Canada’s Conservatives plan to do. We will prioritize projects that reduce commute times.
The Green Line LRT
The Green Line corridor has one of the highest ridership of existing transit in Calgary, yet is one of the most underserviced. What this means is that many Calgarians wait in lines to get on overcrowded busses every day, are forced to use a car to get to work, or experience social inclusion barriers due to a lack of readily available public transportation.
This is why, four years ago, Conservatives were proud to help deliver nearly $1.5B of federal funds to build the Green Line.
However, since then Calgarians have watched city council decrease the reach of the project by about 75%, while increasing the cost by billions. Bluntly put, decisions have been made by council which prevent the communities that need the train the most from getting it.
Worse, the economic downturn in our province, which has been exacerbated by Liberal policies like Bill C-69 and Bill C-48, has led to cash crunches at the municipal and provincial government levels in Alberta. This means the likelihood of this dramatically more expensive but less functional option ever being built has significantly decreased. Also, at a time when Calgarians are asking for real action to reduce GHG emissions, this delay is detrimental to good environmental stewardship in our city.
Additionally, the demand on the transit system in our city is increasing. We believe the City should be looking at all options to get the Green Line built within the extensive budget allocated to it, even if it means entertaining less expensive options. The consultations that were done years ago were conducted in a significantly different economic context, and the people consulted likely didn’t include those who now live in brand new communities such as those in north-central Calgary.
As the federal government is a significant funding partner in this project, the Conservative Party believes politicians and special interest groups who are involved in the planning of the Green Line should be looking for solutions to get this project built on time, to its original scope, and on budget.
The fact that approximately $300M has been spent without a single metre of track being laid is unacceptable. To throw more tax dollars at this project while it is being overseen by the same politicians who have created these massive cost overruns and scope decreases, without a clear plan from them to show how people in high ridership communities in outer north central and southern residential communities will actually get on a train in a meaningful period of time, would demonstrate poor political judgement.
Something must change. There are cost and time saving solutions for this project that must be pursued immediately in the interest of getting this project done so it can serve our community. There are a few current city councillors who recognize this and are working hard to achieve this goal. We hope the others will build on their good work for the benefit of our city.
Calgary area Conservative Members of Parliament are committed to working with Calgary City Council to get this vital project built on time, on budget, and within its full scope. We will work to ensure that Calgarians in underserviced parts of the city have access to public transit, and confidence that their tax dollars are being properly managed.
Public Transit Tax Credit
A Conservative Government would also introduce the Green Public Transit Tax Credit to reduce the cost of public transit and put more money back in the pockets of Canadians. The Green Public Transit Tax Credit will provide much-needed relief to transit users and commuters so they can just worry about getting home on time, and not so much about their bottom line. The Credit will be for transit passes that allow for unlimited travel within Canada on local busses, streetcars, subways, commuter trains, and ferries.
Section 3 - Supporting Calgarians through the Economic Recovery
Q. Mental health and addictions - What is your party’s plan to address this crisis? Will your party commit to high-level federal representation on Calgary’s Mental Health and Addiction
Mental health and addictions are two serious public policy challenges that Conservatives are committed to taking immediate action to address.
Our previous Conservative government created the Mental Health Commission of Canada and provided funding of $240M, and allocated $5.2M to support research on treating depression with a focus on suicide prevention. A Conservative government led by Andrew Scheer will build on this work and continue to take strong action to support those who face challenges and barriers related to mental health.
A Conservative government will protect families from the addiction crisis by:
Canada’s Conservatives are committed to the people of Calgary getting the proper mental health supports that they need, and would welcome the opportunity to partner with the City of Calgary to do the same.
Q. Made-in-Alberta mortgage rules - Does your party support creating market- and regionally-specific mortgage rules?
The federal government should be prepared to take a regional approach to mortgage qualification rules when necessary as the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation has done in the past.
A new Conservative government will introduce four new measures to make it easier for first-time
homebuyers to buy a home:
Calgarians need real solutions that address barriers to home ownership, not pre-election gimmicks like the “First Time Homebuyer Incentive” which does not address the needs of Calgary home-buyers affected by the stress test.