One of the biggest day-to-day challenges I face as your Federal Member of Parliament is the fight against those individuals who want to take away jobs from three of Renfrew County’s largest employers; AECL, forestry and our Military. In the past, Canada traditionally had two centrist parties, Conservatives and Liberals, and a variety of fringe, special interest groups. With the rise of the left-wing (interventionist, big government, high taxes) NDP, and the decision of the liberal party to shift left to meet that threat, the Canadian consensus on issues like reliable power, developing our resource heritage and a credible defence has broken down.
During a recent debate on AECL, as I defended the almost 3,000 direct local jobs at stake, the Opposition NDP and 3rd party Liberals responded with mis-informed comments based on events that happened decades ago in other countries with no relevance to Canada’s nuclear industry.
The same thing happens with Canada’s renewable forest industry. The latest fad is “greenwashing,” the practice where people are told to do something to help the environment, when in actual fact it’s a money scam. An example of this is the trend of some companies to charge a “fee” for paper bills. That fee is all about additional profits. Ontario employs some of the best forest management practices. We are the envy of the world. We plan, we harvest and we renew as well or better than the vast majority of any other jurisdiction. Harvesting keeps our forest healthy. Ontario’s forests are protected from fire. Harvesting is the only effective means to renew the boreal forest outside a fire based renewal cycle. Boreal forest trees species have finite life spans. If we protect our boreal forests from fire we must harvest them or be prepared to have them age, die, rot, release carbon and cease to support all wildlife which depends on uneven forest composition to remain viable.
As a 14-year veteran of the Standing Committee on National Defence, I have had a long-standing interest in the care and the well-being of the women and men who serve Canada in uniform. I have watched in disgust every time our soldiers and veterans have been made into political footballs and kicked around by the opposition.
The worst example for our women and men in uniform was the decision by the Liberal Party to use military procurement for partisan purposes and send our soldiers into Afghanistan without the proper equipment. The cancellation of the EH101 military helicopter contract for partisan political reasons cost the precious lives of Canadian soldiers. It is a fact that once our Conservative government provided the strategic lift for our soldiers to get them off the ground and away from the improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that lined the roads of Afghanistan, the casualty rate dropped.
The current official opposition, regardless of what it says, does not believe that Canada should have a properly equipped military. Every time the Leader of the Opposition invokes the name of our soldiers and veterans, the purpose is to embarrass the government. As proof, they have voted against every measure that increased funding to our military.
I did not choose to be your Member of Parliament to sit on my hands and say nothing. And, from time to time saying unpopular things might make me unpopular with the left-wing crowd. Rest assured that I will continue to stand up for the hard-working people at AECL, serving or have served their country in Canada’s military or are employed in the working forest!