Since taking over leadership of Canada’s Conservatives late this past summer, Erin O’Toole hasn’t exactly become a household name. As much as conservatives like to criticize the clear media bias often in favour of left-leaning parties, the media is the key instrument required to reach the masses of ordinary Canadians, especially those who are disengaged from the political arena.
Erin O’Toole’s first few months as leader were broadly overshadowed by media coverage on the urgent public health and safety crisis generated by the global pandemic. As we learn more about this pandemic, it becomes ever more clear that the Prime Minister and this administration are falling short in fulfilling the needs of Canadians. First with a lack of clarity in communicating their vaccine procurement strategy, and now hearing from Pfizer that vaccine delivery will be halved until April, this government has misled and mistreated vulnerable Canadians.
Further, as the new administration in the United States, led by President Biden, looks toward a ‘Green Future’, Canada’s already neglected oil and gas sector is set to take yet another massive blow as the President has promised to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline. Intended to bring oil from Alberta to Nebraska en route to refineries in the Gulf Coast. According to Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, the now-cancelled Keystone XL pipeline was set to infuse the job market with about 7,000 new jobs which would be astronomical considering current employment circumstances. Additionally, the government of Alberta has just over a billion dollars at stake in the project while TC Energy approved eight billion dollars in spending on the project last year.
While Justin Trudeau only wants to refine his reputation among inconsequential global leaders and foreign populations, he fails to stand up for Canadian workers, families, businesses, and ultimately voters. Leaving the Premiers and even some more competent American counterparts to fight for the jeopardized investment, the Prime Minister is once again falling short in his quest for an idealistic fantasy in the face of a very stark reality.
As great as it would be to be able to fully support such a modern and expanding society as that of Canada’s entirely with green energy, the renewable sector has not yet reached that stage of long term viability. In the short term, it is essential that Canada continues to invest in oil and gas. Since President Biden has taken office, several high profile American Senators including Republican Leader, Mitch McConnell and Marco Rubio have railed against his decision to block the Keystone project while Prime Minister Trudeau has only been able to muster a mere sentiment of disappointment.
Western Premiers seem to be the only Canadian leaders forcefully resisting the decision of the new American administration. In the coming days and weeks, Kenney will continue to press the federal government to seek financial reparations under the USMCA agreement in order to at least compensate Alberta and TC Energy for their sunk investments.
In addition to the Keystone XL debacle, former Governor General, Julie Payette’s resignation under shameful circumstances shines light on yet another major failure on the Prime Minister’s part. By foregoing the previous, nonpartisan procedure for designating a Governor General, Justin Trudeau has none other than himself to blame for putting someone with a history of questionable workplace behaviour in Canada’s viceregal post.
As Canadian politics heats up again following the winter hiatus, major priorities like vaccine procurement and economic revival are occupying the minds of Canadians and parliamentarians. With differing perspectives on how to approach these pressing challenges, tensions are boiling in Ottawa as parties jostle for an edge.
Now is the time for Canada’s Conservatives, as a government in waiting, to step up to show Canadians that tough times call for tough government, and Justin Trudeau is not one to stand up and fight for the people where it matters. With an election looming inevitably in the coming months, all parties are already in high gear, angling for influence and leverage, Erin O’Toole’s team is continuing to press this faltering government in the media and in Parliament, and their message is starting to be heard and recognized by Canadians from coast to coast to coast.