By Trevor Busch
After seven years with the Trudeau Liberals holding the reins of power in Ottawa, cracks are showing in the united front that federal parties often point to when under assault from the Opposition.
Last month’s disastrous political gaff on the floor of the House of Commons, where MPs rose to salute a Ukrainian veteran who served with the Nazis during WWII, suggests those cracks appear to be widening.
Recent polls have shown the Liberals are slipping against Conservative gains and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s personal popularity is plummeting. Many Western Canadians, including some on both sides of the political spectrum, are beginning to wonder if the Liberals have reached their best before date.
“That’s pretty common in my area, for sure,” said Taber-Warner MLA Grant Hunter. “But it just seems like they’ve just lost their way. I don’t think that they are speaking for Canadians. There’s a lot of Canadians. I have friends all over Canada, and they are quite concerned with where this government is going.”
Ottawa’s accelerated push for a net zero future hasn’t played well in oil and gas rich provinces like Alberta, largely because targets and timelines are considered unfeasible by Edmonton.
“The province is not going to accept the price cap, or production cap, that will cost Albertans jobs,” said Hunter. “And we can’t do that, it’s just not acceptable. We’ve always stated that we are working tirelessly as an industry and government to be able to bring down emissions and to work at that. So we’ll continue to do that. And there’s certainly interest and efforts being made by industry, and we have some really good clever programmes that are helping to incentivize that. But the stuff that they’re doing from the federal government is, first of all, undoable. There’s no way that we can make it by 2032. We cannot make the transition to net zero by 2035 and they know it, they’ve already said it. But it just seems like they’re doing this to just punish us. That I don’t understand (when) we play such an important role in Confederation. And it just seems like they’re just not wanting to come to their senses. I really don’t understand.”
Back in Alberta, Hunter is preparing for the fall session of the legislature which begins in October.
“There’ll be a Speech from the Throne and you will understand where we’re looking to go from that. Exactly what you see or what you’ve heard in our campaign promises is what we’re going to do. We’re going to work on the economy, we’re going to work on health care, and stable government. Alberta is doing quite well right now. Yes, we’ve got our issues that are going to be worked through. But all in all, Alberta is doing very well in terms of bringing in more jobs. People are moving here, because we want to keep doing that, and hopefully conservative governments (promote) more jobs and strengthen the economy.”