Hon. Andrew Scheer – Remarks (Blockades)
February 18, 2020
CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY
Mr. Speaker, that was the weakest response to a national crisis in Canadian history. Now, I listened to the Prime Minister's ‘word salad’ just now, Mr. Speaker, and at least two key things were missing: a clear denunciation that the actions of these radical activists are illegal, and some kind of an action plan that would put an end to the illegal blockades and get our economy back on track. The Prime Minister's statement was a complete abdication of responsibility and of leadership.
Je viens d’écouter la salade de mots du premier ministre. Il manque quelques points importants: la dénonciation claire que les actions de ces activistes radicaux sont illégales, et un plan d’action pour stopper ces barrages illégaux et remettre notre économie en marche. La déclaration du premier ministre est un rejet total de responsabilité et un échec de leadership.
Mr. Speaker, we are at an important time in our country's history, a time when we will have to decide who and what our country stands for. Will we be a country of yes, where big national projects can get built and our country can grow and develop? Or, will our country be a country of no, where a few loud voices can shut down development and prosperity for all?
Will our country be one of the ‘rule of law’ or will our country be one of the ‘rule of the mob?’
Will we let our entire economy be held hostage by a small group, trampling over the legal system which has governed our country for more than 150 years?
Because let me be clear, Mr. Speaker, standing between our country and prosperity is a small group of radical activists, many of whom have little to no connection to First Nations communities. A bunch of radical activists who won’t rest until our oil and gas industry is entirely shut down. Now, they may have the luxury of not having to go to work every day. They may have the luxury of not facing repercussions for skipping class. But they are blockading our ports, our railways, our borders, and our roads and highways. And, they are appropriating an indigenous agenda which they are willfully misrepresenting.
And Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's elevation of these protestors to the same level as the thousands of men and women in First Nations communities across our country who have in good faith been trying to right the wrongs of Canadian history does a disservice to the spirit of reconciliation.
The Prime Minister has emboldened and encouraged this kind of behaviour by cancelling other big projects based on political consideration instead of on science and on facts.
Permettez-moi d’être clair, Monsieur le Président: un groupe d’activistes radicaux s’oppose à notre pays et à notre prospérité. Nombre d’entre eux ont peu ou pas de liens avec les communautés des Premières Nations. Des activistes radicaux qui ne vont pas arrêter tant que
notre secteur pétrolier et gazier ne sera pas complètement stoppé. Ils bloquent nos ports, nos chemins de fer, nos frontières, et nos routes et nos autoroutes.
Mr. Speaker, the reality is that a vast majority of members of the Wet'suwet'en people support the Coastal GasLink project. Every single elected band council on the Coastal GasLink route supports this project. Even the majority of hereditary chiefs support this project. And the vast majority of First Nations community members themselves support this project because this project will create jobs, it will create opportunities, it will lead to investments in their communities, and in the end, it will help reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.
This is a fantastic opportunity for the Wet'suwet'en people, Mr. Speaker. So why are these radical activists opposing this project? Because, for them, this is just a warm-up act. A warm-up act for what they consider to be the next fights against Trans Mountain and against Teck Frontier, and in the end, their goal is the entire shut down of our energy industry.
Now, it’s important to remember who the victims of this all have been, who have been victimized by Liberal inaction. It’s the farmer, who can’t get their grain to market; it’s the small business owners, who can’t get their shipments in time; it’s the homeowners, who may face trouble getting their home heating for the winter; and it’s the workers facing layoffs. And the ultimate victims are the Wet'suwet'en members themselves looking for prosperity for their children, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker, Conservatives have been calling for common sense and appropriate recommendations to end these illegal blockades. We have called on the Liberal government to enforce the rule of law. What we were expecting today was some sort of an announcement about a plan that would put an end to these illegal blockades.
Les conservateurs ont présenté des recommandations sensées et appropriées pour arrêter ces barrages illégaux.
Instead, today we heard literally nothing.
Now, let me be clear, Mr. Speaker. Every single Canadian has the right to free speech. Everyone has the right to say their piece, regardless how much we may agree or disagree. But nobody, and I mean nobody, has the right to hold our economy hostage, Mr. Speaker.
Tout le monde a le droit de donner son point de vue, que nous soyons d'accord ou non avec le message. Mais personne — et je répète : personne — n'a le droit de tenir notre économie en otage.
The blockades across our country are illegal and it’s time the government stepped in and did something about that. On this side of the House, we stand with the farmers. On this side of the House, we stand with commuters. On this side of the House, we stand with workers facing layoffs. We stand with everyday, hard-working Canadians. Most importantly, on this side of the House, we stand in solidarity with the Wet'suwet'en people. We stand in solidarity with the elected councillors of the Wet'suwet'en First Nation. We stand in solidarity with the majority of
hereditary chiefs from the Wet'suwet'en First Nation, who recognize that these types of projects and investments are the only way to lift First Nation Canadians out of poverty, give them hope and opportunity, and give the next generation of Indigenous Canadians the same quality of life that everyone else in this country enjoys, Mr. Speaker.