Ron Liepert Replies to the Throne Speech

Mr. Ron Liepert (Calgary Signal Hill, CPC): Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to stand in this House today as the newly elected member for Calgary Signal Hill. It is a riding that I will talk a little bit about in a few minutes, but before I do that, I would like congratulate both you, Mr. Speaker, the member for Simcoe North, and the member for Halifax West for your new roles in this assembly in trying to ensure that we maintain those so-called sunny ways that was referred to by our leader this morning. I would also like to congratulate all 337 of my colleagues who were successful on October 19. We all know that it was a long campaign and it is truly an honour to be representing our constituents. Congratulations to each one of us.

    I would also like to take a moment and talk about my constituency of Calgary Signal Hill and the support that I received and continue to receive from both my family and the volunteers of my constituency. I was fortunate to have sat in the provincial legislative assembly of Alberta for two terms, and those same volunteers and constituents were there when I asked for their support on October 19. I am extremely grateful.

    Calgary Signal Hill is a riding that has a new name, but it is primarily made up of the former riding of Calgary West. It has always been a Conservative riding, but we have a little different representation today than we may have had in the past. I look forward to working with each member to ensure that our constituents feel as though they are represented in this House.

    One of the issues that I want to raise today is something that I had participated in on November 11, which was the celebration at Battalion Park. For those who do not know, our constituency of Signal Hill is one of the many foothill ridings which I happen to have the pleasure of representing. However, 100 years ago our young troops were being assembled at Camp Sarcee, which is by the Elbow River. Prior to leaving our country, they decided to recognize or have a remembrance of the battles they were going off to fight. They carried 16,000 stones that are all painted white and marked across the side of Signal Hill. The numbers on the side of Signal Hill are 137, 113, 151 and 51, which are the battalions of those particular soldiers who went off to war, many of whom did not come back.

    Therefore, we celebrated on November 11 not only to recognize the contributions that our soldiers have made to preserve the freedom that we enjoy here today but also to recognize the 100th anniversary of this particular park. There is an initiative to designate it as a national historic site and I would ask the government to seriously consider endorsing this initiative to declare Battalion Park a national historic site.

    With that, standing there on November 11, I just could not help thinking about those soldiers who gave up their lives for the freedom we enjoy today, and then turn that clock ahead 100 years when we have a government that is steadfastly refusing to defend our country against the thugs that are wanting to kill people in this world. We are withdrawing as defenders of freedom where those young men and women were the fighters for freedom 100 years ago. It is shameful. The throne speech, in my view, is shameful. It is shameful for what it does not say.

    We had a Prime Minister stand in this House early today who had the opportunity to fill those blanks in. Yes, we could have missed some things, he could have said. He could have talked about, as we have mentioned, agriculture, forestry, the economy, pipelines, energy or any number of things, but no. What did we hear? We heard all this fuzzy good news stuff.

    I am really happy that it is not me that has to go back to Calgary and sell this throne speech. I would not want to be the member for Calgary Centre, the Minister of Veterans Affairs, or the member for Calgary Skyview and have to go back and sell this throne speech in a city that has lost 110,000 jobs in the last year. It is shameful.

    There seems to be a view, in listening to some of the response to the throne speech on the other side of the House, that somehow if we just spend more taxpayers’ dollars, we will fix the economy. I even heard a member, and I was shaking my head wondering if I was hearing correctly, who said in this House that all we need in my constituency or my riding to fix the unemployment problem is to create more federal service jobs. That is hardly the way we are going to fix the economy.

    The way we can fix the economy is by working as a government to get out of the way of the private sector doing its job. We can start tomorrow, ensuring that we get access to tidewater for our products from western Canada.

    The differential in the price of oil when its at $100 internationally, a $20 differential is workable, but when that price of oil, the West Texas crude, is selling at $40 a barrel and we in western Canada are getting half that, that is not right. The main reason for that is because we are not moving forward on getting pipelines to the coast, because we are advocating to the environmental groups who continue to stand in the way. All I heard from the Prime Minister today was more support for that kind of standing in the way of development of the private sector.

    I do not know how much time I have, but just in case I do not have that much time left I am going to conclude by saying that the Minister of Finance will be in for a rude awakening when he starts preparing his budget in a few months. We have heard, and we heard the Prime Minister talking about it again, about taxing the tax rich crowd. That so-called rich crowd lives in my riding, and a whole bunch of that so-called Liberal designated rich crowd is not working today. They do not have jobs.

     This particular finance minister has his work cut out for him to bring in a budget that is going to cover all the expenses that we already see in that throne speech. I am not sure where the money is going to come from. As has been mentioned by both the deputy leader and the leader this morning, that deficit is already rising and by the time the budget comes in, I do not know what the number is going to be but it is not going to be pretty.

    The Liberal government is going to have to answer for it. It is all the promises that it is making in that fairytale world that it is living in over there, that world where that bunch there actually out-NDPed the NDP in the election. Now, how bad was that.

    I will conclude by saying this, Albertans made a decision last spring to elect an NDP government in Alberta. Hold the applause. We are in a mess in that province. Unfortunately we elected a couple of those Liberals in that last federal election on October 19.

    Thank goodness the majority of the province came back to its senses and elected a large number of Conservative members of Parliament who are going to fight to ensure that we have jobs in this province, recreated but created by the private sector and not by a bunch of government programs on green technology and stuff that will create nothing. We have seen what has happened in Ontario with hydro. I think there is more of that coming.