Letters to the Editor – from Arnold Viersen, MP

‘Pioneer spirit’ alive in Peace River-Westlock

To the Editor:

Dear constituents,

2020 has been a challenging year for everyone across our riding of Peace River – Westlock. Everything has been in flux.

I feel we are extremely blessed to live in Alberta where neighbours come together and help each other out. The pioneer spirit still lives. It is the Albertan can-do attitude and comradery that has made Alberta the beacon of freedom in comparison to other provinces in the country.

This past year, my Conservative colleagues and I have worked hard and fought for you. My office spent much of March, April, and May fielding calls from constituents around the confusing Liberal Government pandemic programs.

In Ottawa, under the leadership of Erin O’Toole, our team is united and focused on helping Canadians through the pandemic. We pressed for the Liberals to be more transparent regarding its COVID-19 response, got them to increase the wage subsidy from 10 to 75 per cent, uncovered many spending scandals like WE Charity and decisions to throw out much-needed PPE. We will continue to be bold in our approach to ensure that workers have good jobs to return to and that Canadians can come out of this pandemic stronger.

My colleague, MP Tom Kmiec has been working on legislation to address fairer equalization for Alberta. Alberta has been the largest contributor to the federal equalization program, having contributed over $600 billion since the 1960s, and not benefited since 1962. Since 2015, Alberta has experienced a jobs crisis and an economic slowdown that has been made worse by Liberal Bills C-69 and C-48, which continue to have, devastating impacts on Alberta’s economy. We call on the government to work with Alberta to ensure a fair deal for Albertans.

As we have witnessed over the past year, the Prime Minister has decided to take advantage of this pandemic to significantly alter Canada.

Only a few days ago, the day after the House of Commons had risen for Christmas, Trudeau announced he would be tripling his carbon tax within 10 years, breaking his 2019 election promises not to raise the carbon tax without first negotiating with the provinces.

This fall, Conservatives stood with disability advocates to try to defeat the aggressive expansion of euthanasia laws. Together, we opposed Bill C-7 that divides Canadians who request euthanasia into two classes – able bodied Canadians, who will be offered access to suicide prevention and vulnerable Canadians, who will be eligible for euthanasia purely on the basis of their disability. Liberal MP Marcus Powlowski, an MD (medical doctor), voted with us in December against this bill. The former Attorney General, the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould also voted against this bill. Unfortunately, it passed just and is now before the Senate.

Over the past year, I have continued to raise awareness about human trafficking and sexual exploitation. This year, I fought MindGeek, the parent company of Pornhub which has been profiting off child sexual abuse, sex trafficking and sexual assault videos for years. The all-party group anti-human trafficking caucus that I co-chair and similar groups around the world have spent years trying to get governments to take action. Ultimately it was a story in the NYT on December 4 called ‘The Children of Pornhub’ that got the attention of the federal government. Canada must no longer be a tech haven to companies like MindGeek and the voices of survivors must no longer go unheard.

I know you are counting on us to hold the Trudeau government to account and to help lead our nation out of this crisis. When Parliament returns in January, our Conservative Caucus will continue to do just that.

Arnold Viersen, MP
Peace River – Westlock

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