This opinion piece is part of a broader week-long MJPS Online series on voting intentions. Check here for other components of the series. The views expressed in this piece are solely those of the author and do not reflect the position of the editor, the McGill Journal of Political Studies, or the Political Science Students’ Association.
I’m voting Conservative this election. This isn’t because I fully endorse every one of the party’s positions: for instance, I disagree with Andrew Scheer’s hesitance regarding cannabis legalisation, as well as with his tepid opposition towards Bill 21 in Quebec. However, I truly believe that, overall, the Conservatives present compelling policies on energy, climate change, taxes, and national unity that will do more than those of any other party to improve the lives of ordinary Canadians like myself.
The Only Party Truly Committed to Energy Development
Energy and pipelines are some of the most important issues of this campaign, and Andrew Scheer is the only party leader fully committed to realizing Canada’s full potential as a major energy producer.
Developing our nation’s energy and pipeline capacity is crucial for several reasons. The construction of pipelines that allow for the transport of Canadian oil to both coasts would not only create thousands of jobs for Canadians, it would also enable us to sell our oil at a higher price on the world market. This would prove a significant improvement over our current situation, in which oil is sold exclusively, and at a discount, to the United States. Moreover, energy and pipeline development would significantly increase Canada’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), resulting in higher revenues for the federal government, more money in the pockets of Canadians, and more funds available to tackle climate change by investing in, for example, nuclear power, carbon capture technology, and green home initiatives.
Whether we like it or not, we will rely on petroleum for the foreseeable future. Every day we use oil-made products ranging from smart-phone cases to sneakers. Let’s face it: until other technologies become cheaper and more efficient than they currently are, petroleum will continue to supply the energy needs of billions of people. As such, we need to balance fulfilling our energy needs with tackling the climate crisis – abandoning pipelines and neglecting energy development is not the solution.
If we pursue the NDP-Green-Liberal path of Canadian energy development, we will be forced to continue transporting oil by tanker and rail, thereby unnecessarily compounding our carbon footprint. Furthermore, we would have to keep importing oil from nations such as Saudi Arabia with poor environmental and human rights track records. Such actions could be conceived of as supporting foreign dictatorships.
Additionally, further pipeline development could appease the 25 per cent of Albertans in favour of separatism, and prevent Canada from having to revisit the unity crises of the 1980s and 90s. By fully developing our energy sector through pipeline expansion, Westerners will no longer feel that they are being scorned by their fellow Canadians. Federal support for Alberta’s economy is especially important for national unity given the current sense that provinces like the Maritimes and Quebec unfairly benefit from equalization payments while simultaneously denigrating Alberta’s economic mode.
Meanwhile, the NDP and Greens are outright opposed to any further development of pipelines and oilsands. As for the Liberals, while they pay lip service to energy development, under Trudeau, pipeline construction has ground to a halt, and Bill C-69 has made further development all but impossible.
On the other hand, Andrew Scheer has unreservedly committed to declaring federal jurisdiction over the Trans-mountain pipeline, and has further promised to expedite consultation with Indigenous stakeholders by appointing a special representative. Additionally, he has promised to repeal Bill C-69, thus opening the way for further pipeline projects like Energy East, which will allow our nation to see the benefits of harnessing our energy potential.
The Conservative Party is, in this sense, the perfect choice to heighten our nation’s unity, grow our economy, and, by increasing available funds, lower our environmental impact.
The Only Party Truly Committed to Fiscal Discipline
Further, the Conservatives are the only party committed both to balancing the budget and cutting taxes for ordinary Canadians. Deficits, by adding onto to the national debt, are a sure guarantee of higher taxes, more toil for business, and harm to young Canadians when, inevitably, this national debt has to be repaid. Trudeau, in a time of economic growth, has run consecutive deficits every year he was in office, with projections suggesting that we will not have a balanced budget until 2040. Today’s students will be tomorrow’s bearers of this debt, making voting for the Liberals a financially irresponsible choice for voters like me.
By contrast, Andrew Scheer has committed to balancing the budget by the end of the 2020s through more restrained spending. He has, for instance, promised to cut corporate welfare by decreasing the subsidies received by bloated and inefficient companies, thereby reducing the burden on taxpayers. Moreover, Scheer is also the only leader promising to cut both personal and corporate income taxes, reducing the lowest tax bracket for Canadians to 13.5%, as compared to the current lowest tax rate of 15%. This would put more money into the pockets of citizens and encourage our country’s businesses to expand to their full potential, creating more jobs and offering higher wages for Canadians.
No More Trudeau
Finally, do we truly want Justin Trudeau in power for another four years? A Prime Minister capable of some of the most reprehensible ethical violations in modern Canadian history, including the notorious SNC-Lavalin scandal?
Moreover, the Liberals have frequently faltered and have continuously failed to uphold their promises at a time when our country needs strong leadership – leadership that I believe the Conservatives can provide. In my opinion, voting for the Conservatives, not the Liberals, is truly choosing the way forward: voting Conservative means voting for ordinary Canadians, for economic growth, and for unity.
Edited by Emma Massucci Templier.
This opinion piece is part of a broader week-long MJPS Online series on voting intentions. Check here for other components of the series. For general information on how to vote in this month’s federal election, see this resource from Elections Canada. If you’re a university student, you can vote on campus. Find out how here.
The views expressed in this piece are solely those of the author and do not reflect the position of the editor, the McGill Journal of Political Studies, or the Political Science Students’ Association. Questions regarding this series can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.