As 2017 comes to an end, I am fortunate to have some time to reflect on the past year. First and foremost, I would like to thank the great people of Souris – Moose Mountain for allowing me to be your voice in Ottawa. It is an honour and a privilege to represent you, and I will continue to serve you to the best of my ability.
Many important pieces of legislation crossed my desk in 2017, one of which dealt with the legalization of recreational marijuana in Canada. I spoke to this in the House of Commons and expressed my deep concerns about the impact that this legislation could have on Canadians, and in particular, on our youth. I do not feel as though the legislation goes far enough to protect the health and safety of our citizens, and I will continue to oppose it at every opportunity.
Another major issue that carried forward into 2017 was the forced Liberal carbon tax that is meant to take effect on January 1, 2017. While the Province of Saskatchewan has put forward an emissions reduction plan that does not include a carbon tax, the federal Liberals have indicated that it is not enough. It is my hope that the Liberals will allow the province some time to determine whether the proposed plan is indeed effective before they force a carbon tax on the people of Saskatchewan. As Conservatives, we feel that Canadians should not have to worry about another tax that will make day to day life more expensive. I personally will fight this every step of the way and will do everything possible to ensure that my constituents will not have to pay more for things like heating their homes or putting gas in their vehicles.
The Liberals also tried to quietly introduce tax changes that would have serious negative impacts on small business owners across Canada, including our farmers. Due to the public outcry this created, it seems that the Liberals have scaled back the magnitude of these changes, however, the government’s lack of consultation on this shows just how out of touch they are with small business owners and middle-class Canadians in general. I will continue to stand up for our small business owners as I know that they truly are the backbone of our economy, particularly here in Saskatchewan.
On a more positive note, it was good to see the oil and gas industry begin to stabilize after a challenging couple of years, even though the Liberals have failed to champion our energy and natural resources industries the way that the federal government should. As an example, the vacancy rates in Estevan and Weyburn have gone down, and many businesses across the riding seem to be starting on the path to recovery. Of course, there are still struggles in some areas, but overall it seems that things are beginning to pick up.
It was also a challenging year for our farmers, given the drought conditions that pervaded in areas of the riding. I was very happy to see that despite the dry weather, most of our producers fared reasonably well and were able to get a fair crop. This is a testament to the great stewardship that I see across my constituency, from Coronach all the way to Rocanville. I am proud to represent such a hardworking, resilient, scientifically based, and dedicated group of Canadians.
As we move into 2018, I look forward to continuing to represent the people of Souris – Moose Mountain as I have for the last two years. A lot of work has been accomplished, but as always, there is more to do, and I thank you for putting your faith in me. As your Member of Parliament for Souris – Moose Mountain, I extend to you my best wishes for a Merry Christmas and all the best in 2018!