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Commentary: A question of unity

Tories are determined to make unity an issue

Judging from a recent proclamation by western Canadian Conservative MPs, area residents may be forgiven for thinking Canada’s future is in jeopardy under the current federal government.

After failing to win government in the last election, the Tories are in the unenviable position of being on the outside looking in, with the minority Trudeau Liberals able to govern as a defacto majority with the help of the NDP.

Whether the current situation will lead to a breakdown of Canadian unity remains an open question.

What is known is that the Tories are determined to make unity an issue as they struggle to have an impact on the governing of Canada going forward.

For their part, the western MPs say “anti-resources policies” by the Trudeau government are leading westerners to have “serious concerns for the national unity of our country.”

The chairs of the Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta caucuses said in a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau: “More than ever before, the federal government in Ottawa feels less relevant and almost antithetical to the daily lives of Canada families in the west.

“You need to prove to Western Canadians that your government’s talk of ‘green recovery’ is not just code for further punitive action. Canadians are uncertain for the future and they are depending on your government to put the needs of the country first.”

There’s no question that western Canada’s petroleum industry has been negatively impacted by a lack of new pipelines. Without those major infrastructure projects it remains very difficult for Alberta in particular to get its natural resources to overseas markets.

Unfortunately building those new pipelines has proven to be a huge challenge in terms of regulatory approvals, stakeholder consultation and overall economics.

With the oil and gas industry a key part of this region’s economy, delays in getting new infrastructure in place continues to have a negative impact on the community-at-large.

What the delays have not done, despite the recent Tory proclamation, is make Albertans any less proud or committed to Canada.

Dan Singleton is an editor with The Albertan.