I wasn’t going to go public with this, nor was I going to respond to Senator Pierre Dalphond’s email, but I could not sit silent. I am sharing my original email that I sent to all Senators to make one last plea to defeat Bill C-48. To my surprise I received an immediate response from Quebec Senator Dalphond. (https://sencanada.ca/en/senators/dalphond-pierre/). As much as I appreciate when an elected figure takes the time to respond, I was disheartened by what he said and think it’s important to share his response.
MY EMAIL SENT TO ALL SENATORS ON FRIDAY, JUNE 7, 2019
SUBJECT: Please Defeat Bill C-48
I had an opportunity to listen to witnesses address the Senate Standing Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources on Bill C-69 when you travelled to Calgary. I feel very fortunate to have had that experience, and I thank you for allowing us to watch the review process. It was a real “Canadian moment” for me.
With the publicity around Bills C-48 and C-69, I learned more about the Senate and the important obligation it has to ensure fairness, thoughtfulness and sensibility when enacting new legislation. The Senate has an important role to play when the federal government fails to be balanced, pragmatic, and loyal to Canada.
That is why I am writing to you today. I would like to ask you vote down Bill C-48.
Canadian oil and gas exports mainly go to one customer – the USA. They have a lot of control over the price we receive, so they purchase our products at a steep discount, which results in lost royalties and revenue for all Canadians. This makes our lives less affordable because we don’t have government revenues to support our world-class programs, such as health care and education.
Additionally, when oil and gas projects are made more expensive due to unnecessary, overburdening regulatory requirements and taxation, it hurts all Canadians because the price we pay for our natural resources is impacted. It’s imperative that we find a balance between environmental responsibility and economic progress through resource development. Bill C-48 does not provide this balance.
Put bluntly, Bill C-48 harms people.
The economic situation in Alberta is dire. Thousands of people continue to lose their jobs in addition to the more than 100,000 people who have already lost their job in the last 4 years; Albertans are staying unemployed for an average of 20.9 weeks; suicide rates are rising to alarming levels; domestic abuse is increasing; and drug use is at epidemic levels. I have no doubt that the current economic crisis is a contributing factor, and a robust, functioning energy sector could be the solution to a lot of these problems.
The World Health Organization (WHO) acknowledges that being unemployed affects people’s social interactions and their overall health, including their mental health. WHO even found that male unemployment affects the health of members of the family unit. Bill C-48 will result in more unemployment and, therefore, more harm.
I ask you to look at the Bill’s impact to everyday Canadians, and in doing so, I hope that you too draw the conclusion that this Bill needs to be defeated.
EMAIL RECEIVED FROM SENATOR PIERRE DALPHOND ON FRIDAY, JUNE 7, 2019
Thank you for your message.
The fate of Bill C-48 rests largely on the way that we define the role of the Senate as the Upper Chamber of Parliament In 1867, the Fathers of Confederation designed the Senate as an unelected chamber composed of an equal number of property owners residing in the three (to become later four) regions of the country and appointed for life.
The Senate was tasked mainly with providing a sober second thought on the bills before Parliament, ensuring consideration of regional interests and preventing excesses by the government of the day, in control of the House of Commons.
In my opinion, the role of the modern Senate, especially now that it is made of a majority of senators independent from the whips of political parties, is to carefully review bills, including assessing their impact on the regions, to conduct inquiries on social issues, to publicly question ministers and officials about their running of departments and agencies, to listen and give voice to underrepresented groups and those overlooked by political parties, and to promote parliamentary diplomacy in the hope of a better world.
However, it is not the role of the Senate to defeat bills that reflect the undertakings of the elected government, as long as said undertakings are evidence-based and in compliance with the Constitution and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, including First Nations rights.
Furthermore, in connection with Bill C-48, I note that it was a political undertaking of the Liberal Party during the last election, that the Conservative Party is now promising to repeal it if elected to govern, and that the next general election is only a few months away. In other words, the citizens of this country will soon be in a position to choose between these two conflicting visions, and unelected senators should not usurp this democratic process.
Hopefully a majority in the Senate will share these principles and adopt Bill C-48.
Pierre J. Dalphond
L’Hon. Pierre J. Dalphond
Sénateur | Senator
Pièce 176, Édifice de l’Est | Room 176, East Block
Sénat du Canada | Senate of Canada
Office | Bureau: 613-943-3688
Courriel | E-mail: PierreJ.Dalphond@sen.parl.gc.ca
Twitter : @DalphondPierre
MY EMAIL RESPONSE SENT TO SENATOR DELPHOND ON SATURDAY, JUNE 8, 2019
Dear Senator Dalphond,
Thank you for taking the time to respond to my concerns about Bill C-48. I wasn’t going to reply back, but after some sober thought, I decided that I could not let your email, and thereby your thought process, go unchallenged. The very fabric of our country and society is being torn apart one small rip at a time until it will eventually be torn in two.
Your explanation for why you want Senators to adopt Bill C-48 is in direct contradiction to many of the reasons you give for the purpose of the Senate. By approving Bill C-48, you have shown that you are willing to ignore regional concerns in favour of divisive politics. I guess I can’t be surprised to receive this type of response from a Senator from Quebec. There seems to be a willful desire from some people in the East to destroy the prosperity of the West and devastate the people who have worked hard to earn it, including Easterners that we welcomed with open arms.
Make no mistake, I do not believe you are an “independent” Senator in the true sense of the word, nor do I believe for one second that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wants a non-partisan Senate. In nearly all of his actions he has shown a divisive, partisan, destructive attitude towards our country. I, on the other hand, believe the Senate should be non-partisan to provide an unbiased review of bills without a sinister agenda, partially because Senators are appointed (not elected) for life.
I notice nowhere in your list of duties of the Senate do you mention the need to consider economic factors and the impacts of a proposed bill on those factors. How do you expect to create a better world for Canadians if our economy is in shambles?
Your list of duties does include an obligation “to give voice to underrepresented groups and those overlooked by political parties”. As of October 2015, the West has become an even more underrepresented group, mainly because we do not buy into the Liberal Party’s alarmist, divisive, fear-based propaganda. If you truly believe in this obligation, you should work tirelessly to eradicate that kind of political leadership in favour of national unity.
Please help me understand how Bill C-48 is evidence-based or constitutional. The Bill only bans tankers of a certain size from leaving a large area of the BC coast but does not prevent tankers from coming in from various parts of the world or from passing through on the way to and from Alaska and mainland USA; this ban will harm Alberta and Saskatchewan. When many First Nations have publicly opposed this Bill, how can you tell me it protects First Nations rights? It’s almost like you haven’t bothered to actually listen to the Canadians that are directly impacted by this Bill.
I understand why you believe that it is not the role of the Senate to defeat bills proposed by the elected government. I was recently told that there is an unwritten rule in the British system that the Senate is not to defeat a bill proposed as part of the governing party’s campaign promise because, essentially, if they promised it and the people voted for them, then the people want it. This may make sense if the elected government is proposing reasonable legislation, which Bill C-48 is not.
I am also told that this Bill is so utterly unconstitutional that it will be challenged immediately in the courts. Again we look to the courts and unelected judges to lead and govern our country. What a shame that the very people who were put into positions of leadership can’t seem to lead with a view of service.
You are correct that the next election is only a few short months away. It can’t come soon enough, in my opinion. I can’t wait for Justin Trudeau to be defeated and replaced with a leader who is open to leading the entire country, not just a few elitist, entitled, globalists.
A vote to approve Bill C-48 is a vote to divide the country even further.