Erin O’Toole, MP for Durham and the leader of the opposition Conservative party, was in Saskatchewan for a three-day tour in an effort to hear from more Canadians. MP Robert Kitchen, from Souris-Moose Mountain, had the opportunity to attend some events along with O’Toole.
“He stopped in the province as part of a Western Tour, as he wanted to take the time to speak and hear from Canadians,” said Kitchen. The Western Tour started in Alberta, then O’Toole spent time in B.C., before stopping in Saskatchewan on his way back to Ottawa.
O’Toole attended a barbecue event with MPs Warren Steinley, Andrew Scheer and Michael Kram on July 15, followed by a private meeting with Premier Scott Moe.
During that private meeting, MP O’Toole wanted to hear some facts about current issues that the province is facing. “The present (Liberal) government is not showing respect to the province, or to Western Canada. Especially with the recent rejection of Saskatchewan’s plan for replacing the federal carbon plan, which was the same police framework that Ottawa had accepted for provinces in the east coast,” said MP Kitchen.
Then on July 16, O’Toole participated in a local business roundtable hosted by MPs Stanley, Scheer and Kram. He then met with Chief Cadmus Delorme of the Cowessess First Nation and took a personal tour of the recently uncovered gravesites. Following this, O’Toole went on to Saskatoon for a barbecue event with local MPs Corey Tochor, Kevin Waugh, and Kelly Block.
O’Toole finished the last day of his tour with a business roundtable with MP Brad Redekkop, along with MPs Tochor, Waugh and Brock, then went to the local farmers market with Redekkop. He also participated in a tour of the Wanuskewin Heritage Park Tour.
“It was a challenge to get out to see a lot of rural Saskatchewan, but MP O’Toole wanted to take this time in his personal schedule to meet with as many people as possible,” said MP Kitchen. He noted with some humour that he had stopped at a small dining place during his trip, and without being scheduled or arranged, O’Toole had stopped in at the same restaurant in his journey.
“It was definitely that small-town Saskatchewan feel to it, just being at the same place at the same time. There were a lot of people, who once they recognized him, were glad to see him out visiting our province,” said MP Kitchen.
Shortly after O'Toole's visit to the province, a Letter to the Prime Minister was sent out by several supporting Saskatchewan MPs:
Dear Prime Minister
We are writing to you today to demand fair treatment for the people of Saskatchewan.
For some time now, your government has accepted New Brunswick’s plan to comply with your carbon-tax. The New Brunswick plan provides relief to consumers from your tax with a rebate.
In light of the Supreme Court’s ruling, Saskatchewan submitted a similar plan. Yet despite the fact that you accepted New Brunswick’s proposal, last week your Minister of the Environment rejected Saskatchewan’s proposal.
Mr. Trudeau, this is a double-standard that is completely unjust. One of the fundamental principles of confederation is the fair treatment of the provinces by the federal government. Denying our province the same benefits that you have granted to another sets a dangerous precedent.
You are effectively saying that the people of Saskatchewan must bear the full impact of your tax, while people in New Brunswick are protected from its full effect. This is grossly unfair.
Your excuse that you are planning on moving the goalposts on your carbon tax in 2023 is completely illegitimate. At the very least, you should accept Saskatchewan’s plan until such time as you change the rules for all provinces. Instead, for the next year and a half, you are denying the people of this province the same benefits that the people of New Brunswick enjoy.
Our Saskatchewan Conservative Caucus represents the elected will of the people of this province. Every single electoral district chose a Conservative to represent them in Ottawa. We have a democratic mandate to fight for our great province and speak on behalf of the people of this great province.
Conversely, voters in this province utterly rejected your platform and your record as Prime Minister. You have no mandate to impose arbitrary rules on this province over the objections of its provincial government and against the unanimous opposition of its elected federal MPs, especially when you have granted concessions and accommodations to other provinces.
We are calling on you to put a stop to the provincial favouritism, and accept Saskatchewan’s proposed implementation of your carbon tax. Canada deserves a Prime Minister that unites Canadians, not one that sows division.
Do the right thing, treat all provinces fairly, and accept Saskatchewan’s carbon-tax implementation.
Kevin Waugh, M.P.
Saskatchewan Caucus Chair
Brad Redekopp, M.P.
Saskatchewan Caucus Vice Chair
Kelly Block, M.P.
Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek
Rosemarie Falk, M.P.
Randy Hoback, M.P.
Robert Kitchen, M.P.
Michael Kram, M.P.
Tom Lukiwski, M.P.
Moose Jaw—Lake Centre—Lanigan
Jeremy Patzer, M.P.
Hon. Andrew Scheer, M.P.
Warren Steinley, M.P.
Corey Tochor, M.P.
Gary Vidal, M.P.
Cathay Wagantall, M.P.