On Friday, November 23, 2018, Marie, of Drayton Valley, Alberta, sent a letter to the Senators. It is another compelling letter about the reality of many hardworking Albertans. She has allowed us to it share with you.
Dear Honoured Senators,
First off, I’d like to thank you for serving our beautiful Canada. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Marie, I am a 41 year old loving mother of two and proud wife from Drayton Valley, Alberta. I am writing to appeal to you with every ounce of my being and passion for our world class country, to vote against Bill C69. I thought that I would tell you a bit about my family and community, in hopes that you will be able to put a face on the real people behind the oil and gas crisis we’re currently facing.
My parents moved here from New Brunswick on their own, with me, in the early 80s to chase the dream of the Alberta oilfield. They left all their family and friends behind to pursue a better life. They worked hard and we endured our regular oilfield ups and downs as I grew up. We’ve been through have and have not times, but always knew they would not last and we would get through. My family is middle class, I am not speaking from a millionaires point of view. In 2015, my stepdad was laid off from his oilfield maintenance job and could not find work after. My mid 50s parents were forced to sell their home in 2017 after depleting their savings and a large share of their retirement funds, before it went into foreclosure. They moved in with myself and my family for a year and finally were able to get back out on their own, renting a place, earlier this year. There was never a question of helping…. Families do what they need to to help each other out.
My husband’s family moved here from Saskatchewan in 1990 to pursue the work opportunities they had heard of in Alberta from family and friends. After high school, my husband started working on the service rigs, and he has been employed loyally by the same company for over 22 years now.
As a couple, we have seen our ups and downs in the patch, but we saved and planned ahead and cut back when things got really tight. My husband has traveled all over Alberta and missed birthdays and milestone events to provide for us. We have always felt very blessed and fortunate to live here, and we love our community, province, and country. We really never had complaints about our government or contributing our fair share of taxes to help better our country. We have always been happy to be able to be a part of a community that pulls together and supports those in need. My husband earning a decent living has allowed us to give back, which we love to do, and even an opportunity for him to volunteer in Uganda one year during breakup to work on building a school at an orphanage. In 2015 and 16, during the world downturn, my husband barely worked. He grossed about half of what he normally does. I worked and did what I could to help, but we suffered financially for those two years. Our bills did not decrease during those years, and I am proud to say we never missed a mortgage payment, or got behind in our bills-through grace, creativity, and our maxed out line of credit We did not have any extra money that year, to say the least, and we watched as many homes and businesses vacated in our little oil town. We helped others when we could, and we were the recipients of help as well. We pulled together and we survived. Sadly, many of the homes, and all of those businesses, are still empty to this day. The past year, as world prices started climbing, our little town, and our family, started to feel a sigh of relief and started to try and climb out of the hole the past two years brought. I still have not found permanent employment, but we were making it work until I did. It felt like the sun was starting to shine and we could breathe again.
Fast forward to this fall, and the bottom. To say that we are concerned here in small town Alberta is a gross understatement. Everywhere you go, no one-for the first time I’ve seen in the ups and downs of this life, has much hope for the future here. There are no answers and the people are not sure what to do. It is like we are lambs being led to the slaughter. So I am doing all I know how, which is use my voice to appeal to those who are here to represent us, the Canadians who aren’t sure where their next paycheque is coming from. The ads for work in just our small town have gone from multiple posting just two months ago, to none that are not just part time retail, if any at all. People are on our local social media pages begging for any opportunities. The halt of pipelines has been the kick while we’re down. And the passing of Bill c69 is the stomp on our backs while we try to take cover.
I won’t pretend I know all the ins and outs of politics, but I like to think that I keep up and am reasonably informed. I have been following the media talk over Bill C69 for the past few years, on both sides, and it is literally keeping me up at night. I have children to feed, I have a son who just graduated from high school and is starting a trade apprenticeship with hopes of going to college soon. I have a mortgage that does not care what the oil prices are, and like I said, we had just begun to see the light from 2015/16 when the bottom fell out again. We have no other options but to plea to your common sense to vote against this bill. The pundits, the CEO’s, the commentators, the financial experts are all waving red flags; beseeching this bill to stop before it puts the nail in our economic coffin. This won’t just affect me, and my family, we won’t be the only ones who lose our livelihood we’ve worked so hard for all our lives. The effects will be a tsunami felt across the nation. I don’t understand why we have reached this point, but here we are. I feel quite confident in predicting that the Middle East will no longer ship their oil here on the house when Canada is broke and we are freezing and hungry. We’ve always been a nation of hard work and doing what needs to be done to make things right. And now I’m asking you to do what’s right for your people, the actual ones you serve.
The future of Canada’s resource industry, and quite frankly, our National quality of life and economy, today sits in the hands of Canada’s 95 Senators. I implore you to consider my letter and vote against Bill c69, or send it back to the house, at the very least.
Thank you humbly for your time, and consideration of my letter.
Someone who would like to sleep at night