We announced on Wednesday that Suits and Boots has been officially invited to present our views on Bill C-69 to the Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources.
Honorary Chair Brad Schell and I (see picture below) will be in front of the Committee on Tuesday, April 9th in Calgary. We’ll let you know about the time and location when we find out.
We asked all of you on Wednesday to bring your voices to this Committee meeting. We asked for personal stories about why protecting our energy sector, and turning back the worst parts of Bill C-69, are important to you.
We’ve been flooded with responses. Thank you so much. If you haven’t done so yet, please send us a few lines, give us your name and where you live, and relate your personal stories about why we need to push back Bill C-69 and maintain a healthy, strong and responsible resource economy.
Any letter we receive before Tuesday April 2nd will be sent to the Senate committee, translated into both official languages, and delivered to the Committee members. This is your chance to make your voice heard.
Here’s a sample of who’s hopped on board the Suits and Boots wagon with us for the ride to Calgary so far – and their personal stories.
Please read them. Please add your voice to them. And please support our cause by clicking on the donation link at the bottom of this email.
Mike Scapillato – Wakefield, Quebec
I support the campaign to Kill Bill C69, in principle because it has been introduced by a political party that claims to understand the needs of Canadians while undermining our autonomy and quality of life. To shackle the resource and energy industry will degrade that standard of living even further. It is an appalling state of affairs when our government slashes many thousands of jobs in the energy sector while purchasing oil from Saudi Arabia, an act that is sheer hypocrisy. Without looking at all of the reasons for killing this Bill, one need look no further than the recent events in Ottawa to realize that this government does not have a clear vision for our country, nor genuine respect for its citizens. Therefore, any rationale put forward for Bill C69 is suspect, if not simply bogus. Western Canada needs to maintain its vital role in our economy and our national identity.
Jeanne Melady – Victoria, BC
I used to live in Alberta. I now live in Victoria BC, land of retired civil servants, but my family and friends still live in Alberta. This bill matters to me because I know it is wrong to eliminate the livelihood of some people in Canada to benefit the narrow ideology of a few at a time when a majority government can push through what it wants. If there is a purpose to the Senate, it is now to give a sober, second look at a flawed bill and send it back. This is what I ask and here is why.
We are a federation. Right now, that aspect of our country and of our economy seems to be forgotten. When I was living in Alberta, our family earned a livelihood in a part of the province where gas and oil development was one source for a healthy economy side by side with agricultural Family still work there in agriculture. Those who worked directly in oil, gas and agricultural earned their money and then bought our construction services. We made enough money to send our children to university and eventually to retire here to Victoria BC, the land where income comes from government earnings, tourism and taxes from house sales. No need for primary industry because Victoria relies on cruise ships and family money often earned elsewhere. (Last year, I went down to the Victoria harbour to see the largest cruise ship to ever dock in BC. This is in a harbour which last year welcomed 250 cruise ships with some 600,000 passengers, between April and September. Environmental problems? pollution? threat to sealife? fuel spills? But cruising sounds gentle; tar sands sounds harsh.)
Two years ago I visited friends in Newfoundland. I saw and commented on all of the beautiful new houses, often sitting beside an old, weatherbeaten one. I was told of the many in Newfoundland who had left to work in Alberta, returned with their earnings to their home province and built these homes for the families they supported there. We are a federation!
Recently I returned to Alberta to visit family and friends. I commented on the level of health care, hospitals, recreation centres and schools, all the result of an economy that is now under attack from this bill C-69 with clauses that are meant to restrict and likely eliminate resource development. I said how unfair the bill C-69 was to some retired friends here after I came back to Victoria. The other 4 people in the conversation said that the people of Alberta deserved their now slowed down economy because they had misspent the money from the ‘good years”. Their questions ‘Well are those facilities, rec centres hospitals sustainable?” My answer, “They will be if they are allowed in that province to do what those people elsewhere want to do which is to earn a living for themselves and their families?” I was appalled at the narrowness of their belief. We are a federation of provinces. To destroy the environment in one, impacts all; to destroy the economy in one, impacts all!
This bill, in my opinion, is a selfish, self-centred bill, developed by those who do not wear ‘suits and boots’. I don’t want the effects of the clauses within this bill to destroy a province, industries that have directly benefitted and continue to benefit me, my family, friends, community. This bill needs to sober second thought and that is the job of the Senate. Please act.
“…I had 3 sons-in-law working in Fort McMurray. One son had a business managing small projects, one is an electrician and one is a safety specialist.
The project manager was out of work for about 6 months and he and my daughter moved to Australia 16 months ago.
The electrician was unemployed for about 8 months, doing odd jobs for friends and family. He was underemployed for almost a year working 2 months here and a month there. He is now working in construction and has been mostly fully employed. During his unemployment he suffered serious depression and almost gave up looking for work. The financial burden has been hard and they have downsized so that they can live on my daughter’s salary but this has had serious consequences in their marriage as well as effecting the kids emotionally.
My third son-in-law has been underemployed for almost 3 years, but he is a draftsman and has been doing small projects in the evenings and safety on a 2 year construction project. He is a happy guy and seemed to take his situation in stride but the financial struggles have been extremely hard on his family.
This long, bad downturn has deeply effected our whole family as we’ve watched our loved ones suffer because they have been unable to support their families and find long term employment. …”
Ben Sillem – Invermere, BC
Thank you for taking the time to read this message. As a proud Canadian immigrant, former Albertan, and current British Columbian, please accept this note as a sincere request for you and your fellow senators to reconsider Bill C-69.
I have had the good fortune to grow up, go to school, start several businesses, and raise my own family here in Canada. I have created several small businesses which survived by supplying oil and gas service companies both in Western Canada and in the US. I now operate a separate, technology business that helps insurance brokerages offer financing to their predominantly commercial clients. I can see in recent years that the customer base that my earlier businesses worked with have had their industries decimated. Moreover, I see it through my existing business further reflected across several industries dependent on the oil and gas industry. Companies like trucking/transportation, food, service, and lodging in oil and gas driven towns across Alberta are struggling. This ripples down through car dealerships, restaurants, and more. Few are immune from problems in this sector. Payment problems across these industries are more prevalent on essential bills like their commercial insurance which is the realm in which my business operates today. Payment problems at this level reflect further impending pain.
Even those of us who have the luxury of feeling removed from these difficulties in our day to day jobs are hurt from performance of investments related to oil and gas. Even the big banks in Canada feel a downdraft on their earnings capabilities as things are allowed to fester. The absence of clarity as to capital investment in Canada’s oil and gas sector has frightened off large swaths of funds. Those of us left with our lifetime worth of savings invested are stuck with grossly underwater, illiquid paper.
The pain and difficulty cannot be understated. This is not a small-scale, regional problem. This is much larger and on its current course is likely to get much worse. Getting a national resource strategy correct should be a top priority for our Federal Government. We are proud Canadians who want to be self-reliant. We want our kids to have economic opportunity today, tomorrow, and well in the future. We don’t want hand outs from the government. We want the ability to work hard and provide for our families. Cutting off an entire industry at the knees for no gain whatsoever to Canadians or our environment is something that many of us are struggling to make sense of. We need your help and your willingness to lead us through this to a more optimistic future.
Sherry Reimer – Langley, BC
You’ve asked for our personal reasons for supporting the oil and gas industry. Here are some of mine:
- I depend on gas to get to work. This is as true while driving my car to work as it was when I took the bus for an hour and a half each direction. The distance is too far to walk or bike. I frequently take my grandchildren to school and daycare before I head to work. I need to drive to get all of us to where we need to be.
- My home is heated with natural gas. I don’t have the financial resources to replace the furnace with a different heat source. Also, natural gas heats the house quickly, cleanly and safely.
- My groceries are delivered to the store in fuel powered trucks. I don’t have the backyard space to grow my own food, so I rely on trucked in food.
- The world needs ethical oil. Canadian oil is produced ethically. We treat the environment and people well.
- Canadian jobs are on the line.
- We have abundant resources and should be developing them.
- Foreign funded activists shouldn’t have influence over Canadian jobs or politics.
- Lifespan in developed countries is longer and healthier as a result of industrialization.
- Plastics made from petroleum products make our lives better in everything – from medical devices to electronic components.
- I care deeply about the environment. Canada’s environmental standards are the highest in the world.
Jane Bennet – Calgary, AB
I lived through the devastation of business in Alberta that resulted from the horrible effects of the National Energy Program (October 28, 1980). That legislation resulted in the loss of our family (Edmonton) company that my Dad had built up from scratch after the end of WWII. The Company; Bennett and Emmett Ltd (B&E Ltd), serviced the energy industry in Alberta. It was a thriving “well managed” company even to the extent that it was used as an example of a “well managed” private company in U of A’s business school curriculum.
B&E Ltd. was literally “caught” in its ‘expansion program’ to meet the demands of the energy industry business in the late 70”s. When the NEP was enacted, B&E Ltd. was building a new plant with TD Bank “bridge financing”. The difficulties that followed the effect of the NEP cost the life of the company and it almost cost the life of my brother who was managing it at the time. The effects of the NEP were financially devastating both to my brother’s family and personally as well as to the entire energy industry.
Now Albertans are possibly facing the same fate again with Bill C-69 almost 38 years ago to the month.
The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association president Chris Bloomer told the House of Commons Environment Committee in 2019: ‘It’s difficult to imagine that a new major pipeline could be built under the Impact Assessment Act/Bill C-69, much less attract energy investment to Canada.’
I listen to Danielle Smith, radio host on 770, frequently interviewing strategic business people from the Energy Sector. Their negative comments on Bill C-69 sets off my “alarm bells” again and again in the interest of the economic future for all Canadians.
Regardless of the Political Stripe of those speaking at the Energy Re – Launch Conference in Calgary … Bill C-69 … was described as a bill that will “doom” Alberta’s Energy Industry.” The concern is Bill C – 69 will take Alberta’s Energy industry which is already “suffocating in red tape” and smother it completely.”
Most believe, as I do, that Bill C-69 should be scrapped. As a Senior Canadian Citizen, I humbly request that you “Kill Bill C 69.
Mark Hewitt – Alberta
Having lived in Alberta for most of the past twenty-nine years (originally from Ontario) my ability to earn a living has been tied to the oil and gas industry through multiple occupations. Most recently I owned a business that developed software for the oilfield services industry. The anti-business provincial government was bad enough but when the Liberals did everything they could to shut down the oil and gas industry, including Bill C-69, I finally threw in the towel. Alberta was a land of opportunity when I moved here, with not a nickel to my name. It mattered not my name, ethnicity, religion, or colour of my skin. It only mattered that I was willing to roll up my sleeves. An Alberta that isn’t welcome to future investment means it will be like most all of the other provinces in this country – dependent on the government. There is no future investing in Alberta. There is no future for my daughters.
If you’d like to add your story to our folder, please send it to us by return email
Suits and Boots has achieved this milestone so far with only your grassroots support. We’re powered by your donations only.
Other, well-funded, anti-resource groups will be before the Committee as well, with millions sent to them by charitable donations from abroad.
All we have backing us is you. And NOW we need you more than ever. This is when YOUR voice will be heard. Help us keep it loud and strong.
“Thank you!” from Rick Peterson and Brad Schell