It’s been quite a year in Ottawa.
Obviously, COVID-19 was the big story of the year, but there were other things happening in 2020 as well.
In February, I had the honour of being appointed to the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians. This committee reviews the actions of all our agencies in relation to security and intelligence including our military and law enforcement. It is highly sensitive work, and it has been a very rewarding experience.
In March, it became clear the coronavirus was going to be a major issue and it became equally clear that the Liberal government had been caught completely off-guard—despite repeated warnings from health and intelligence officials. In fact, the Liberals just months before the COVID -19 outbreak made significant cuts and reduced the international monitoring function of the Global Public Health Intelligence Network.
In May, Justin Trudeau used the specter and emotion of a tragic shooting spree in Nova Scotia to blindside law-abiding firearms owners with new restrictions while failing to address the real source of the problem: illegal gun acquisition and gun smuggling across the Canada-US border.
In June, having spent millions and his last shred of credibility on the world-stage, Justin Trudeau lost his bid and his dream of having a UN security council seat. Another in a long line of embarrassing failures on the world-stage.
In July, controversial Trudeau-appointed Governor General Julie Payette once again made headlines, this time for creating a toxic work environment at Rideau Hall. She remains under investigation.
It was also in July that the WE charity scandal broke. The Liberal government directed nearly half a billion dollars in funding to a charity with close ties to the Liberal Party that had paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to members of the Trudeau family and other Liberal insiders.
In August, Finance Minister Bill Morneau resigned after it came to light that two of his daughters worked for WE and that he had received a $40,000 luxury vacation paid for by the organization. Chrystia Freeland was appointed to the finance portfolio.
The WE Charity fiasco was just one example in a pattern of Liberals giving contracts to their friends.
Embroiled in scandal, Justin Trudeau shut down parliament. This meant he didn’t have to face the daily barrage of questions in Question Period that help to hold him to account. It also stalled the work of parliamentary committees tasked with investigating the WE scandal.
When Parliament resumed in the fall, several troubling pieces of legislation were re-introduced including Bill C-6 (Conversion Therapy Ban) and C-7 (expanded Medical Assistance in Dying).
In October, I had the honour of being appointed to the Finance Committee. This has given me additional opportunities to hold the Liberals to account for their management of Canada’s economy.
In late October and through November, I heard from constituents in our border communities that they were suddenly being required to quarantine when they attended essential medical appointments in the United States. I quickly reached out to the relevant Liberal ministers, as well as our provincial counterparts, advocating on behalf of our border communities. To date, we have not seen a resolution, but have support from MLA Dennis Smook and our Manitoba’s Health Minister. I am hopeful we will see a common-sense solution in the near future.
In December, we saw a fiscal update from the government, with an unprecedented projected deficit of over $400 billion. Around the same time, it came to light that hundreds of billions of dollars in “COVID-19” spending is unaccounted for. Ensuring that Canadians’ hard-earned tax dollars are well-managed has always been a key focus for me and this work will continue into 2021.
There was some good news for Canadians in this otherwise bleak year. In August, the Hon. Erin O’Toole was elected as the new leader of the Conservative Party of Canada. Under Mr. O’Toole’s leadership, our Conservative team continues to hold the Liberals accountable for their failures and ethical breaches and offer common sense, family focused solutions to help get Canada back on track. We look forward to earning the trust of Canadians in 2021.