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Cooper criticizes federal priorities

Throne speech disappointing but Cooper willing to work with government to lower taxes
Michael Cooper CC 7524
Michael Cooper Conservative Pary of Canada

St. Albert-Edmonton MP Michael Cooper is disappointed in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s speech from the throne.

On Thursday, Gov. Gen Julie Payette delivered the throne speech on behalf of the Trudeau government. It's the first one since Trudeau was elected as leader of a minority government in October, and outlined the priorities of his government. Those priorities include fighting climate change, strengthening the middle class, Indigenous reconciliation, keeping Canadians safe and healthy, and positioning Canada for success in an uncertain world.

Cooper said Canadians can expect more of the same from Trudeau.

“I was hopeful that the prime minister would have demonstrated that he was prepared to approach things differently than he has done over the last four years and the overriding message from speech from the throne is that Canadians can expect a continuation of the failed policies for the past four years,” Cooper said.

The St. Albert MP said a lot was left out from the throne speech, including only a mention of the energy sector, which Cooper feels should have gotten more attention.

“That's not a good sign in terms of the government repositioning and refocusing and making adjustments to some of their policies which have caused significant damage to Alberta's economy, that has resulted in more than hundred million dollars of investments leaving Canada and more than 100,000 energy workers out of work, not to mention all of those who have had their hours and wages reduced,” Cooper said.

Cooper said he was hoping to see Trudeau ease some of the regional divisions that have been brewing across the country and was disappointed that was not listed as a priority.

This term, Trudeau will have to find common ground with parties in opposition as he is now in charge of a minority government.

One of the speech's focal points was on climate change, which was referenced early and almost a dozen times throughout the speech.

“Canada's children and grandchildren will judge this generation by its action, or inaction, on the defining challenge of the time: climate change,” Payette said.

Payette also noted the government’s need to expand the market for natural resources.

"And while the government takes strong action to fight climate change, it will also work just as hard to get Canadian resources to new markets and offer unwavering support to the hardworking women and men in Canada's natural resources sectors, many of whom have faced tough times recently," Payette said.

One area of the speech that interested Cooper was cutting taxes, and the MP said he is willing to work with the government on the issue.

“If the government is committed to reducing taxes for middle class Canadians, that is something that I would support, but it's one thing to make a general commitment (in) the speech from the throne, it's another thing to see the government act,” Cooper said.

The speech also referenced a national pharmacare program, which was a big priority for the NDP party. The speech also mentions a dental care policy is “worth exploring.”

Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

About the Author: Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Jennifer Henderson is the Local Journalism Initiative reporter for Great West Newspapers based in St. Albert, Alta.
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