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How much would you be willing to pay for a phone app?

Most of us download dozens of free apps but hesitate once the cost hits one dollar.

What about a $60 million app?

“WTF?” was asked in question period recently in the House of Commons.

This commonly understood acronym was given a new meaning when the Conservative leader, Pierre Poilievre, posed it to the Prime Minister. The Speaker of the House asked Mr. Poilievre to clarify, and he did.

“Where’s the Funds?”

The question is about the latest Liberal boondoggle, the ArriveCan app, or as it has come to be known: ArriveScam.

ArriveScam marks another disastrous example of Mr. Trudeau’s costly and corrupt government.

This was the flagship app the Liberals pushed on Canadians as part of their COVID strategy. This is an app that Canadians did not want and did not need. And to make matters worse, it did not work. It caused thousands of travelers and workers to be quarantined, falsely detained, and harassed without reason. 

The app was dysfunctional from the get-go and it was a nightmare to use. My office heard from many of you who missed work and other important events because the app falsely instructed you to quarantine or caused other issues.

Then there was the actual cost of the app. The Prime Minister told Canadians it would only cost $80 thousand. Instead, an earth-shattering report by the Auditor General reveals the cost of the app turned out to be 750 times greater than what the Prime Minister promised.

Of the $60 million wasted on ArriveScam, nearly $19 million went to a small consulting firm named GC Strategies. This ‘firm’ is a company headquartered in a house basement and, at the time of the app being built, consisted of only two people.

After helping the Liberals by drafting the application requirements for the IT grant, the company was awarded the money. If it smells fishy to you, it’s because it is.

When GC Strategies was questioned about this debacle, the owners admitted they took the cash but did no work. Instead, they googled other companies that might be able to help them and subcontracted the project. The Auditor General’s report reveals that 76 percent of the ArriveScam contractors received payment but did nothing to contribute to the app’s creation.

The Auditor General’s report found the documentation from these contractors was so incomplete it was not even possible to accurately assess the final cost of the app. There was no paper trail and no solid way to find out how much money Canadians lost. $60 million is the minimum.

And it gets worse. The cozy deal between the Liberal government and GC Strategies extends well beyond the ArriveScam app. A recent article by La Presse indicates the Liberal government has awarded more than $258 million in contracts to this shady company during Mr. Trudeau’s time in office!

ArriveScam is one more example of crooked Liberal dealings that have left taxpayers with less money. Consider scandals like the We Charity scandal, the SNC-Lavalin scandal, or the Clam scam. In all three cases, the Prime Minister picked his friends to win contracts and make big money at the expense of Canadians.

Every day, my office hears from Canadians struggling to make ends meet. It is maddening to know the tax dollars collected on the backs of Canadians are going to the Prime Minister’s buddies, while more than two million people line up at food banks each month.

Conservatives ordered the owners of GC Strategies to committee to provide answers, but they refused the summons. Despite the Liberals doing all they could to stall our efforts, Conservatives finally passed a motion to arrest and drag those who are responsible for ArriveScam before the committee.

On Wednesday, we passed a motion forcing the Trudeau Government to refund Canadian taxpayers for the money they wasted on ArriveScam by reclaiming the money they paid to GC Strategies.

The Liberal government and GC Strategies must be held accountable for one of the biggest scams in Canadian history.

Only Conservatives are committed to ending the corruption in Ottawa and ensuring Canadians hear the truth.

It is playfully said that in Canada, we have two seasons: winter and almost winter.

Canadians are well-accustomed to dealing with snow, ice, and freezing temperatures, and many embrace the cold weather with fun activities such as skiing, snowshoeing, and ice skating.

But winter can be as threatening as fun, and there are times when it is less a question of leisure and more a question of survival. There is beauty in the power of winter, but make no mistake, there is also danger.

We were reminded of this truth when extreme cold weather rolled into western Canada a few weeks ago. In Lethbridge, it reached -47C and other parts of the province reported even lower temperatures.

Flights were grounded, water mains broke, cold shelters were overwhelmed, and even the Edmonton Royal Alexandria Hospital emergency department lost heat in the cold snap.

It was so chilly that the clock tower in downtown Lethbridge stopped working.

There was a severe risk of rolling blackouts should the energy grid not be stabilized. Albertans were warned to keep their electricity use to a minimum by turning off unnecessary lights and opting to use a microwave instead of a stove.

The frenzy caused many in western Canada to question why we experienced such instability. What conditions nearly brought our electrical grid to the brink?

The answer is multi-pronged, but central to it is the fact that the sun failed to shine, snow insisted on falling, and the wind refused to blow. In other words, wind and solar could not be relied on for energy while four natural gas plants were offline or operating at reduced capacity.  

We found ourselves in this situation thanks to Trudeau’s Ottawa-knows-best approach to so-called ‘clean energy,’ which is based on fiction more than reality.

We need more natural gas generation, not less.

This is not an ideological position. It is simply common sense. We should be playing to the strengths of our region. Regrettably, Liberal common sense is as rare as a snowflake in the Sahara.

With the timing of a bad joke, the cold snap came in on the heels of the government doubling down on its electric vehicle mandate, which will require all vehicles sold in Canada to be electric by 2035.

This plan is almost comical, if not for the severe threat it poses to the prosperity and well-being of Canadians. The current energy grid is incapable of accommodating Trudeau’s mandate to switch every vehicle to electric. Not to mention, EVs are impractical in many rural parts of Alberta, let alone in the areas around Lethbridge—especially in the winter. It seems Trudeau has overlooked Canadians and their lived reality to advance his ideological utopia.

If we struggle to ensure that our hospitals have sufficient power, how does the Prime Minister think it appropriate, much less reasonable, to promote the obligation that all Canadians must buy an EV?

The Liberals’ goals are more fantastical than feasible at this point, but there are real consequences to the people who face the shortfalls of Trudeau’s fantasy when reality comes crashing in.

The ideologically-driven policies of the current government are not working. Natural gas is one of the cleanest, safest, and most reliable forms of energy and Canada is among the world’s top five producers of natural gas, with approximately two-thirds of production coming from Alberta. We just need the federal government to stop tying our hands behind our back so we can take advantage of this powerful resource.

Canadians must be empowered with the freedom to make their own decisions free of outlandish and out-of-touch mandates.

When we face reality with practicality instead of fantasy, we will not only survive, we will begin to thrive.

If you were to look down on Earth from space, you would see the drastic difference between two countries that once shared a common story. One country brims with light, radiant from its vibrant and bustling cities. The other is cloaked in utter darkness, dormant and cold. 

Both countries started from much the same place, sharing a common history. Both experienced the fires of war and upheaval and were left with the task of reconstructing from rubble. However, the two countries chose very different paths forward.

The country to the north has chosen a path of isolation where the government is the master and people are pawns in the hands of a totalitarian dictator. The country to the south has chosen a democratic approach and the government empowers the people with education, freedom, and opportunity.

These countries are North Korea and South Korea.

After the Korean War came to a stop in 1953, each side had to choose a way forward, and the economic outcomes of their choices could not be more different.

North Korea does not generate enough electricity for each home to have a refrigerator, nor enough food to keep citizens well-fed. This is the result of a heavy-fisted military dictatorship that has robbed the people of the chance to pursue an education, capitalize on opportunity, and advance the economic wellbeing of their families and country.

Meanwhile, South Korea enjoys one of the world’s most advanced economies and is home to some of the world’s top brands, such as Samsung Electronics and Hyundai Motor Company. Those who call South Korea home, enjoy access to education, high-paying jobs, and boundless opportunity to be innovative and entrepreneurial. South Korea hosted the Summer Olympic Games in 1988 and the Winter Olympic Games in 2018.

The stark difference between these countries is the result of two very different leadership styles.

Leadership matters.

When leaders believe in their people and generate opportunity for them to use their gifts, talents, and abilities to prosper themselves, amazing things happen. But the opposite is also true. When leaders stifle their people and refuse to let them reach their full potential, the whole country suffers.

Throughout 2023 I had the privilege of speaking with many of you and I heard a combination of disappointment and frustration with the present, along with anticipation and hope for the future.

While many are angry about the current government’s ever-rising punitive carbon tax, the sky-rocketing cost of living, and Prime Minister Trudeau’s divisive political games, I also heard from those who want to build businesses, invent new technologies, help the less fortunate, and improve our society in new and creative ways.

You see, the Canadian people are alive and well. They just need a leader who will grant them freedom and opportunity—the lifeblood of this country’s democracy.

Imagine what Canada would look like in five or ten years from now if the leaders of this country put the people before government. Imagine what it would look like if agriculture was championed, energy was developed and stewarded, and a business-friendly environment was generated. Imagine what it would look like if the carbon tax was scrapped, a cart full of groceries was easily affordable, and our communities were safe.

This is the type of Canada we can create, not through more taxation, increased regulation, and pitting one region of our country against another, but by having a leader who believes in the commonsense of the common people and who grants them the freedom to succeed.

Leadership matters.

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