top of page
  • Instagram
  • MailIcon
  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Instagram
  • MailIcon

Imagine you are making a big purchase and have hired a lawyer to negotiate the terms for you. You make your expectations known and your lawyer promises he can get everything you have requested. As part of the process, your lawyer goes into a backroom with the seller’s lawyer and agrees to all his terms, while achieving none of yours. The two suited men eventually emerge in a jovial manner and announce their meeting was successful. Your lawyer has the audacity to claim you got the best deal possible.

This is the scenario that just played out in the Canadian news sector.

When the federal government announced bill C-18, the Online News Act, the minister claimed it would rescue news in Canada by fixing “a commercial and power imbalance between tech giants and our news media sector.

To equalise the playing field, META and Google would be forced to pay for sharing news links. The minister claimed more than $150 million would be generated for the Canadian news sector.

The Liberals touted it as the law that would “save” the news sector and provide greater access and choice to Canadians. The government claimed it would especially help local newspapers, independent outlets, and cultural media.

The response from tech giants ranged from bad to worse. META flat-out rejected the premise of the bill and pulled news links from Instagram and Facebook months ago.

Google threatened to do the same unless the government bent to the web giant’s terms: a maximum $100 million spend and one contract with a collective of news businesses of Google’s choosing.

In public, the government puffed its chest and refused to budge, but when Google dug in its feet, the government conceded and the two parties entered into a backroom deal.

On November 29th they emerged to announce their agreement. Notably, all of Google’s demands were granted.

So much for correcting the power imbalance caused by big tech.

First, it is important to point out that Google is not signing onto bill C-18. The government is granting the platform an exemption, which means bill C-18 is an absolute failure. The bill was meant to collect money from two platforms—META and Google. META walked away and Google is now exempted.

Second, Google demanded a maximum spend of $100 million and they got it.

Thirdly, Google demanded they would enter into only one contract with a collective of their choosing and the government caved. In other words, big tech will dictate which news outlets get support and which ones do not. Does that sound like holding big tech accountable or “leveling the playing field” to you?

The deal announced on Thursday is one that affirms big tech’s power, rather than “balancing it.”

And what about news outlets? How do they fair?

The government promised that bill C-18 would result in $150 million. They have come up $50 million short.

The government promised bill C-18 would protect local news. Instead, one-third of the money will go to the CBC, which already receives $1.4 billion from taxpayers, the next largest wad of cash will be split between Bell, Rogers, and Corus, and the small pittance left over will be divvyed up between newspapers and local or cultural media.

Does this sound like a win for local news to you?

The government promised protection for small news outlets and more choice in news for Canadians.

The government failed on all accounts.

Having emerged from the backroom, the government would like small, local, and cultural news outlets to sing its praises, as if victory has been achieved.

In fact, big government and big tech have colluded to save big broadcasters.

“We Stand on Guard for Thee” is not just a line from our National Anthem. It represents the tremendous sacrifice made by members of the Canadian Armed Forces for the mission of freedom and prosperity. On November 11th every year, we call to mind the legacy of our veterans and pause to show our gratitude for those who gave so much.

In the 156 years of the Dominion of Canada, our brave men and women have answered the call to selflessly serve our country time and time again.

From demonstrating immense bravery during World War I, to the more recent war in Afghanistan and active participation in peacekeeping missions abroad, members of the Canadian Armed Forces have contended for freedom and democracy with unrelenting commitment.

On Remembrance Day, we pause to remember and honour the sacrifice of those in uniform.

We remember they entered the most harrowing conditions to win for us the most precious of things – freedom.

Freedom means the government serves the people, not the other way around.

Our veterans fought against authoritarianism and won.

When a nation is anchored in freedom and democracy is upheld, people can elect representatives and hold them accountable. This accountability in turn brings stability, a key ingredient to human flourishing.

Thanks to our veterans, Canadians have the freedom to pursue opportunity, prosper, and enjoy fulfilling lives.

There are real consequences in forgetting the values for which our service men and women fought and died. Governments will always be tempted to overpower their people, but it is only when people remember the value of freedom that they can maintain it.

President Ronald Reagan said "freedom is a fragile thing and its never more than a generation away from extinction. It is not ours by way of inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation."

Lest we forget the reason so many sacrificed their lives.

Many dictators have made promises of freedom and while dictators may be free themselves, they will always enslave those under their rule.

When we honour our veterans, we honour how they bought and maintained the liberties we enjoy today.

The people of Lethbridge have their own special legacy worth calling to mind. In the First World War, one in five people in Lethbridge enlisted to serve, but 261 men never came home. 

Every fall, I look forward to seeing Lethbridge’s "Salute our Veterans Project," where we fly banners on light posts throughout Lethbridge as a heartfelt tribute to the brave women and men who have served our nation.

We will remember them.

Remembrance does not glorify war. It honours the women and men who gave up everything so we could enjoy abundance.

The red poppy acts as a powerful sign of remembrance and hope for a peaceful future.

In the centre of town is the Lethbridge War Memorial, and on it are the words “They Have Passed in Leaving the Heritage of Glorious Memory.” Freedom has been bought for us by those who paid the ultimate sacrifice and is maintained by those who still answer the call to service.

Lest we forget.

I recently had a conversation with an elderly woman whose only source of income is CPP. With this small allotment of money, she is struggling to pay her rent, put food on her table, heat her home, pay for her bus pass, and cover the cost of her prescription. Her expenses have skyrocketed, but her income has remained the same.

Sadly, this is only one of many similar stories shared with me.

The first few weeks in parliament have flown by, and while there is no shortage of noteworthy topics to discuss, affordability tops the list for those in Lethbridge.

This crisis has escalated and spilled into Thanksgiving, making this year more challenging for many Canadians.

While this would usually be a time for feasting and celebrating the bounty of this land and those who work on it, this year is marked by a backdrop of anxiety and frustration.

Whether it is farmers experiencing higher input costs, truckers paying more for fuel, families struggling to buy school supplies for their kids, or seniors being forced to choose between filling their prescription or putting healthy food on their table, everyone is feeling the pinch.

The frustrating truth is that this higher cost of living is not happenstance or a simple by-product of global conditions. This is a government-imposed affordability crisis. Mr. Trudeau and his government have caused record inflation through their tax and spending measures. In fact, Mr. Trudeau has accumulated more debt than all 22 Prime Ministers preceding him. Is it any wonder we are struggling?

The carbon tax is top of mind for many. They feel it does more harm than good. The Liberals tax the farmer who grows the food, the trucker who transports it, and the stores who sell it. This accumulation of carbon tax ultimately gets passed to the families who simply want to put food on their tables.

With no evidence, the government has argued the carbon tax is necessary to protect the environment. Still, Canadians do not see evidence of this claim. In eight years of governing, the Liberals have not met a single environmental target. The financial burden is causing more problems than it will ever solve.

As if the cost of necessities like food and fuel is not overwhelming enough, many are also struggling to find or keep a home they can afford. Many young people are resigned to the fact they may never own a home. For those who took out mortgages trusting the government when they said interest rates would remain low, government inflationary spending has thrown a massive wrench in their long-term plans and caused their monthly payments to skyrocket.

What happened to the Liberals’ 2015 election promise to make housing more affordable?

Rather than punishing Canadians with high taxes and inflationary measures, the government should rein in spending, cut taxes, and unleash the power and potential of the Canadian people.

Serving as a Member of Parliament has afforded me the extraordinary opportunity to speak with many Canadians about the Canada they wish to live in.

I have heard countless stories from visionaries who want to build businesses, invent new technologies, help those who are suffering get ahead, and improve our society in areas where we are falling short.

I am encouraged by the growing number of Canadians who are dreaming of a better future.

A future that only freedom can deliver.

Imagine what Canada would look like if hard-working people were free to earn powerful paycheques that buy affordable food, gas, and homes.

This is the type of Canada we can create by generating opportunity for each and every person to reach their greatest potential.

bottom of page