A Conservative leadership hopeful says she will immediately try to pull the plug on Justin Trudeau’s minority Liberal government if elected party chief in June.
Sarnia-Lambton MP Marilyn Gladu made the announcement in a release Sunday responding to Teck Resources Ltd.’s decision to scrap its application for a massive oilsands mining project. The Vancouver-based company made the call just days before a government decision on the project, citing debate over Canada’s policies on climate action and resource development.
“Justin Trudeau and his Liberals have lost the authority to govern in the interests of all Canadians. They are destroying Canada and decimating our economy,” Gladu said in the release.
“The fact that Teck Resources has publicly announced that it is pulling its application for a $20 billion Frontier oil sands project is further proof that Trudeau cannot or will not fight for Canada and Canadian jobs.”
Watch: Tories pushed for Teck Frontier approval in House of Commons
Gladu said her “first act” if elected the new Tory leader will be to “call upon other opposition parties to join with us to bring down this government and allow Canadians to elect a government that will work in their best interests.”
Her chief rivals in the contest, former minister Peter MacKay and Durham MP Erin O’Toole, have similarly blamed Trudeau’s policies for the shelving of a project that was once expected to create an estimated 7,000 construction jobs, 2,500 operating jobs and about $12 billion in federal income and capital taxes.
“The regulatory regime, tax levels, anti-investment environment, reckless activism and incompetence of the Federal Liberal government are destroying the economy of the country we know and love,” MacKay said in a tweet. Earlier, he called the Teck decision “devastating” news for Albertans, Indigenous people, and all Canadians.
O’Toole charged that billions of investment dollars “disappeared” because of “Trudeau’s failure to uphold the rule of law,” an apparent reference to blockades erected in recent weeks in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs who oppose a natural-gas pipeline project in B.C.
In a letter to Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson Sunday, Teck CEO and president Dan Lindsay did not make explicit reference to blockades but said “growing debate” around reconciling resource development and climate change put Frontier and the company “squarely at the nexus of much broader issues that need to be resolved.”
In a joint statement, Wilkinson and Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan lauded Teck’s consultations with Indigenous communities during the project’s development and review period, saying the model “should be an example for all proponents of future projects.”
Gladu could find herself stymied if she wins the Tory leadership and pursues a non-confidence motion. With 157 of the House’s 338 MPs, Liberals only need support from the NDP’s 24 MPs or Bloc Québécois’ 32 MPs to survive confidence votes.
Last week, outgoing Tory Leader Andrew Scheer sparked headlines by putting on notice a potential motion declaring the House of Commons has “lost confidence in the government.” The motion was one of six possible options for debate.
Tories ultimately tabled a motion calling on the House to “stand in solidarity” with elected band councils who support Coastal GasLink’s B.C. pipeline project, and condemn “radical activists who are exploiting divisions within the Wet’suwet’en community” and “holding the Canadian economy hostage.” The motion was easily defeated Monday by a vote of 199-115.
Tory House Leader Candice Bergen told reporters at the time that it is “routine” for the Opposition to have several motions on notice, including one that could result in a vote that could see the government fall.
“It’s very common to have a motion to indicate that the Opposition doesn’t have confidence in the government,” she said. “It doesn’t mean that we are going to go on that but it’s definitely on notice.”
But NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said it was “ridiculous” to open the door to a non-confidence vote in the middle of a national crisis.
“I just don’t think it makes any sense. If you’ve got a national crisis, why are we then going to plunge the country into an election? How does that solve the problem? How does that actually move ahead with a solution?” Singh asked. “In fact, it’s so counterintuitive. It makes no sense.”
Tories will select their new leader on June 27 in Toronto. Prospective candidates have until this Thursday to join the contest.
With a file from The Canadian Press