Peter MacKay: At this time of crisis, Canada needs the Conservative Party to be there for it again
MacKay says goal is to unite Conservative Party, make it more inclusive and relevant in every part of Canada
This column is a point of view by Conservative Party leadership candidate Peter MacKay. CBC News invited all four candidates to write about the key ideas in their platform, why Canada needs these ideas now, and what actions they would prioritize in their first 100 days as leader of the nation if the party is elected to form the next government. CBC News will have special coverage of the Conservative leadership race results on Sunday Aug. 23 on cbc.ca, CBC Television and CBC News Network starting at 5 p.m. ET, and on CBC Radio One starting at 6:30 p.m. ET.
The Conservative Party has always been there to do the heavy lifting for Canada.
Our party led the creation of the country in 1867 and ensured our independence from the United States. We led Canada through the First World War and introduced the country's first Bill of Rights, forever defining Canada as a place of freedom, diversity and inclusion.
We embraced free trade, which has delivered jobs and prosperity to Canadians in the face of stiff opposition. When I was at the cabinet table, we led the world in 2008-2009 coming out of the then-deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression.
We face another crisis now.
COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on our health and our economy. We need serious solutions to serious challenges.
A Conservative government I lead will get Canada back on track.
Justin Trudeau's response has been to open the financial floodgates for individuals, but he has failed to provide the supports and conditions that employers need to keep jobs alive.
I will be Canada's jobs prime minister.- Peter MacKay
We need bold action to get Canadians back to work in every part of the country. I will be Canada's jobs prime minister.
As prime minister, I will move quickly and decisively to regain our global leadership in natural resources; become a technology powerhouse of the north and a nation where advanced manufacturing provides high-paying, sustainable jobs; transform our tax system from a hindrance to a driver of job creation and growth; enact policies that bolster our small business sector, not treat it like tax cheats.
And fair trade will be a key building block so that Canada can lead the world in job creation.
Dismantling trade barriers
We first need to shock the economy back to life. My plan will restore the business and consumer confidence the recovery requires.
Unlike Justin Trudeau, who has been blocking nation-building projects, I will get behind them. We need to knock down the inter-provincial trade barriers that are costing us jobs and lost economic activity. Just as Alberta and Saskatchewan need to get their oil and gas to market, so Quebec needs to export its hydroelectricity.
We need to rebuild our manufacturing base, which was exposed to be painfully inadequate during the recent crisis.
I will support our troops, rebuild our military, protect our security, and re-engage with allies who share our values of democracy and human rights in the face of serious threats from the likes of the Chinese communist regime.
I will extend high speed internet access to all rural and remote regions of Canada so all Canadians can participate fully in today's economy, and benefit from the health and social support that brings.
I will make it more affordable for seniors to stay in their homes if that is their preference.
And we will have a real environmental plan, one that actually reduces greenhouse gas emissions around the world, not just one that transports hundreds of civil servants to Paris by jet for a photo op.
Reversing the damage
The policies that Justin Trudeau has imposed on Canada over the past five years have taken us in the wrong direction. At a time when the Trudeau government should have been running surpluses, it ran deficits. When pipelines should have been approved, they were opposed. When Canada should have stood up to China, the Liberal government showed weakness.
The work to reverse this damage begins on Day 1 of a new Conservative government.
I will quickly initiate the first comprehensive review and overhaul of our tax system since the 1970s. We will immediately convene discussions with our provincial partners to rebuild what has been broken in our economy, so that all regions in Canada can succeed.
We will review government spending, to target it to the areas that create jobs and improve the lives of Canadians while putting us on a path towards a balanced budget.
We will immediately ban Huawei from any role in the creation of our 5G network.
We will eliminate the regressive federal carbon tax and not replace it with a new carbon tax under another name.
I have been running flat out for the past eight months — and you could say for the past 20 years — to unite the Conservative Party, to make it a more inclusive and welcoming party, to make it relevant in every part of Canada and to form a truly national majority government that unifies the nation.
At this time of crisis, Canada needs the Conservative Party to be there for it again. That's the party I hope to lead beginning on Aug. 23.