December – MP Ron Lipert’s Report

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As 2017 closes, we can look back on the past year and be thankful for many things: oil prices appear to be holding above $50 (at the time of writing this article); optimism that oil may hit $60 per barrel over the next few months; and improved optimism in many other sectors of our economy, including technology, agriculture, and service.

2017 was also a time to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, with many celebrations taking place across the country, province, and locally with community events in our riding of Calgary Signal Hill. We anticipate the memorable celebration to conclude this momentous year.

Even as we remain thankful for many things, it’s an unfortunate truth that there are real causes for concern over the year ahead. There is a concern resulting from eco-activism in areas, such as pipeline approvals and construction. Both federal and provincial governments seem to be moving ahead with initiatives that will sterilize large tracts of energy development lands in Northern Alberta, and designate those regions as protected caribou habitat—a serious blow to an energy sector that is already struggling.

This past year also saw the government introduce their second federal budget with a deficit of nearly $20 billion. After last year’s $17 billion deficit, they will need to make plans to balance the budget in a timely fashion difficult to minimize the impacts on all Canadians especially in Alberta where many are still struggling as a result of the economic downturn.

The summer of 2017 saw the government attempt to introduce a series of new taxes on small business. Those where met with much resistance by several stakeholders such as farmers, medical offices and accountants, the government listened and eventually were forced to back off on most of their proposals.

In 2018, we can also expect the legalizing of marijuana just in time for Canada Day putting the province in the position of developing the guidelines for distribution, monitoring and policing. As well there is ongoing negotiations that could completely re-structured the current trade deal with the United States and NAFTA.

One can hope that we see real progress on the Trans Mountain and Keystone pipelines in 2018, so that Alberta producers can get their product to market.

Please let me express sincere gratitude for your feedback this past year. I look forward to continuing my work as your representative in Ottawa in 2018. From my family to yours, I would like to wish you, your family, and friends a safe and joyous Christmas and the best for the holiday season.