With 2021 quickly coming to a close, I wanted to take this opportunity to reach out to you and thank you for your continued support over the past year, even amidst continued difficulties in our nation and in our southwestern corner of the province. This past election, the majority of you placed your trust in me to represent you again in Parliament—a privilege I hope never to take for granted.
Many of you might look back on the past year with relief and thanksgiving, realizing that we are, albeit slowly, making our way out of this pandemic. Others of you, however, might look back with pain and difficulty. Some of you have lost a loved one to COVID, and others of you have struggled as a result of the severe drought, government restrictions, or economic hardship. However, I’ve once again been amazed to see the resiliency of the Southwest, as we weather every storm, and continue to find a reason to be thankful.
I understand that these are also challenging times politically. We’re living in an increasingly polarized society, where you and your neighbour may have opposing views on how to move beyond COVID. We’re also seeing growing divisions in Canada between East and West, rural and urban, vaccinated and unvaccinated, as well as between different industries supported or rejected by government policy. Differing views isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I’d go so far to argue that it’s a good thing, and I’ve always maintained that the best policies are advanced when conflicting ideas are thoroughly studied and debated. That is an integral element to any healthy democracy. This only becomes a problem when in doing so, we lose our civility and respect for those with whom we disagree. As challenging as it may sometimes be, we must understand that 99% of the time, our fellow citizens intend the best, even if we believe they are very misguided. It certainly can be challenging to navigate policy issues in a climate of uncertainty, and I don’t presume to have all the answers, but it will require courageous leadership to promote unity among all social groups. This is urgently needed, and with your continued trust, I will continue to put my best foot forward to promote a unified Canada.
That all said, I’d be remiss not to offer a year-end fiscal update—especially as a Conservative. I must express my concern with the growing inflation in Canada, resulting in a rapidly rising cost of living. Reports indicate that Canada’s inflation rate is at its highest point since 2003, with the cost of living up 4.7 per cent compared to a year ago. Today’s numbers show the damage the Liberal Government has inflicted on our economy by spending a staggering $400 billion above normal levels over the past two years, with a deficit among the highest in the G-20 last year. Skyrocketing inflation and the cost-of-living crisis is impacting families here in the Southwest, and across Canada. Food is getting more expensive, gas and home heating are costing more, and housing prices continue to reach new records.
As your representative, I will continue to oppose the Liberal high-tax, high-deficit agenda, which will cripple our economy and lead to a higher cost of living. To reduce inflation and improve Canada’s cost of living, Conservatives have proposed to phase out COVID emergency programs (maintaining specific support for sectors like hospitality and tourism), review excessive spending announced in Budget 2021 that will only increase inflation, and increase the resiliency of the Canadian supply chain. I know our local industries have long been leaders in contributing to a thriving supply chain, and the Southwest will have had, and will continue to have important contributions to make to our economic recovery.
In short, my message to you as we wrap up this year is twofold: As we enjoy this Christmas season and head into the new year, let’s each challenge ourselves to treat our neighbour with the love and respect that we would have them treat us, and together, let’s roll up our sleeves, and get our economy back on track and our fiscal house in order. This will pay the highest dividends as we overcome these trying times as a unified, strong, and thriving community.
From my family to yours—Merry Christmas, and many blessings for 2022!
Jeremy Patzer is the MP for Cypress Hills—Grasslands