MP labels federal 'Just Transition' as unjust

Moving on from fossil fuels

Since 2015, tens of thousands of jobs have been lost across Canada because of the federal government's efforts to do away with Canada’s energy sector.

While the prime minister said we need to phase the oilsands out, doing so will only hurt Canada’s revenue and hurt the livelihoods of tens of thousands of Canadians, while rewarding other countries that have less value for human rights or the environment.

The government has been promising its "Just Transition" legislation for years, and it was tabled in the House of Commons just prior to it rising for the summer, as Bill C-50.

According to a government internal briefing made public in January, the "Just Transition" plan to accelerate the shutdown of Canada's energy sector will result in the disruption of 170,000 direct jobs, the displacement of up to 450,000 direct and indirect jobs and significant disruptions to the manufacturing, agricultural, transportation, energy and construction sectors, affecting 2.7 million Canadian jobs in total.

According to Statistics Canada, Canada's energy sector accounted for approximately 9.7% of nominal gross domestic product (GDP) in 2021 and employs workers with an average wage that is more than twice the national average. Many people in Kelowna-Lake Country have close ties to the energy sector, with family who have either worked in Northern B.C. or Alberta.

There are many who also believe this disruption will disproportionately impact Indigenous, rural and remote communities, and blue-collar jobs. The president of the National Coalition of Chiefs says there is nothing fair or equitable about it.

Because the energy industry in Canada is the largest investor—more than all other industries put together—this bill will impede private sector investment in clean technology and innovation. Future fuels and alternative energy technologies are being developed at a rapid pace thanks to profitable oil and gas development. The alternative is the current government’s course, which would result in energy poverty for all Canadians by combining punitive policies and taxes with government programs and subsidies paid for by tax and ratepayers.

This bill furthers the top-down, red-tape, central planning, anti-energy, anti-private sector, and anti-free market, high tax, high debt agenda of the current government.

Bill C-50 is called the “Canadian Sustainable Jobs Act”. In answering my questions in committee, the labour minister said: “I hate the words “Just Transition” because workers hate the words “Just Transition”.

It appears the term “Just Transition” is being substituted with something that sounds friendlier by the title of C-50.

The government is advancing its "Just Transition" at a time when the world needs Canadian oil and gas more than ever. There is nothing "just" about forcing our allies to rely on energy from dictators and human rights violators. The energy needs of these countries exist and will be fulfilled—just not by Canada.

The absence of Canadian oil and gas production and exports to replace higher-emitting energy sources will have an impact on global efforts to reduce emissions, and the void will be filled by countries and dictatorships with lower standards for the environment, human rights and transparency than Canada.

The Conservative party believes Canada must develop both our traditional and alternative energy sectors, and support the development of industries like hydrogen, biofuels, wind, solar, nuclear, tidal, and other innovative energy sources.

Environmental stewardship must be addressed with realistic, concrete, and effective measures that is based on transformation, not transition, technology, not taxes and be led by the private sector, not government.

If you follow social media, I’ve produced a video about this, which was posted June 19 on all my platforms. In it, I discuss some of what I’ve outlined here if you are interested in seeing a visual context on this topic.

If you need assistance with programs or have any thoughts to share, feel free to reach out, at 250-470-5075 or at [email protected].

Tracy Gray is the Conservative MP for Kelowna-Lake Country.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Tracy Gray, Conservative MP for Kelowna-Lake Country, is her party's critic for Employment, Future Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion

She is a member of the national caucus committee’s credit union caucus, wine caucus, and aviation caucus.

Gray, who has won the RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Award, worked for 27 years in the B.C. beverage industry.

She founded and owned Discover Wines VQA Wine Stores, which included the No. 1 wine store in B.C. for 13 years. She has been involved in small businesses in different sectors — financing, importing, oil and gas services and a technology start-up — and is among the “100 New Woman Pioneers in B.C."

Gray was a Kelowna city councillor for the 2014 term, sat on the Passenger Transportation Board from 2010-2012 and was elected to the board of Prospera Credit Union for 10 years.

In addition, she served on the boards of the Okanagan Film Commission, Clubhouse Childcare Society, Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, Okanagan Regional Library and was chairwoman of the Okanagan Basin Water Board.

She volunteers extensively in the community and welcomes connecting with residents.

She can be reached at 250-470-5075, and [email protected]


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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