And many voters here feel the last four years of Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government, with the stricter environmental policies it has rolled out, has hurt them.
On the eve of the Canadian federal election, the Conservatives and Liberals are neck-in-neck in the polls. But in the prairie province of Saskatchewan support for the Tories is steadfast, centered around the fate of the oil and gas industry.
Although the oil-producing province of Saskatchewan is not the top country – it accounts for about 12 percent of Canada’s oil production, compared to the neighboring Alberta almost 80 percent – the industry is very important for the regional economy.
And many voters here feel the last four years Justin Trudeau Liberal government, with more stringent environmental policies that have been rolled out, has hurt them.
“I want to see oil and gas reserves because Trudeau is trying to close everything,” said 71-year-Sarah Wall.
“He tore our country apart; the West and the East fought against each other.”
Wall, clean retired, living in the constituency Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, in the provincial capital of Regina.
Neighbors, Peter and Daisy Popkie, was also quick to name oil as the reason for their support and Conservative Scheer.
“It seems like he is more geared to the oil industry to the west of here,” said Peter Popkie.
Their son was studying geology as he prepares for a career in the petroleum industry, a future Popkies said they “hope will look better” under the new government.
“We want him to have a job when he’s done,” she said Popkie. “On the west, it is a big boost we needed. The work for our people”
Andrew Spagrud, who says he “did not really get involved in politics” in his student days, now 33 and CEO of Villanova Energy.
When it comes to elections, he said the choice was “clear.”
“We’ve been in a four-year cycle of getting beat up – like the only industry in a state of disrepair,” said Spagrud.
“Regulatory Issues only cause our industry to really suffer in comparison to the countries of our colleagues.”
The Canadian economy is relatively strong and the unemployment rate near historic lows, but the oil patch has been hit by the slump in world oil prices and the flight of foreign investment.
In April, it launched the Trudeau government’s carbon tax ranging from 20 dollars Canadian ($ 15 US) per tonne of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted, affecting four provinces that have not fallen in line with the prime minister emission reduction strategies.
taxes are scheduled to increase gradually to 50 the Canadian dollar over the coming years to prevent the use of large amounts of fossil fuels.
Six other provinces initially released because each one has come up with a system of a carbon tax or cap-and-trade to help Canada meet its target Treaty of Paris which reduces CO2 emissions by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.
The gap on the tax ideology played in the courtroom and legislative branches across the country – with the Saskatchewan lead in the battle to the Supreme Court – and the numbers, not surprisingly, in the party’s election platform.
Scheer said that as prime minister he would repeal the carbon tax and other environmental protection.
In the leadup election, supporters of the oil industry has waged angry protests. Environment Minister Catherine McKenna – underestimated by critics as “Climate Barbie” and enemies of the people – the security detail assigned.
And former foreign minister Maxime Bernier, who split from the Tories to form his own party, went so far as to call the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg “clearly mentally unstable,” before walking back his comments.
In contrast, last month Trudeau lined with Thunberg in a massive rally in Montreal, and on Friday he led protests in Edmonton, Alberta, where he met with a counter-demonstration to show the big rigs honked.
“It’s very difficult for us to have a conversation with people on the other side of the spectrum because things are very personal because it affects the way we live, it affects our finances truly, our economy here, and obviously it a big problem, “said Spagrud.
“When I go to bed at night, I think about providing for my family, what things would look like in one year, five years, 15 years, and now all of that, it looks kind of scary.”
Jim Farney, who heads the department of political science at the University of Regina, noting that the Conservatives “have put a lot of emphasis on this election on opposing the carbon tax, and while they are not greenhouse gases-denying, with climate-change-denying party, they also do not Waterbury- hurry to do much about it.
“So it’s a big part of their appeal.”
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