I’ve seen life change a lot since I was a kid, and in the last 10 years it feels like it’s changed faster than ever. Smartphones, Uber, Netflix; these didn’t even exist when I was a young mom.
But nothing could prepare me for how much life has suddenly changed in the last two months.
I wish with all my heart that this never happened, that nobody got sick, that nobody died.
When we are through the health portion of this battle, our Prime Minister and his officials will have to answer for why our country was slow to act.
COVID-19 is a tragedy in no uncertain terms.
But as we turn to talking about reopening Canada, I have to admit something.
I don’t want to go “back to normal”.
I don’t want to go back to where we defined wealth by what objects we possessed.
I am brought back to my childhood where we had a lot less, but we made sure it lasted longer. Most of the time we bought things that were made in Canada.
I want to build a Canada where our children aren’t worried about “more”, because we’re giving them “better”.
I don’t want to order take-out as much as I thought I needed to in order to maintain my hectic schedule.
I don’t want to go back to ordering everything on Amazon just because it’s convenient. Let’s take a pass on cheap Chinese products, and turn to far superior Canadian items that we've overlooked.
I want my children to have a better life, but I don’t believe that means they need to have more “stuff”.
As I watch cheap items gather dust, I want my kids to understand the difference between a need and a want. To cherish our family rollerblading on the street and bike rides in the park.
Progressives think that the only way for things to get better is to keep “progressing” even if it’s not really progress at all.
Amidst the fear of COVID-19, we’re learning humility and realizing what we’ve left behind: a country where we cared about our elderly neighbour and bought them groceries, shovelled their snow and cut their grass.
Conservatives know that we can’t just leave caring for our neighbours in the hands of government.
Technology and government programs cannot replace real community.
When social distancing is over, I hope we remember the world that we found at home with our families.
I hope we recognize the need to protect and nourish our families and communities and create a self-sufficient economy that puts Canada first.
Years from now we will look back on COVID-19, I hope we recall how it forced us to redefine what was plenty, and we will hold tight to the lessons we learned.
I hope that as we move forward from this crisis we will have the humility to admit that hindsight is indeed 2020.
The COVID-19 Crisis has revealed many things about our government.
Its lack of preparedness.
Its reliance on countries who are not true allies.
And its total disregard for religious freedom.
To many of our politicians, the rights of people of faith is not a matter of principle, but only a tool for political gain.
This past week we didn’t just see a church investigated by the police for holding a service by sitting in their parked cars.
The federal government slipped in confusing language into their COVID-19 relief package, that has churches and other faith-based organizations concerned they could again be excluded from government support.
Simply put, freedom of religion is not a Liberal value. Justin Trudeau has proven this time and again.
He banned ALL Liberal MPs from expressing pro-life views or voting for pro-life measures.
He changed the Canada Summer Jobs grant to disqualify any organization that held pro-life convictions.
Demanding that Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Jews and more compromise their beliefs in order to access government support.
And he shut down Canada’s Office of Religious Freedom, which was mandated to advocate for religious minorities and oppose religious intolerance around the world.
The only values Liberals accept are those that agree with their politically correct worldview and climate fundamentalist goals.
Enough is enough.
I will entrench freedom of conscience in the Canada Summer Jobs framework to stop Liberals from picking and choosing based on religious beliefs.
I will re-open the Office of Religious Freedom to help protect the freedom to worship around the world.
And I will increase the Charitable Tax Benefit to 40%. Because our local faith based communities are a blessing to their communities and deserve to be supported, not attacked.
Faith is a gift and must be protected.
I believe that it is imperative that leadership is transparent and honest.
Yesterday I published a statement comparing my fundraising totals in March to the two purported frontrunners, Peter MacKay and Erin O’Toole.
Since then some people have challenged the numbers, including Peter MacKay himself, so I wanted to explain exactly where I got them.
Erin O’Toole published his donations since March 5th himself.
For Peter MacKay, I did a little bit of math.
Peter MacKay stated himself on March 5th that he had raised one million dollars, which you can see here:
Elections Canada confirmed that Peter’s fundraising total for January 1 to March 31 was just above $1,045,000.
If we take Peter’s tweet at face value, then that means only $45,000 was raised after March 5.
If the amount actually raised after March 5 was $240,000 - as Peter now states - then that would seem to indicate the original tweet was not correct.
I took Peter at his word, so if the numbers are now shifting, I hope Peter can clarify the difference. It’s important that we as Leadership candidates model transparency because that is what our members expect.
Honesty and transparency are important to me.
In my line of work as a lawyer there are serious consequences for misrepresenting facts.
I will bring these values to the political sphere.
Our grassroots members must have every confidence that our party is being run with the utmost transparency.
Our members need to trust that all nominations will be carried out fairly.
Our members need to trust that the Conservative Fund is managing your donations well, with appropriate accountability.
If we are going to win the trust of Canadians in the next election, we need to first earn the trust of our members.
Honesty and accountability will be core to my leadership.
You may have seen how the Liberals are using the recent tragedy in Nova Scotia to ram through new gun regulations.
I can’t even explain how frustrating this is to see.
All our hearts go out to the victims and their families in Nova Scotia.
But cracking down on law-abiding citizens will do nothing to stop future mass shootings.
I believe in cracking down hard on smuggled firearms.
I believe in empowering police forces to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.
I want to lead a government that respects legal gun owners in Canada, instead of one that treats gun owners with contempt and disrespect.
I promise to bring common sense back to Canada’s approach to firearms and review our firearms legislation to make it clear, practical and purposeful instead of adding more legislation to our already confusing laws.
Together we can create a Canada lead with courage, compassion and common sense.
As Canada begins to consider what our “new normal” is post-COVID, here’s one thing that should NOT become the new normal:
Wasteful government bureaucracies and inefficient bailout programs.
Progressives, including the Liberals and NDP, fundamentally believe that big government is good government.
Their approach seems to be “Why let individuals, families or business owners make decisions for themselves when bureaucrats in Ottawa can do it for them?”
I believe less government is good government. And that includes how government deals with charities.
The Trudeau government is planning to send aid to charities...which is fine during a crisis.
Personally, I would have preferred that they would have adopted an approach to match donations made to charities, rather than rolling it out through various levels of bureaucracy.
A true conservative approach is even better. Let’s reward Canadians who support charities by giving them an even bigger tax refund.
Our country is filled with churches, synagogues, mosques and many other local charities that already have a relationship with the vulnerable and downtrodden in their neighbourhoods.
I believe that the connections we build through serving one another in our communities is what helps give our lives meaning and purpose.
Ottawa is filled with hundreds of thousands of bureaucrats. But bureaucracy can never replace local charities.
Not only do community-based charitable organizations have a better understanding of the needs in their communities, they are run predominantly by volunteers meaning a much higher percentage of donations actually go towards reaching those who need it.
In order to encourage Canadians to support their local charities I am going to permanently raise the charitable tax credit to 40%.
I believe that as we rebuild our economy, we need to send less money to Ottawa and allow more of it to flow directly to the local charities who are already on the front lines and serving the vulnerable.
I believe that families are the foundation of our society. If we want to build a strong country, then our governments should not adopt policies that harm families.
Ottawa's tax policy, however, treats families unfairly.
I want to fix that.
When it comes to applying for a student loan, applying for Old Age Security, or calculating your Child Tax Benefit - basically, anything that could put money in your pocket - Ottawa bases this on *family* income.
But once it's time to file your taxes - when it comes to filling Ottawa's coffers - suddenly it's all about you as individuals.
Ottawa can't have it both ways.
It's time to allow income splitting for couples.
We are in a season when lots of people will lose their jobs due to no fault of their own. Lots of two-income families will be reduced to one. Other families will choose only one income in order to care for their children or aging parents. Caring for family members is even more critical right now in a COVID-19 world, when schools are closed and seniors residences can be high risk environments.
Instead of sending their hard-earned money to Ottawa, let’s give couples the chance to use it to make the right choices for their families.
Family is the most important building block of society. Therefore, on principle, spouses should be able to split their income.
As a fiscal conservative, I believe we need to be realistic in our approach, however.
Like in the Harper government era, I would limit this to families with children 18 years old or younger.
And to remove the Liberal attacks that claim this is about helping the most wealthy families, I would cap the income amount at a maximum of $70,000 per family.
If Trudeau and the Liberals want to claim in the next election that two people earning $35,000 each are too wealthy to qualify for income splitting, then I look forward to us winning seats in the GTA and all around Vancouver. Let the Liberals try to convince young families trying to buy a home that they're "too rich" and shouldn't be able to split their income.
I believe that as we rebuild our economy, the best way for the government to help people get back on their feet is by taking less of their money.
Strengthening Canadian families helps build a strong country - and can help us win the next election.
There has been a trend on social media this week, where people post photos of themselves when they were 20 years old. Here's a shot of me around that age, when I was a student at Osgoode Hall Law School.
This is when I started to experience firsthand the need to fight for freedom of speech in Canada.
As most young people, I was learning about what was important to me, and which politicians and party represented my values best.
The more I studied the still young Reform Party, the more I felt it was a good fit. Reform MPs were making the case for fiscal restraint in government, and putting tough questions to the Chretien Liberals about the ways things worked - or didn't - in Ottawa.
I asked Reform Leader Preston Manning to come Osgoode Hall to speak to students, and engage in a Q&A session.We began discussions with Preston's team, and Preston even graciously offered to make a donation to our Black Law Students Association.
But that presentation never happened.
Aggressive talking points and mob mentality shut everything down, and the opportunity was lost.
Later I would go on to work in academia. I routinely saw that "employment equity" was simply about finding people who held "anything but conservative" ideologies.
Fast forward decades later, and sadly, things are worse. Protests have popped up on campuses across Canada and the US when conservative voices come to speak.
I believe that as conservatives, we need to push back against political correctness. We must stand up and fight for free speech.
As the next Prime Minister of Canada, I will withhold federal research funding from universities and colleges that do not respect freedom of speech on campus.
It was the right thing when Andrew Scheer introduced the idea, and it's still the right thing to do.
Our team continues to grow! In the past few days we have announced three more endorsements: MP Jeremy Patzer from Saskatchewan, MLA Patterk Netser from Nunavut and former MP Reed Elly from British Columbia.
I want to thank Jeremy, Pat and Reed for the fresh enthusiasm and energy they bring to the campaign. I'm thankful for them, as well as MPs Richard Bragdon (NB), Rosemarie Falk (SK), Tamara Jansen (BC) and Cathay Wagantall (SK) for their support.
Make sure to follow me on Facebook and twitter to get the latest campaign updates!
Conservatives care deeply about the environment. Ours is the Party full of people who hunt, fish, and like to get out into the great outdoors with their family.
I hold a Masters in Environmental Studies and know the Liberal talking points, but I believe OUR party is the one that actually cares about protecting our beautiful country.
I want to lead our Conservative team into the next election, ready to explain to Canadians our concrete plans to be good stewards of the environment.
Ours will not be a plan based on job killing carbon taxes or wealth redistribution schemes that do nothing to help the environment.
Our plan will do things that make sure Canadians continue to have clean air, water and soil.
We will take real action, like dealing with “orphan” oil and gas wells in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia
This problem has gotten worse under the Liberals’ regime, because they have consistently done everything they can to suffocate Canada’s oil and gas industry.
As companies go bankrupt, they don’t have the money to properly shut down their wells, and these wells are orphaned.
It’s not always a case of delinquency by oil and gas companies. Their economic situation, made worse by federal anti-energy policies, has led to a historic collapse in investment, businesses, and jobs in Canada’s energy sector.
As Leader and Prime Minister, I will support funding to address the issue of orphan wells. It’s good for the environment, revitalizes farmland, creates truly “green” jobs and helps get laid off oil and gas workers back to work.
But government funding alone isn’t a long-term solution.
Lakeland MP Shannon Stubbs has a Private Members Bill in the House of Commonsthat makes common sense changes to financial rules that would allow for more private sector investment to address this growing problem.
MPs like Shannon show us how we can put forward truly conservative ideas that help the environment AND the economy.
As Leader, I want our next policy convention to be a time where members can put forward common sense, conservative solutions for the environment.
The safety of men and women in the military should be our primary goal - not political correctness.
Historically, women have faced barriers in certain occupations, including in the military. These barriers will be made far worse under the new Liberal directive that the Canadian Armed Forces are no longer allowed to write “he” or “she” in official reports.
The government recently made large investments in attracting women to the Armed Forces and even produced an 85 page report only to now outlaw the use of the words "she" or "her".
How are they going to recruit women when they can’t even say “she” or “her”?
Just a few months ago the government settled with victims of sexual harassment and assault in the armed forces to the tune of $900 million.
How will the government be accountable for whether women are safer against sexual harassment if they can’t mention women in their official documents?
On the most basic level: how is anyone even supposed to report an incident of abuse accurately?
This isn’t practical. The government is erasing all the gains that women have made in the Canadian Armed Forces with this policy.
More importantly: it isn’t safe.
The government has no right to erase the identity of women and men in our armed forces who still want to be referred to as “she” or “he.”
We don’t need over-the-top political correctness in Canada.
We need a return to goodness and kindness.
That would be a truly inclusive country.
My parents moved to Canada because they wanted to give their kids a better life.
Like many immigrants, they came to Canada not only for economic opportunities, but because Canada embodied the type of values and opportunities that they wanted to pass on to their children.
And I'm so thankful they did.
I learned the Canadian values of honour and respect growing up in an immigrant community in Toronto, filled with different cultures and languages.
I learned the Canadian value of freedom of religion by talking with my friends at school and my neighbors about their different faiths, and being invited to their community celebrations.
We didn’t have to mark different months to celebrate our cultures; we experienced them every day by simply being a part of each other's lives. Our government did not look for ways to divide us based on our unique identities. Instead, we found ways to celebrate being Canadian.
I learned about freedom of speech by growing up in a neighborhood where people spoke their mind. It wasn’t always perfectly comfortable, and if someone didn’t agree with you they told you: but they never demonized you.
I learned about the value of hard work from my parents and my friends' parents who knew that in Canada, a strong work ethic and the guts to do the right thing were enough to change their children’s lives.
To this day, immigrants and refugees come to Canada because they have heard about our Canadian values and they want to raise their children in this kind of country. I am proud of my Canadian identity, and you should be too.
Canada is the kind of country I was proud to be raised in;
The kind of country I have chosen to raise my children in; and
The kind of Canada I will always fight for.
Is that the kind of Canada you want?