Over this past weekend, Conservative Party Leader Erin O’Toole announced a five-point Recovery Plan for Canada.
This plan is an excellent one. It’s right on track. It’s a winning plan for all of Canada, and for Conservatives in Edmonton Strathcona.
How do I know that? Because its key focus on jobs and the environment answers the concerns I’ve heard over 11 months of campaigning in Edmonton Strathcona.
Erin spoke clearly and truthfully when he said that climate change is real. The debate is over. That’s what the strong majority of Edmonton Strathcona Conservatives and all residents believe – that I know for sure.
With job creation being Priority #1 in his five-point platform, Erin has correctly identified the tremendous opportunity we have to use action on climate change as a catalyst for economic growth. I’ve heard from small business owners, students, workers, executives, and gig workers throughout the riding about our potential in this space.
It is absolutely clear in my mind that the Conservative Party will be on a very, very strong footing going into the next election with this platform offering for Canadians. I know that it’s one that will give us a huge opportunity in Edmonton Strathcona for Conservatives to finally bring this seat back into the Blue column again.
Here's why: Like so many Canadians, the Conservative Leader understands that action on climate change is a huge part of successful job recovery. They go hand in hand. And it’s right where the capital markets – where I’ve worked for 30 years – are telling us we need to be headed.
Erin has articulated a platform that dovetails perfectly with my plan for creating jobs and attracting investment capital to Edmonton Strathcona.
Capital markets are always ahead of politicians. That’s how I know Erin's key message about the climate change debate is correct - because that's what the markets are telling us.
Capital flows to where industry is pointing on the climate change file. Money has flooded the "energy transition" sector recently, but it's also still coming into our traditional oil & gas sector, as we've seen since last November. We can do both: support our traditional energy sector, and use the skills and immensely talented human capital we have in that sector to pivot into areas like hydrogen, helium, lithium, wind, solar, and nuclear energy.
We can do it all. And we should.
Accepting the market imperatives on climate change still leaves room for debate about to what extent it is man-made or natural. That's fine. Taking action on climate change and recognizing the opportunity it presents doesn't mean you have to subscribe to the federal Liberal carbon tax plan. I don't. Erin O'Toole doesn't, either. I believe that the Alberta government’s approach to focussing on the intensity of carbon emissions from large emitters is the way to go.
I know as someone who works day in and day out in the investment industry that if you're a CEO in the resource sector without a concrete climate action plan, you're going to be starved of capital.
If our Party goes into the next election without a viable climate change plan, we'll be starved of votes.
Our Conservative Party Leader made it clear this weekend that we will have that plan.
He's maybe ahead of where some Party members are, but he’s right in step with where the economy and the leaders of job creation and economic recovery are telling us we need to go.
And that’s where I want us all to be in Edmonton Strathcona.
Rick Peterson is an Edmonton businessman seeking the Conservative Party nomination in Edmonton Strathcona.