Blaine Calkins
Member of Parliament for Red Deer - Lacombe

2020-10-22 (October)

MP Report: Toxic Plastic or Toxic Liberal Policy?

Recently the Liberals announced additional details on their single-use plastic ban. The ban is going to include grocery bags, stir sticks, six-pack rings, plastic utensils, some food ware and plastic straws.

The Liberals also announced that they will be designating plastic as a toxic substance under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. According the Trudeau Liberals plastics will be listed right along side substances like mercury and asbestos. Even the Liberals are acknowledging that calling plastics toxic isn’t accurate, but they aren’t letting that stop them. The Liberal’s decision to impose this ban at a time when businesses are already struggling to get by is tone deaf and shameful.  This may very well be the straw that breaks the camels back for countless businesses.

Nobody is in favour of plastic pollution; however, this is an issue that needs to be worked on collaboratively with the provinces and territories to come up with a meaningful solution that will allow us to keep using plastic while preventing it from ending up in the environment. In fact, Alberta had put forward such an initiative the day before the Liberals  announced the plan for their ban of “toxic” plastic. Alberta’s plan to create a Plastics Diversion and Recycling Centre of Excellence over the next ten years will create over 13,000 jobs and could lead to up to a possible $1.4B in economic opportunity. The Trudeau Liberals decision to virtue signal about plastic waste and toxicity is putting this opportunity, and the jobs that come with it, at risk.

Aside from the economic opportunity that exists in plastic recycling and diversion, plastic manufacturers add $28 billion to the Canadian economy each year and employ over 93,000 Canadians all across the country. This is especially true in Alberta where our abundant natural gas makes it an ideal place to manufacture plastic. Many of theses producers are small and medium sized businesses that communities rely on. The Joffre petrochemical installation is a perfect example of this right here in Central Alberta. These manufacturers and the service companies that support them provide important good paying jobs that families and our communities depend on. Besides being an important economic driver, many of these businesses help to support their communities with generous donations to events, organizations as well as for environmental projects. Now due to the Liberals announcement workers in the plastic manufacturing industry, and all of the other industries that rely on them, have to deal with uncertainty about what this will mean for them, and how this could impact their job.

Why is every initiative from the Trudeau government an assault on Alberta jobs? Whether it’s resource development or the proposed plastic ban on single use plastics and toxic designation Justin Trudeau seems intent on attacking industries that Albertans rely on. It’s no wonder that from the perspective of Alberta, this Liberal government doesn’t have a single use.

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Blaine Calkins - Member of Parliament for Red Deer - Lacombe