Conservative MP Michelle Rempel delivered an impassioned speech Wednesday about the dire fiscal situation many Albertans find themselves in but it wasn’t just her message that was left hanging in the air once she was done but also an unusual metaphor.
As MPs were discussing the second reading of Bill C-29, the Trudeau government’s budget implementation bill, Rempel gave a rousing speech in which she spoke about the surging unemployment in Alberta- particularly Calgary – ever since the price of oil collapsed in 2014.
“Think about what it means for a region to have such a dramatic, significant decrease in employment in such a short period of time,” she said. “Right now, thousands of them (Albertans) are out of work. Thousands of them!”
“You know what this has?” she asked while holding up a copy of the budget bill, “Sweet fudge all for my riding. Nothing! Nothing!”
Shortly after saying the Trudeau government was simply raising taxes on Albertans during their time of need, the Calgary Nose Hill MP dropped a bomb of sorts.
“Why does this government treat Alberta like a fart in the room that nobody wants to talk about or acknowledge?”
“That is where my constituents have been at with this government for over a year,” Rempel said. “And you know what? We’re tired of it.”
Green Party leader Elizabeth May spoke immediately after Rempel and took issue with a particular word the Alberta MP used in her nearly 10-minute-long speech.
“I heard her say a word that I know is distinctly unparliamentary and I think she may want to withdraw it,” May said. “The word was f-a-r-t.”
Rempel appeared indignant in her response.
“Are you serious Mr. Speaker? Is my colleague actually serious?” she said. “I just gave an impassioned speech about supporting Alberta jobs and that’s what the leader of a political party stands up and has to say? No I don’t withdraw it.”
May replied that while she took issue of the word fart being used by Rempel in her speech, she acknowledged the gravity of the situation facing Albertans.
“I am deeply concerned, as are all people in this place, for Canadians who are hurting from (the) economic downturn.”
Rempel’s speech was delivered just a day after a new report showed food bank use in Alberta was up by 17 per cent year-over-year as the price of oil plummeted and job prospects dried up.
Since 2008, reliance on food banks in Alberta has skyrocketed 136 per cent.
In August, Statistics Canada reported Alberta’s monthly unemployment rate climbed to its highest level in nearly 22 years in July, marking the first time the province has had a worse jobless rate than Nova Scotia.
-With files from Monique Scotti.