ATHABASCA – Conservative Party of Canada leader Andrew Scheer announced his new shadow cabinet Nov. 29 and Lakeland MP Shannon Stubbs is staying put.
The 39 year old Lakeland will retain her spot as Shadow Minister of Natural Resources, a post she was originally appointed to Aug. 30, 2017. The second-term parliamentarian said she is looking forward to the upcoming session but added she has some mixed feelings about working with newly-appointed natural resources minister Seamus O’Regan.
“I did build a little bit of a working relationship with Seamus over the previous four years. I have talked to him about a number of issues affecting rural communities that he is open to,” Stubbs explained. “We also bonded about our shared Newfoundland history, as he holds a seat in the St. John’s area and my late mother was born and raised in the province.
"We ended up in an elevator together after I aggressively argued against the closure of the citizenship and immigration office in Vegreville. He asked me where I’m from, and I told him I was a first-generation Albertan. When I told him my mother was from Newfoundland, he said that explained the ‘fire in my belly.’”
But despite their personal rapport, she still said she had some concerns about O’Regan holding this particular post.
“He did have some significant challenges in the (Veterans Affairs and Indigenous Services) portfolios, and he was not considered to be an overwhelming success in either of those roles,” Stubbs continued. “In his current portfolio, he has already indicated that the Liberal government would not at all be open to legislative changes to Bills C-69, C-48, or even the carbon tax. I’m worried that he’s got a closed door on what Albertans care about.”
As for her own priorities, she said she will be pushing really hard to get some more pipelines built and wants a concrete and transparent plan about building the TransMountain pipeline.
“The plan also needs to include how much it will cost, and what the long-term ownership structure will be like. It’s my view, the view of Conservatives and of most people in the Lakeland that the private sector should be building the pipelines and not the Federal government,” Stubbs said. “But here we are in the mess the Liberals have created, and they are still no further than they were when they purchased the pipeline.”
In regards to questions about Scheer’s leadership of the Conservatives, Stubbs said she is behind him 100 per cent.
“If any party should be looking critically at their leader right now, it’s the Liberals and the NDP,” she said. “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his party saw their support fall across the country, as they lost more than a million votes and dropped to a minority government, and although Jagmeet Singh ran an impressive campaign, he still dropped more than a dozen seats.”
She added when you look at Andrew Scheer, the feeding frenzy by the mainstream media is appalling.
“The mainstream media never wanted Scheer to succeed in the first place, and now they’re promoting people within the party who oppose the leader in order to sow some dissent,” Stubbs continued. “We as Conservatives should do a better job talking about our successes during the election.
"Within two years of his leadership, we knocked the Liberals to a minority, we won the nationwide popular vote, and increased our support in every single region of the country. In some ridings where we were previously a distant third, we finished close seconds. So yes, I do still support Scheer’s leadership.”
She also said that she is also looking forward to working with Liberal-turned-Tory MP Leona Alleslev as the party’s new deputy leader.
“Picking her was a wise choice on Andrew’s part,” Stubbs added. “Alleslev is from the 905 region of Toronto, an area we need to win in order to form a majority government in the next election. In terms of fundamental principals, I think she always was more conservative, and was in the wrong party in the first place.”
She said overall, the Conservatives have a very talented team together to hold the government accountable during the upcoming term.
“We have a team-player atmosphere in our party and caucus, and I look forward to the days ahead,” Stubbs continued. “I myself am so proud to represent Lakeland, and I will always advocate strongly for my constituents.”