Members of the Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce had a chance to hear from Blaine Calkins, PC candidate for the federal election, Tuesday, Sept. 15 at Cilantro and Chive.
While Calkins was able to speak about business in Ottawa, Ont., discussion on the election was not allowed and attendees were requested not to ask questions related to the election.
Calkins did answer provided questions and he touched on changes to the ridings as Ponoka now falls under the Red Deer-Lacombe electoral district, which has an approximate population of 113,000 people and includes, Rimbey, Maskwacis and Sylvan Lake.
Another question to Calkins related on the price of the Canadian dollar compared to the American dollar. He suggests the real change has been that the American dollar has seen strength.
“I think that’s what’s happened is we’ve seen the American dollar rise quite a bit,” explained Calkins.
While the energy market is suffering Calkins says that increase in the American dollar is helping other Canadian products such as grain, lumber and food to be exported. “We’re seeing very strong exports in commodities besides energy.”
Because of that, Calkins suggests there has been a large reduction in Canada’s trade deficit. Despite the strength of exports, unemployment is sitting at seven per cent and 54,000 jobs were lost last month.
“Almost all of that is directly related to the energy sector,” said Calkins.
As for changes to the Elections Act, Calkins said voters will need to register to vote and need two pieces of identification, both of which need to have a person’s name and one, which needs to have a voter’s address.
People can vouch for others, he added, as long as the person vouching has their own ID and that of the person they are vouching for. There is also an extra day of advanced polling, to four days, up from three. He added that Canadians can vote any day during an election, people just have to go to a returning officer and follow the steps needed.
A candidates’ forum is set for Wednesday, Oct. 7 at 6:30 p.m. at the Kinsmen Community Centre and will be hosted by the Ponoka Chamber of Commerce.