For incumbent Red Deer-Lacombe Member of Parliament Blaine Calkins, this Federal Election is all about, “Jobs, jobs, jobs” — particularly for the energy sector in central Alberta.
Calkins — who previously was a Lacombe town councillor before becoming an MP in 2006 for the previous riding of Wetaskiwin — said it is always a privilege to be elected and that he wants to represent the issues of his constituents.
Calkins said his experience in oil field work helps him understand that, in his view, Albertans are not being treated equitably to the rest of Canada.
“(Liberal Leader Justin) Trudeau has a number of things he has done to divide the country and one of them is certainly his dealing with the energy sector. We are hurting here in central Alberta,” he said.
Calkins specifically pointed to the mishandling of pipelines in Canada including the Trans Mountain Pipeline, Energy East and Northern Gateway. Calkins believes that the Trudeau Liberals, who purchased Trans Mountain from Kinder Morgan, does not want to see the pipeline built.
“All of this was private sector money. Not a single dollar of taxpayer money was being spent on this other than for regulatory workers,” he said.
Calkins believes a Trans Canada energy corridor will help solve issues related to transporting energy in Canada.
Calkins believes energy can be produced and refined in Canada cleanly and said it always has compared to producers like Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.
“As Conservatives we have a pragmatic approach to it and we realize the world’s demand for energy and fossil fuels is continuing to grow,” he said.
Calkins believes that the exportation of Canadian clean technology is the most effective way to combat emissions.
Calkins said it would be important for a Conservative government to treat jobs in Alberta the same as they are treated across the country.
Calkins believes investing in the Alberta energy sector is the best way to creating a balanced federal budget.
“If you are going to balance the budget, why don’t you let Albertans do what they do best,” he said.
Record as an MP
Calkins cited a private member’s bill on rural crime— that was rejected by parliament — and another private member’s bill on foreign investment given to third-party political advertising as two things he felt were important he achieved during his last term.
The latter proposal, which was rejected by the other parties, outlined that third-party interest groups could not accept money from foreign investors in order to influence the election.
“As a patriotic Canadian, why would we allow money from any source at all from outside our borders come in to a third-party organization in Canada and that money be then used in an advertising campaign to influence an electoral outcome?”
He added this bill would have applied to all foreign investors and not just anti-energy groups.
Currently, the Conservatives and the Liberals are both polling around 35 per cent and some have suggested there could be a minority government.
Calkins — who is obviously hoping for a Conservative majority — said a Conservative government would work across the isle, but doesn’t expect the Greens or NDP to support a Conservative minority.
“Of course I am hoping for a Conservative majority government. We are early on in the campaign and we are statistically almost tied — which is a good place to be in,” he said.
Ultimately, Calkins believes Canadians have to pass a judgment on Trudeau’s record, which includes the SNC-Lavalin affair.
“I am going to run a clean campaign like I have always done. It should be about the issues that are important to people in central Alberta which is jobs, jobs, jobs,” he said.