Conservative MP Blaine Calkins has set his sights on the 2019 federal election.
Calkins announced his intention to run for re-election last week. For him, there’s still quite a bit of work to be done. Calkins has typically received strong support from voters in the area.
“I’m happy to continue on in my role and offer my services in Parliament,” said Calkins.
While the riding did get split, Calkins now represents a portion of Red Deer, Sylvan Lake, plus Lacombe and Ponoka, his goal is to continue to advocate for central Albertans.
“We see issues, especially when it comes to Alberta’s economy, and the fact that people of Alberta feel quite alienated from the decisions that are being made in Ottawa right now,” said Calkins.
Growing up in the area, Calkins said he understands the needs of residents and for him, it’s about removing what he calls a, “ridiculous demonization of the energy sector and all the wealth that it generates.”
Since the change in the federal government, Calkins says he’s heard concerns from Albertans that there is a lack of understanding as to what’s really happening in the province.
The socio-economic issues such as an increase in rural crime or unemployment are areas he feels other Canadians do not understand. Calkins pointed out that the province’s energy sector and oil expansion technology is world renown.
“When it comes to safety. When it comes to environmental initiatives,” said Calkins. “No one gets it out of the ground more efficiently and cleaner,” he explained, adding that transportation of product is also at a high level.
He feels the federal and provincial governments wear Alberta’s oil extraction as a badge of shame rather than a badge of pride.
The 48-year-old is in his fourth term of office and generally, support for Calkins has been high. In the last election he captured 70 per cent of the vote (43,000 votes) facing off against the Liberal, the NDP and the Green parties.
“I care about the issues that are important to people here in central Alberta,” said Calkins.
There haven’t been any whisperings as yet of any Conservative Party challengers.