Blaine Calkins seeking re-election in new riding

This is the second of three feature interviews with federal candidates in the Red Deer-Lacombe riding.

With more than 80 per cent of the vote in the last federal election under his belt, Blaine Calkins is possibly considered the front-runner in the Red Deer-Lacombe riding.

Changes to the electoral district haven’t affected Calkins’ plan much, except to spend time in Red Deer knocking on doors meeting residents. “It’s changed the nature of the riding that I’m used to representing a little bit, because now it’s got amore urban flavour to it,” he explained.

Calkins graduated from Red Deer College and he feels he has close ties to the city and suggests the population growth inSylvan Lake, Lacombe and Blackfalds has also changed the dynamic of the riding.

Bringing benefits to farmers is something Calkins feels has already begun with the dismantling of the Canadian WheatBoard. “With the majority government, we were able to bring marketing choice and freedom to barley and wheat growers all across western Canada.”

While the province is struggling in the energy sector due to over supply from OPEC, Calkins suggests other products such as beef, pork, grain and lumber are doing well. He referred to the Trans-Pacific Partnership as a tool that will benefitCanadians in the agriculture sector. “That’s a good thing for producers I don’t ever remember a time, in my lifetime growing up on a farm, where we had solid commodity prices in both meat and grains all at the same time.”

When asked about balancing a renewable energy source with fossil fuels Calkins suggested the world will not be moving away from fossil fuels anytime soon.

“Virtually any so-called renewable energy that’s out there, many of which are made from components of the petrochemical sector, many of these initiatives simply aren’t ready or aren’t cost effective and would need significant government funding to make them viable,” explained Calkins.

He suggests the private sector will determine what is economically viable and what the market can handle. Much of what makes Alberta grow are the fossil fuels, said Calkins.

When it comes to senior care and mental healthcare, Calkins said the federal government has almost doubled the health transfers to the province. He added the benefits to seniors comes in the form of tax breaks.

“We’ve taken about 400,000 Canadian seniors off the tax role altogether who, if we had the same policies we had in 2005,would be paying taxes today,” said Calkins.

He said the country’s budget is strong with growing economy, which helps provide funds for healthcare and other public needs. “A strong economy and a strong private sector pays for the public sector.”

Working with the First Nations communities in Maskwacis, which is part of the riding, is something Calkins says he has done as the Wetaskiwin representative. He is proud of community initiatives at the reserve to reduce gang violence. One area Calkins feels is important is creating transparency in financial reporting of First Nations councils.

“First Nations people living in these communities should know how the money is spent,” said Calkins. “And the taxpayers frankly, who are sending that money, ought to know how that money is being spent.”

He said changes were also made in the Indian Act to allow residents to access human rights complaints and providing women matrimonial rights to their properties.

Calkins said he feels he feels the most important issue for Canadians is the economy. He suggests the PC Party helped grow the country’s per capita GDP. “The Canadian middle class is the richest class in the world.”

He suggests the best way for growth and a sustainable economy is a strong private sector that helps the public sector.

 

Just Posted

Dangers of distracted driving highlighted in mock crash

Ponoka Secondary Campus students had a taste of reality in a mock crash on distracted driving

Ponoka church hosts community summer sports series

Basketball and volleyball brings Filipino families together as part of a summer sports series.

Red Deer Lake residents have seen water levels drop steadily

AEP study shows levels on straight line decline for 40 years, investigation will continue

Ponoka high school students fundraise for women’s shelter

Creating awareness for #MMIW Ponoka Secondary Campus students hosted a bake sale

Maskwacis and feds sign historic education agreement

The Maskwacis Education School Commission signed an agreement setting the stage for their education

VIDEO: Canadians rise for early-morning Royal wedding celebrations

Canadians gathered for early-morning broadcast of marriage between Meghan Markle, Prince Harry

CP rail workers give strike notice

Employees could walk out as early as Tuesday at 7 p.m. PT

Vote points to abortion being legalized in Ireland

Voters asked whether to keep or repeal Eighth Amendment to Roman Catholic Ireland’s Constitution

Canadian soccer officials talk up World Cup bid at Champions League final

Current bid calls for 2026 World Cup games to be staged in the U.S., Canada and Mexico

WATCH: Alix holds 2nd annual Icebreaker Roughstock

Many come out to see some intense rodeo action

B.C. RCMP swoop in to save injured eagle

An eagle with a broken wing now in a recovery facility after RCMP rescue near Bella Coola

Bug spray 101: Health Canada wants you to stay bite free

Health Canada is reminding Canadians to use bug spray and other insect repellents safely

Former B.C. premier says pot industry about to enter Wild West

Mike Harcourt says Canada is about to enter a new gold rush with many dreaming of striking it rich

Hunt continues for two suspects in Ontario restaurant explosion

The explosion left 15 people injured, but all victims have now been released from hospital

Most Read