MP Blaine Calkins speaks to community members at the Ponoka Legion May 10. Photo by Emily Jaycox

Calkins answers questions on the defeat of his bill, equalization and more

Question and answer session held May 10

Blaine Calkins, MP for Red Deer-Lacombe, held a public question and answer session at the Ponoka Legion on May 10, fielding questions ranging from pipelines and energy to restoring Canada’s reputation abroad.

“I got the whole gambit,” said Calkins in an interview at the conclusion of the event.

Farmers in the room voiced concern about the situation with canola and China and seniors wanted to know about the carbon tax and the raising cost of living, says Calkins.

There were roughly 20 to 25 people in attendance at the event, which was also a fundraising bid and call for volunteers for the upcoming federal election.

Calkins’ private member’s bill C-406, which sought to end foreign funding for third-party advertising in an effort to curtail foreign influences in Canadian elections, was defeated May 8.

“Now all I can do is ask Canadians to question why it was defeated,” he said, adding it must be because the Liberals and NDP are benefiting.

“I can only surmise foreign funding is assisting them.”

From the recent public meetings he’s held, he says he’s gotten a “strong sense” that if Trudeau is re-elected that Canada will be in peril.

“Depending on which poll you believe, 50 per cent of Albertans are already talking about separation,” said Calkins.

“That was the frustration I heard.”

Albertans are frustrated with western alienation and with equalization, which makes it clear “Alberta is only wanted for its money, not any of its ideas.”

Calkins said the current issue regarding equalization is whether or not the formula is fair.

“When Alberta has a strong economy, it is the engine of Canada,” said Calkins, adding Alberta makes up 10 per cent of the country’s population and 16 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Dispensing funds from Alberta to federation is okay when Alberta can pay its own bills, says Calkins.

Ending equalization is not possible without an amendment to the constitution and that would take the support of other provinces in order to pass the necessary population threshold.

Brian Mulroney tried twice in the past to repeal equalization and failed, Calkins added.

Calkins says it is great to see so many people coming out to these events and that people are energized and impassioned about the future of the country and getting Canadians back to work.

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