MP Calkins takes stock of the previous year for Canada

A new year means moving forward and one of the best ways to recognize your accomplishments is to take stock and review the year.

A new year means moving forward and one of the best ways to recognize your accomplishments is to take stock and review the year.

A strong Canadian economy is one of the items on Wetaskiwin MP Blaine Calkins’ checklist of jobs well done for 2012. He is also proud of assisting with “making the government an enabler of economic growth rather than getting in the way too much.”

Changes implemented in the 2012 budget reduced regulatory red tape in resource development. In February the long gun registry was removed and Calkins feels it is a time to remember as it affected him as well. “It was one of the moments I’ll never forget as an MP.”

Another significant day was Aug. 1; farmers were no longer obligated to sell their wheat and barley through the Canadian wheat board internationally. They were given a choice as to where they could sell their product and he feels it was a positive step forward for farmers.

“Another one of those defining moments in 2012 where a long-standing irritant for farmers was removed,” explained Calkins. “Of course the wheat board is still working for those who want to use it.”

The MP is finding a strong economy and choice for farmers. Also farmers who went to jail for selling their grains across the border without the wheat board’s permission were granted pardons. “That was a really nice gesture.”

One of the challenges he faced was seeing a motion defeated to study the definition of when life begins. The proposal was to put forward a committee to conduct the study as the Criminal Code states life begins when a baby is fully exited from its mother, he said. Calkins, who voted in favour of forming the committee, did not feel the study was targeted at abortion but more when life begins. “We have basically an absent law when it comes to protecting the child that’s still within its mother,” stated Calkins. “It was one of those hotly contested issues.”

On a personal level, Calkins is most proud of being able to travel to Korea during Remembrance Day to visit his great uncle’s grave and partake in ceremonies there. “Just to be there with the vets was truly and honour.”

Another area Calkins sees as something to address is the proposal from the Alberta Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission on the electoral boundaries map. Calkins did not comment too much as the process is not over yet. “Let me just say, I’ve heard loud and clear, whether it’s municipal councillors, county councillors or just citizens at large, they like the riding the way it is and would have preferred to see minor adjustments rather than a wholesale imploding of the ridings.”

Calkins is also working on ensuring Canadian forces get 65 new F-35 planes for the air force to replace its F-18s. There is a $9 billion budget to purchase the planes with an annual operating cost of $1 billion per year. This is an ongoing project, explained Calkins.

He took a moment to thank his constituents for their feedback. “It helps me do my job in representing them.”