Member of Parliament Blaine Calkins will be seeking his second term in office as the representative of the Wetaskiwin constituency when residents go to the polls on Oct. 14, and by all indications, he should walk away with another overwhelming majority.
During his first campaign in the last federal election held on January 23, 2006, Calkins garnered over 31,000 more votes than his next nearest rival Jim Graves, who represented the New Democratic Party.
In that election, Calkins received 35,776 votes compared to just 4,441 for Graves and continued a dominating in the riding by either Conservatives, Reform Party members or Progressive Conservatives that dates back to 1957 when Ray Thomas held the seat under the Social Credit Party.
A former college instructor, Calkins was born in Lacombe and raised on a farm north of the community. Currently, he still resides in Lacombe with his wife Barb and their three children.
A public servant in one form or another for his entire life, in addition to being the MP for Wetaskiwin, Calkins has also served on the Lacombe Town Council and several other committees related to the town.
“I have always been a fiscal conservative but in 2005 when I ran for the nomination for the Conservative Party in this riding, I felt there was a need to help families,” Calkins said when asked what attracted him to his party. “As my family’s sole income earner and the father of three young children, I knew first hand the bite federal taxes were taking from my pay cheque. Stephen Harper offered a change. He planned to make families a priority and our Conservative government did just that.”
Before Parliament was dissolved prior to the latest election call, Calkins was a member of the Standing Committee on National Defense as well as the Environment and Sustainable Development and most recently a member of committees involved with the portfolios of Justice and Human Rights and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
As for the most important issue facing Canadians in the upcoming election, Calkins pointed to the economy and added that with strong leadership, a financial crisis such as the one currently gripping the United States can be avoided north of the border.
“The economy is the most important question in this election. The fundamentals of the Canadian economy are sound but the last things we need are tax hikes, deficits, reckless spending and risky economic schemes. During this campaign, the policies we are proposing follow along the same fiscally responsible path that we set out in 2006. They are clear, affordable, practical and achievable,” he said. “People on both sides of the border are concerned over the fluctuations in the marketplace which is why we need a steady confident hand and sound economic policies so that Canadians can move forward with confidence and certainty.”
Despite having to work with a minority government for the past two and a half years, Calkins said it was a productive time in Parliament under the Conservatives but was quick to add that they could have gotten a lot more done had they had a majority.
“Over the last two and one half years, the Conservative government enacted some progressive and important legislation but there were a lot more Bills, like the repeal of the gun registry, that were not passed because the Opposition Parties opposed them,” he said adding that if re-elected, the party will continue to build the economy and provide for families while taking a tougher stance against crime.
“A re-elected Conservative government will continue to focus on the needs of families and all Canadians and will continue on the steady path that has made our economy strong and the envy of our G-7 counterparts,” Calkins said. “We will continue to do what it takes to ensure safer streets and safer communities and we will put the interests of victim and law abiding families first. A stronger mandate on October 14th will enable us to continue to move Canada forward on a solid footing and to allow us to implement the family-focused initiatives that are important to Albertans and all Canadians.”