The Lacombe and District Chamber of Commerce held an election forum at the Lacombe Memorial Centre in order to help inform voters in advance of the Oct. 21 Federal Election.
People’s Party of Canada (PPC) Candidate Laura Lynn Tyler Thompson, Incumbent Conservative Party (CPC) Candidate Blaine Calkins, New Democrat Party (NDP) Canada Lauren Pezzella, and Liberal Party (LPC) Candidate Tiffany Rose all presented their visions for the riding of Red Deer-Lacombe.
Liberal Party of Canada
Rose, who is a former Lacombe business owner, said she was grateful to be able to hear different points of view at the forum.
“Everyone was respectful and I had quite a few people thank me for being an opposing voice and saying difficult things,” she said.
Rose said she cares deeply about the community and wants to make sure that no one is being left behind.
”A lot of people who are left behind feel like they must remain silent here because the majority is so loud,” she said.
For Rose, social justice, mental health care and disability justice is her priority
Social justice and mental health are my number one priorities. I am strong advocate for mental health care and disability justice in our community.
“One of the things the Liberals have in their platform is an increase to mental health care funding. We desperately need that in central Alberta,” she said.
People’s Party of Canada
Former Christian talk show host Tyler Thompson, who was removed from 700 Club Canada National Christian broadcast for comments made against gender fluidity being taught in schools, believes she is giving Conservative voters a good reason to not vote for the CPC.
Tyler Thompson believes that a proposed CPC energy corridor would take eight to 10 years to build, and claims her party under leader Maxime Bernier would begin within the first two years of government.
“Blaine Calkins did not refute that and I think that is significant,” she said.
Tyler Thompson describes herself as a fighter and disagrees that social issues have become a part of politics. She says her approach has led to CPC voters agreeing to change their allegiance
“They had me come and replace their lawn signs. One lady did it when we showed up at the door,” she said.
Tyler Thompson said she will take on pipelines, tax reforms and equalization if elected.
“I am not here to be a normal politician, I am here to fight like the dickens for every one of you. Blaine Calkins will say things about me not being from here, but I will hope you will accept me,” she said.
New Democrat Party
Lauren Pezzella is a 24-year-old business student from Red Deer college and is running on affordable housing, climate change pharmacare, improved health care delivery and standing up to big money.
“I am not in this for big corporations or big finance. I am here to make a difference for the average citizen and make their lives a little big easier,” she said.
Pezzella is running for a better future for her and her future family.
“Last summer we had forest fires so bad we could barely breath. This summer we had floods destroy millions of dollars of crops and property and yet their are political candidates who will deny climate change and thinks fossil fuels are our only future,” she said.
Pezzella is against Canadians having to live pay cheque to pay cheque.
“We need to take better care of one another by lifting the debt burden on young people, make sure everyone has an affordable place to live and expand health care services to areas like prescription drugs so that no Canadians are left behind,” she said.
Pezzella is an advocate for womens rights.
Canada thrives when women are given the opportunity to thrive. That is why I am defending the right for women to choose and that is why I want to make affordable childcare available to all families, so that no has to choose between having kids and having a career,” she said.
She added, “We are at an important moment in history and I want to stand up for you.”
Conservative Party of Canada
Incumbent candidate Blaine Calkins said central Alberta are reacting to punitive policies of the Trudeau government.
“We’ve lost 100s of thousands of jobs and people are leaving to find work elsewhere. We used to be the place you’d come to find hope and optimism,” he said.
Calkins said CPC Leader Andrew Scheer has a plan to help central Albertans, most specifically a trans Canada energy corridor connecting the country.
“This east-west corridor will allow us to build pipelines, transmission lines and all kinds of infrastructure we need to be able to do in our country. We are a country that is no longer able to build major projects and it is so frustrating,” he said.
Calkins has been an MP since 2006 and cited his longstanding time in the community.
“I know the issues, I know the wants, the hopes, the dreams of people that are here. My job is to represent those and I am happy to do so again if I am so elected on October 21,” he said.
Calkins believes increased tax revenues will only come with the growth of the energy sector
“The tax revenues generated and the wealth generated is good for all of Canada. We need to do this. We need to start it as soon as possible,” he said
He added, “I want to get our community back to work.”