Candidates from Red Deer ridings square off

Skimming the surface on a variety of topics, candidates from Canada’s three largest parties faced off at a election forum at the Red Deer Memorial Centre on Monday.

Skimming the surface on a variety of topics, candidates from Canada’s three largest parties faced off at a election forum at the Red Deer Memorial Centre on Monday.

The Conservative, New Democratic and Liberal candidates for Red Deer-Mountain View and Red Deer-Lacombe fielded questions ranging from health care, the economy, jobs, missing and murdered Indigenous women to drug policies.

But it wasn’t long before the hot political issue of the day – the trans-pacific partnership (TPP) was front and centre.

Twelve nations, including Canada, reached a tentative deal on Monday on a massive Pacific Rim trading bloc billed as the largest-ever deal of its kind. It has implications for a staggering scope of industries, workers, and for long-term international relations between countries on four continents.

It was no surprise both Conservative candidates Earl Dreeshen for Red Deer-Mountain View and Blaine Calkins for Red Deer-Lacombe championed the proposed agreement.

Calkins said if the TPP is ratified and concluded Canada will have access to 60 per cent of the world GDP and 800 million new customers. He told the nearly packed house that Canada needs market access.

Other candidates, however, said Canadians are in the dark about the agreement which highlighted the lack of transparency in the current government.

Jeff Rock, the Liberal candidate for Red Deer-Lacombe, said the government came into power 10 years ago based on transparency. He said the TPP is another example on a long list of completely nontransparent negotiations on Canadian’s behalf.

Doug Hart, the NDP candidate for Red Deer-Lacombe, said there are differing views on the partnership and it may jeopardize the safety of the products coming into the country because other countries use growth hormones that are outlawed in Canada.

A question on Canada’s approach to the war on drugs drew out the issue of decriminalizing marijuana.

Paul Harris, the NDP candidate Red Deer-Mountain View, said Canada needs to look at the root causes and the evidence around how to craft policy in order to address any social issue.

Liberal candidate for Red Deer-Mountain View, Chandra Kastern said the war on drugs has failed. She said there is $6 spent in justice to every $1 spent in health or rehabilitation. She said the Liberal Party recognizes mental health is part of the health-care system.

Dreeshen said he has seen too many young lives affected by drugs and for people to minimize it suggests “we have found a great way to normalize it” is a mistake. Dreeshen said he seconded a harsh private member’s bill dealing with vehicular homicide.

The forum was hosted by the Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce.

The Golden Circle Senior Resource Centre hosts an all-candidates forum starting at 9 a.m. today.

crhyno@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Some workers are terrified at the prospect of returning to work at Olymel, where hundreds were infected with COVID, says a worker.
Advocate file photo
Second death linked to Olymel COVID-19 outbreak, Alberta Health confirms

A second death has been linked to the Olymel COVID-19 outbreak, Alberta… Continue reading

A health worker holds up a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19 in Rome, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Cecilia Fabiano/LaPresse via AP
Health Canada approves AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine

Canada has pre-ordered 20 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine

A fallen Western Red cedar tree at Francis/King Regional Park in Saanich, B.C., Thursday, May 26, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Logging delay agreement for B.C. old-growth tree stand helps endangered spotted owls

Deal announced to hold off logging watershed for a year

An arrest by Red Deer RCMP is facing online scrutiny. No charges have been laid and the incident is still under investigation. (Screenshot of YouTube video)
Red Deer RCMP investigating violent arrest caught on video

Police say officer ‘acted within the scope of his duties’

Emily Keeping of Wetaskiwin, Alta., was last seen at 4:20 p.m. on Feb. 25, 2021 at the FasGas on 49 St and 50 Ave in Wetaskiwin. Supplied/ Wetaskiwin RCMP.
UPDATE: Wetaskiwin RCMP seek assistance in locating missing 11-year-old

Emily Keeping was last seen on Feb. 25, 2021 at the FasGas on 49 St and 50 Ave in Wetaskiwin.

FILE - Cameron Forte (right) and his Fraser Valley Bandits are 2-0 at the Canadian Elite Basketball League Summer Series after being the Saskatchewan Rattlers. (CEBL photo)
CEBL releases 14-game 2021 schedule, hopes to see fans attend games in person

Season will kick off with the Edmonton Stingers and the Fraser Valley Bandits

FILE - Keegan Messing performs during the Men’s Short program at the 2020 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships in Mississauga, Ont., Friday, Jan. 17, 2020. If the world figure skating championships do go ahead in a bubble in March in Sweden, there is a good chance Canada won’t be there. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Messing leads Canadian figure skating team at world championships

Messing was the only Canadian to compete on the Grand Prix circuit this season

Nurses episode, titled “Achilles Heel,” was first aired on Global in February 2020. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Global pulls ‘Nurses’ episode after scene with Orthodox Jews deemed anti-Semitic

TORONTO — Global TV says it has pulled an episode of Toronto-set… Continue reading

Lady Gaga is offering a $500,000 reward for the return of her two French bulldogs. (Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Lady Gaga’s dog walker shot, French bulldogs stolen in LA

Dog walker expected to survive injuries

Calgary Flames defenceman Mark Giordano tries to help goaltender David Rittich stop a shot from Ottawa Senators right wing Drake Batherson during first-period NHL action Thursday, February 25, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Colin White scores two goals to lead Ottawa Senators to a 6-1 win over Calgary Flames

Colin White scores two goals to lead Ottawa Senators to a 6-1 win over Calgary Flames

Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy Vice-Admiral Art McDonald is seen during an interview with The Canadian Press in Ottawa, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Military reeling as new defence chief steps aside amid allegations of misconduct

Military reeling as new defence chief steps aside amid allegations of misconduct

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks during a news conference in Edmonton on Feb. 24, 2020. It’s budget day in the province, and Kenney’s United Conservative government is promising more help in the fight against COVID, but more red ink on the bottom line. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta’s budget promises more help for COVID-19 with a hard deficit

Alberta’s budget promises more help for COVID-19 with a hard deficit

Most Read