Rural crime a main election issue for Red Deer candidates
Published Thursday, October 10, 2019 4:42PM MDT
Last Updated Thursday, October 10, 2019 4:48PM MDT
RED DEER -- With five candidates representing all of the major political parties, voters in Red Deer—Mountain View have a lot of choices in the upcoming federal election.
The issue of rural crime is a main focus for all of the four candidates CTV News spoke with.
"We recognize that there are many aspects to it, and of course when we're dealing with law enforcement and the judiciary, it's something that we have to keep working on," said incumbent Conservative Party of Canada candidate Earl Dreeshen.
While the Conservative candidate didn't offer specifics, in his past 11 years as a Member of Parliament he has worked on human trafficking issues and has been part of a crime task force in the province.
For the NDP, the answer is investing more into communities.
"One thing that we would like to be able to do is tackle crime at its root source, is to increase youth engagement and increase social programs that everyone can rely on," said NDP Candidate Logan Garbanewski. "We also would like to improve the working conditions of the RCMP and hopefully retain and train more."
Green Party candidate Conner Borle says his party would look at giving municipalities more money in the budget.
"With that money we kind of want to give more power to municipalities in addressing the rural crime in their areas," he said. He added that job creation would also be a key step to reducing crime.
People's Party of Canada candidate Paul Mitchell has already created two private members bills that he would introduce in parliament if he were elected, to tackle the issue of crime.
The bills are called the Rural Protection Act and the Property Protection Act. The first would repeal and replace the storage, display, transportation and handling of firearms by individual regulations. The second would give property owners more protection if someone were to trespass on their land.
"Instead of having the law-abiding citizen blamed if there is an altercation or if there's force used, the criminal will have brought that upon themselves," said Mitchell.
Another area of focus is the economy.
According to the Greens, Alberta is key for their plan to succeed.
"The Green Party really wants to invest in infrastructure projects that give Albertans jobs and they would help provide the education and the training for anyone from the oil and gas sector that have lost their jobs to retrain and get the skills that they need," said Borle.
"For there to be a transition away from fossil fuels, Alberta is ground zero for that. Alberta is the main province that the Green Party wants to address and give support to and help in the transition, because if it doesn't work in Alberta it won't work anywhere else."
For Conservative candidate Dreeshen, he is focused on agriculture and trade.
"Those are key issues we have to work so hard to try and protect our way of life and the way in which we are seen around the world," said Dreeshan. "In order to be able to maintain the healthy conditions that we have and we need, you need to have a strong economy."
The PPC would also focus on health care, even though that is provincial jurisdiction.
"We're going to take the GST tax away from Ottawa and hand it back to the provinces as a dedicated healthcare fund," said Mitchell.
For the NDP candidate, he would be looking to spend as much time in possible in parliament so he could speak for his constituents.
"I think to be a good member of parliament and to really represent the people you need to be there as much as possible and speaking up for them," said Garbanewski.
Red Deer—Mountain View has been a Conservative riding for almost two decades now, with the party first taking office in 2004. Prior to that the riding was held by the Alliance and Reform parties, which were also conservative parties.
Dreeshen would like for it to stay that way.
"I really feel like I have helped serve the community over the years and it has been so special for me, to be able to give back has been one of things thats just so rewarding."
The others are hoping for a change come Oct. 21.
"We've been voting conservative for decades and life hasn't really improved for us. The Conservatives and the Liberals have mostly been looking out for those who are rich enough to cozy up to the leaders and it's time we had some representation from somebody on the ground floor," said Garbanewski.
"On a broad variety of very significant issues we're a true alternative to not just the conservatives but to all of the other parties," said Mitchell.
"Even when conservative governments have been in power, I think Alberta's been neglected," said Borle.
CTV News did reach out to Liberal Party candidate Gary Tremblay, but he declined an interview request.