Crowfoot riding candidates from the Conservatives, New Democratic Party, and an independent were fielding questions from Drumheller residents at the federal political forum on Tuesday night.
Munson resident and independent candidate John C. Turner was the first to provide his opening remarks, saying he was running because he had lost faith in the current Conservative government.
Turner said in August 2009, a “former lady friend” of his was physically assaulted by a “Republican terrorist in Northern Ireland”, and despite hundreds of letters to members of government, including the Minister of National Defence, he had yet to receive a single response.
“I have lost faith in our Conservative government,” Turner said, after explaining he holds conservative ideologies but would not vote for the Harper government.
“We are spending millions of dollars protecting people in Afghanistan and Libya but the Canadian government won’t help a Canadian army veteran in need to help a defenseless lady, who's only crime, so to speak, was knowing a person who was actively pursuing a career as a police officer with the police service of Northern Ireland,” Turner said.
“That’s why I won’t forget you if you have a problem, regardless of the issue. My platform is about accountability and how the government spends our tax money.”
Conservative incumbent Kevin Sorenson, the most experience candidate having been representing Crowfoot since 2000 and re-elected with a 82.5 per cent popular vote in 2006, followed Turner.
Sorenson said the two biggest issues he’s heard while door knocking on this campaign were the people being displeased with another election, and the recession.
“We’re disappointed about that,” he said about $300 million spent on this election, the fourth one in seven years.
“But the first issue they were afraid about was the issue about the coalition.”
Sorenson went on to say the Conservative government has been the strongest reason Canada held strong through the 2008 recession.
“Canada, with prudent fiscal responsibility, was the last to go into a recession and the first to come out.”
He went on to say that confidence by foreign investors in Canada has driven our economy and the Conservatives have been spending on lasting projects in Canada.
He said, "The question is leadership: do you trust the leadership of the coalition or the continued, steady hand of the government of Canada under the hand of Stephen Harper?”
NDP candidate Ellen Parker, a Camrose resident and “educator and community activist” who holds a Bachelor of Education degree in home economics, began her opening statement citing social achievements by former NDP leader Tommy Douglas, such as medicare, pension reform, balanced budget and employment insurance reform.
“This election happened because of contemptive charges put towards the Harper administration, this has never happened in any parliament in any other Commonwealth country. We have another black mark internationally because of that,” Parker said.
“We do see Ottawa’s broken, and Jack Layton is ready to fix it. He’s ready to be Prime Minister, he knows what that means and understands it’s a government for you, the people – families trying to make ends meet. He knows that’s where to create real incentives for real job creators,” Parker said.
The opening remarks were followed by the candidates fielding questions from residents. A video of the questions and responses can be viewed on Drumheller TV at www.drumhellermail.com.