A healthy-sized crowd filled the seats at the Maclab Theatre for the April 13 Federal Election Forum. As moderator, Leduc Regional Chamber of Commerce Past-President Donna Tona called to order at 7:00 p.m., and with a brief bio on each, introduced the candidates alphabetically:
• Richard Fahlman – Liberal Party
• Valerie Kennedy – Green Party
• Artem Mevedev – New Democratic Party
• James Rajotte – Conservative Party (Incumbent)
Tona announced the order of speaking, and explained that each candidate had ten minutes to state their information. Following would be a Question & Answer period with both written and verbal questions. The moderator would then ask for concluding remarks from each of the candidates.
The Green Party
Green Party candidate Valerie Kennedy was first to speak and began by pointing out three basic tenets in the Green
Party platform. "The first is a smart economy," said Kennedy, "that outlines where the money comes from and where it goes." A smart economy puts an end to waste, concentrating on reusing and recycling, and relies on non-polluting energy sources. The Green Party promotes investment in renewable energy, thereby creating thousands of jobs. A smart economy seeks sustainability and supports a healthy agriculture sector.
"The second part of the platform focuses on strong communities," said Valerie, going on to explain that communities that work together, support one another, and recognize the value of community relationships, makes for a more cohesive community. Strong communities are more effective in reducing crime, create new opportunities for youth, and respect and support Seniors.
"The third part of the Green Party platform centers around true democracy," Kennedy stated, in which the power is in the hands of the Canadian people where it belongs. "We keep hearing that we are in a fragile economy, we may be in a fragile
economy but we are not a fragile people," said Valerie.
New Democratic Party
Artem Mevedev, Edmonton-Leduc candidate for the New Democratic Party, (NDP), was second in line to speak. "We
are seeing a lot of people who are looking change, who are dissatisfied with what’s been going on in our political process, but no one party has 100% of the people," said Artem, "What we are hearing is from people who have voted conservative all their lives but who cannot force themselves to vote for them this time around, because they are seeing that Harper’s values do not reflect their own values."
"This government and this party that is ruling this country right now, is in contempt of Parliament. We are the first country in the British Commonwealth to have the federal government in contempt of Parliament. in contempt of our democracy and therefore in contempt of Canadian voters," stated Mevedev.
"Right now is a time for cooperation, friendly discussion, even if we dont’ agree, finding solutions together for the good of the whole society," said Artem, continuing with issues from the NDP platform such as incentive plans and ideas for attaining more doctors and nurses, giving families a break, making medications more affordable, and end our involvement in Afghanistan and "bring our soldiers home," said Artem.
The Liberal Party
Richard Fahlman, Edmonton-Leduc Liberal candidate, was third speaker. "One of the reasons that I am in politics is that we have seen a rapid decline in the ethics of the individuals in Ottawa, and we have to hold them accountable," said Fahlman.
The Liberal platform includes a stronger public pension system, quality affordable childcare, cancelling unaffordable tax cuts for the largest corporations, and balanced fiscal policy.
The Liberal Party is fighting for a strong economy in several ways: 1) by cancelling Harper’s additional corporate tax breaks and restoring rates to 2010 levels, 2) by making better financial choices than spending billions on fighter jets and destroying prison farms in order to build mega-prisons, and 3) restoring a reserve as a buffer to achieve targets. The Liberals are working to protect the environment with an Clean Energy Plan that promotes efficient energy and creates jobs by investing in renewable energy production.
Conservative Party candidate, James Rajotte, began his ten minute speech by talking on some of the initiatives the Conservative government has accomplished "and let people make up their own minds," said Rajotte. Since July of 2009
there have been thousands of jobs created, millions allocated for research, and the introduction of a working income tax benefit.
"Our unemployment rate is lower than the United States since the 1970s," said James. The Conservative government is determined to balance the budget by 2014.
More information on each of the parties can be found on their respective websites, including upcoming meetings and forums: