By Greg Price
To get a greater feel for the political pulse of his constituents, Bow River MP Martin Shields is holding an open, round-table discussion on Thursday in Taber to hear their concerns.
“To me, these things are really important. Sometimes people think I just go to these things to make a speech, but no, I am coming to listen to what you want to tell me and ask questions about,” said Shields. “I can make speeches at the House of Commons if I want to make speeches.”
Having to cover one of the largest ridings in the province geographically, Martin stressed sessions like these are critically important to give all the areas a strong voice.
“Rural policing has been one of the concerns that has shown up throughout the riding. You have municipalities that have the RCMP either within their borders or a place like Taber that has their own municipal police. The concerns come up from rural people who are outside (policing centres). Places like Enchant, another in Carseland. In the last (few) weeks, they’ve had some issues with what I’d call rural crime because of the downturn in the economy,” said Shields.
Shields also noted concerns have surfaced in the construction industry with the skyrocketing price of drywall.
“The ruling of a tribunal, where they said there has been a dumping of drywall into Canada the last couple of years, and so they put a huge tariff on it,” said Shields. “It surprised me. I didn’t know anything about it until the construction guys told me about it and I looked into it.”
It stressed to Shields even more the importance of Thursday’s round-table discussion in keeping the levels of communication flowing with his constituents for concerns closest to their hearts which action must be taken on.
“There will always be those issues someone will say is top three like carbon tax. But through discussion, things come up that you weren’t expected to know about which I really appreciate. It gives a voice to people,” said Shields.
The round-table discussion with MP Shields goes Thursday from 6-8 p.m. in the Green Room of the Taber Community Centre.
“Please come out and share what is of interest to you that you’d like me to hear about. I will have someone with me taking notes so I can keep track. It may be an individual thing, or a wider, broader issue,” said Shields. “If there are some people to share it with, we can all talk together. This is so important having a huge riding. Traveling the area, and getting around to hear people is important for democracy.”