MP Soren­son looks back on chal­leng­ing year

The Drumheller Mail - - NEWS - Pa­trick Ko­lafa

It has been a tu­mul­tuous year in fed­eral pol­i­tics, but for the res­i­dents of Bat­tle RiverCrow­foot, the one con­stant has been the rep­re­sen­ta­tion from Kevin Soren­son.

It has been over a year since Soren­son was part of the govern­ment af­ter the Lib­eral party came into power, his ded­i­ca­tion re­mains.

“First of all, I am pleased that I am still rep­re­sent­ing the peo­ple of Bat­tle River-Crow­foot. When I look back on the years, I think that this con­stituency, that I have had the plea­sure of rep­re­sent­ing, is one of the things I re­ally en­joy, you meet some re­ally good and in­ter­est­ing peo­ple, and it is al­ways all about peo­ple,” he said.

What has de­fined the year is the econ­omy.

“It has been a chal­leng­ing year. I think here in Al­berta that might be a colos­sal un­der­state­ment. We see what is hap­pen­ing in our econ­omy as we just know there are peo­ple who are fac­ing mas­sive dif­fi­cul­ties with hours re­duced, or job losses,” he said. “This prov­ince is a great place to live, but peo­ple are fac­ing a lot of out­stand­ing is­sues.”

Through this, he feels the Con­ser­va­tive Party of Canada is mak­ing sure these is­sues are heard.

“On the other hand, I am pleased with the job the of­fi­cial op­po­si­tion has done. We’ve seen what Prime Min­is­ter Trudeau has taken as his pri­or­i­ties. Even be­fore he came to par­lia­ment for the first time, he com­mit­ted over $3 bil­lion to third world coun­tries to fight cli­mate change. Not to fight hunger, but cli­mate change. It is a very dif­fi­cult amount of money to make sure ac­count­abil­ity mea­sure and trans­parency mea­sures are in place.”

“I think our of­fi­cial op­po­si­tion has been the voice of the tax­payer, we have seen taxes al­ready go up, and have seen $100 bil­lion added to the na- tional debt. We have gone from bal­anced bud­gets to $32 bil­lion deficits. We have to stand up. So 2016, as much as we are dis­ap­pointed with the di­rec­tion the govern­ment has taken, our op­po­si­tion is try­ing to hold them to ac­count.”

He fore­sees more chal­lenges in the fu­ture. “I think we still live in the best coun­try in the world, in the best prov­ince. We are chal­lenged by the lead­er­ship of our prov­ince and the lead­er­ship of our coun­try, but we still live in a pretty out­stand­ing prov­ince. There is go­ing to be new chal­lenges in 2017. We have a new pres­i­dent-elect in the United States that is com­mit­ted to do­ing things that if Canada doesn’t re­spond cor­rectly to can re­ally af­fect our econ­omy. Pres­i­dent Trump says he is go­ing to lower cor­po­rate taxes from 30 per cent to 15 per cent. That is some­thing that we did in the past to make sure head of­fices of com­pa­nies and man­u­fac­tur­ing stayed in Canada. We took it from 22 per cent to 15 per cent,” he said. “If Trump is mak­ing the United States the place to do busi­ness again, that could be a sig­nif­i­cant job loss again for Cana­di­ans. How we re­spond to that is go­ing to be telling.”

While he agrees that en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues that have to be dealt with is some­thing that will have to be ad­dressed, he feels the poli­cies be­ing put in place are dam­ag­ing.

“It is vi­tal that we look to re­new­able types of en­ergy for down the road, but the time­lines are the dif­fi­culty. For ex­am­ple, when you say the car­bon tax is go­ing to start now, the ex­tra pay­roll taxes for busi­nesses is go­ing to start in 2018, and by the way, the higher level of in­come tax for job cre­ators. It is a com­bi­na­tion of ev­ery­thing where peo­ple will ask why are we re­ally do- ing this? We know even­tu­ally we have to go down that road, but do we have to do it in a way that drives jobs away from our coun­try?”

He is also con­cerned with the Lib­eral govern­ment’s elec­toral re­form ini­tia­tives.

“Quite frankly we have the best sys­tem in the whole world. We go all around the world ob­serv­ing other elec­tions. Now we have a Prime Min­is­ter who says he wants to change how we do this, we are not go­ing to do a ref­er­en­dum, we are go­ing to have a sur­vey,” he said. “It is some­thing that we should all be aware of.”

He says he has not done any con­sul­ta­tion, but has re­ceived hun­dreds of let­ters on it.

When I go around the con­stituency, I am con­stantly talk­ing about this. We are go­ing to try and have a few open houses af­ter Christ­mas.”

“What I would like to see is a ref­er­en­dum on this. I don’t want this to be im­posed on peo­ple.”

MP Kevin Soren­son... MP Bat­tle River-Crow­foot

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