Energy, crime are top election issues for city councillors

Pipelines and crime are top of mind federal election issues for members of Red Deer city council.

“First and foremost is with respect to securing energy to market access. Making sure that the energy industry, and all of its benefits for all Canadians, is respected in future government decision making,” Mayor Tara Veer said on Monday.

“We’ve made a lot of progress in terms of our efforts to diversify our local economy. But it’s absolutely imperative that we see a return in the energy sector in order to remove us, once and for all, from this recession.”

“Getting our natural resources to tide water, I think that needs to be a number one priority for whoever forms the next federal government,” added Councillor Tanya Handley.

The other top election issue for councillors is another concern shared by many – crime and public safety.

“Obviously, the greatest concern of Red Deerians right now, outside of the economy, is crime and general public safety,” Veer pointed out. “We know that the property and persons crime in Red Deer is a direct consequence of the drug trade and trafficking, and we need very strong leadership at the federal level in order to get to the root of those systemic issues.”

Handley says ensuring that justice is carried out when it comes to repeat offenders is something both federal and provincial governments need to address.

Equally important as a strong energy sector, according to Councillor Michael Dawe, is strong agriculture.

“The agricultural sector has really been hit with some severe blows the last couple years,” Dawe noted. “We really need to tackle that in a strong and forward way to make sure it doesn’t get left behind, because it is so important to us.”

City Manager Allan Seabrooke says he’s looking for a commitment to reliable, sustainable funding for municipalities to look after infrastructure.

“I know that Alberta is committed to that, but we need our federal (government) to also recognize that municipalities are a strong player in looking after the assets that ensure the quality of life for people here in Red Deer.”

Seabrooke, too, highlighted the importance of government helping to ensure the strength of Alberta’s energy and agriculture industries.

“We rely so heavily on our natural resources and our agriculture. Those are two key industries that the rest of Canada cannot forget because Alberta is such a strong player in ensuring those strong industries. It’s what makes Canada tick.”