MP Blake Richards is holding a series of pre-budget consultation meetings and he will be in Cochrane tomorrow (Saturday, January 25).  

Richards says the discussion will outline what the priorities are for people in the Banff - Airdrie riding for the upcoming federal budget, and he wants to hear constituents' feedback and concerns. He says it's an opportunity to get constituent's opinions about what's important to them and should be included in the Liberal's budget which is expected to be delivered sometime in February. 

Richards says in the past these meetings have proven to be successful, with a vast attendance, and he encourages people from all political standpoints to come out to the event and have their voice heard. He says "What I want to do is give constituents the opportunity to provide their thoughts, their feedback.  We've actually had some really good feedback brought forward, particularly when we were in government previously. These were ideas that people brought to these consultation meetings that I was able to take to the Finance Minister and actually get put into a budget. In the past, we've seen just about everyone from across the board and I think that's what's the great thing, that's what we're looking for; a broad representation of the community in every stage of life and profession. Although most people in our constituency are Conservative, I want to make it clear that I welcome people from all political viewpoints and it's good to have a variety of viewpoints."

 

He says in the past he's found it useful to break into smaller groups for a more in-depth discussion. Richard says "I find that then it allows everybody to participate a bit more. I think what often happens is people have to do the same type of calculations as I have to do as their Member of Parliament where you're trying to work to find a common solution that'll work for everybody."

Richards says that he is concerned about the deficit Canada is in, and he is looking for ideas to help the Liberals with the runaway deficit.

He says "The kind of deficits we see the Liberals running, I firmly believe that it's critical that we get the budget in order and we actually balance that and show some responsibility.  If I actually have some ideas that come from constituents on ways the government can save money without affecting core services, those are the kinds of things I'm looking for." 

Richards wants the Federal Government to keep Alberta's priorities on their agenda, and keep listening to Albertans.

The pre-budget consultation meeting in Cochrane is from 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm in the Poppy Room at the Cochrane Legion located at 114 5th Avenue.