Election machine taking shape

Red Deer Conservative MP incumbent Earl Dreeshen said some constituents have been expressing disappointment over what they’re calling an unnecessary election set for May 2.

The election was triggered in late March when the opposition parties voted in favour of a Liberal non-confidence motion focusing on a committee report that the Conservatives had acted in contempt of Parliament.

Dreeshen said he was disappointed in the turn of events, but now hopes his party can earn a majority standing in the House of Commons.

“We’re into it now, so we’re going to do the best we can. And hopefully we’ll come back with a majority government and then be judged on the things that we can do without having to play these political games,” he said.

In the Red Deer riding, Stuart Somerville is representing the NDP party. Candidates for the Liberal and Green parties weren’t confirmed as of press time.

On Tuesday, NDP leader Jack Layton proposed new support for families caring for aging parents. He also announced an Inter-generational Forgivable Loan Program to help families renovate their homes so that an aging relative can move in.

The New Democrat plan includes a new Caregiver Benefit, aimed at helping low-and middle-income families caring for aging relatives, he said.

“Canada’s senior population is set to double within 15 years, and the burden born by today’s families will increase along with that. This is a challenge we need to face today in Canada.”

Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff released his party’s platform this past weekend, promising to invest in childcare for every young family that needs it.

“We will help every family with the costs of college or university, so your kids can be ready for the jobs of tomorrow. We will help families take time off from work to look after sick loved ones at home,” he said.

“We’ll strengthen universally accessible health care for all, and build on the Canada Pension Plan so everyone can retire in security and dignity. We’ll also have a new tax credit to help with the up-front costs of renovations to make your home more energy-efficient.”

Meanwhile, Dreeshen is holding out hope his party can make gains in the election in spite of it being the third one in five years.

“I think people forget the fact that we’ve had a number of by-elections and we have won in areas people never thought we would be able to. When you start to put all of those things in perspective, it is an opportunity for us.”