It was a packed house at the Parkland Pavilion for the annual Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast, held Tuesday morning.
Guest speaker this year was Stockwell Day, who mentioned during his talk that his career in federal politics was launched at Westerner Park. But it stretches back further, when he was first elected as Red Deer North MLA in the mid-1980s.
In 2000, Day decided to run for leader of the newly formed Canadian Alliance party.
In December 2003, the Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservative Party merged to become the Conservative Party of Canada.
He acknowledged the hard economic times that the region has been through of late.
“I have a sense, knowing Central Alberta, that you are the folks who know what it is to go through the tough times, and you are the folks who know what it is to figure stuff out,” he said. “And you are the folks who are going to continue to carry things forward. You’re bigger and stronger than any one politician, then any one party. Your faith in each other and your faith in God – Central Alberta is coming back. It never really went away, but it’s coming back.”
According to Wikipedia, Day did not run for the leadership of the new party, but remained as foreign affairs critic. He was easily re-elected to Parliament in the 2004, 2006, and 2008 elections. In 2011, he announced that he would not be seeking re-election. Today, he runs a consulting business, serves on a number of corporate boards and is well-recognized as a speaker among other ventures.
During his talk at the breakfast, Day also spoke about some of his political experiences and encouraged local politicians in their mandates of serving their individual constituencies.
“The most important things I learned in political life were actually right here in Central Alberta – those are the lessons that you taught me and that I carried through and tried to be faithful to,” he said, adding that one such lesson was to keep connecting with constituents throughout his mandate, not just in the months heading up to an election.
“You have to keep going back to where you should be – it’s the people who have idea and are going through this stuff – that’s who you hear from.”
He also spoke of Canada’s rich spiritual heritage, and how important community prayer meetings really are.
“Val (Stockwell’s wife) and I have attended many civic prayer meetings,” he said, noting there have been Jewish and Muslim meetings as well as Christian prayer meetings. “They are wonderful, they are necessary, and they underline the important fact that people have spiritual beliefs that they hold dearly to. I’m thankful for that.”
Along with Day’s talk, several community representatives prayed for various sectors of the local community including the education, health care and judicial systems, the business community, social issues, local churches and specifically for Red Deer County Mayor Jim Wood and Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer.