Martin Shields talks end of year for 2022

 By John Watson

 Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

With 2022 coming to a close, Bow River Riding MP Martin Shields spoke to recap the past year as he continued to serve in his office.

Bow River Riding MP Martin Shields

“When we talk about local, we were able to get out to many events and visit with people. It is a large riding, and so that is one of the challenges, getting out and meeting people,” he said.

“There are 60 communities of varying sizes, so you try to get out to meet with people  those are the kinds of things that are important.”

In November 2021, Shields was named Deputy Shadow Minister for Indigenous Services. The majority of his time filling the station so far, he explained, has been spent this year actively looking to make a difference.

“When I was working with Indigenous (peoples)  we looked at some really interesting pieces of legislation, some studies, and we were able to listen to really good witnesses talking about barriers and challenges for economic development for First Nations,” he said. “It was incredible what we see as innovation and strength in the Indigenous leadership, building economy with their nations, wanting to move forward, wanting to develop resources with their people and their land. We’ve got a lot of barriers in their way, and this was listening to the things that create problems for them in advancing their economics.”

In the house, Shields added he is a prolific advocate for irrigation, which he said the carbon tax implementation has had a significant impact on.

He suggested there need to be more exemptions and rebates for farmers in order to mitigate, if not relieve the impact from the tax on the sector.

“The cost to agriculture producers from the carbon tax is huge we need food security, and the carbon tax extending into the agriculture sector is really prohibitive,” he said.

“When we talk about irrigation specifically, it is a brutal charge that farmers are faced with, and we’re talking tens of thousands of dollars per farmer to deal with that carbon tax on electricity that is used for irrigation.”

Going into the new year, Shields said he and his office welcome continued feedback and concerns regarding the actions of the federal government.

He explained many concerns he has been receiving lately include areas such as firearm control laws, continued concerns regarding irrigation and agriculture, energy, and discussions regarding medically assisted death.

Shields added he is positioning himself as a champion for weekly newspapers and small-scale information outlets.

“The fight for weekly newspapers in this riding has been an issue for me for years  in this riding, there are so many weekly papers; people work hard to keep those community papers going,” he said. “They cover the things in their communities that legacy media and larger organizations pay no attention to. The federal government just doesn’t get it. We have great community papers doing a great service to our community.”

 John Watson is a  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter with the STRATHMORE TIMES. The LJI program is federally funded.


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