While Martin Shields was growing up, politics and current events were regular conversations within his household.
Shields and his family would go to the legislature and to Ottawa to watch politicians make decisions, and eventually, he went on to obtain a Political Science degree.
“It was just a part of my life,” Shields said.
Shields went on to work in education and would often volunteer for provincial MLAs and federal MPs in their constituencies.
Throughout Shields’s term, his goal was to represent the constituents of the Bow River riding, while communicating with residents about topics and issues that are important to them and working with residents to find solutions that will benefit them.
If re-elected, Bow River residents can expect the continuation of health care transfer payments from the federal government to the province, along with a $1.5-billion program to buy new or replace MRI or CT scan equipment in health facilities.
“This would free up money from the province to do other things with health other than to replace this critical scanning equipment,” Shields said.
While pharmacare and private plans would not be interfered with under conservative governance.
“A tremendous number of Canadians have pharmacare through their employment, and you do not want to interrupt and disrupt that,” Shields said.
However, medical drugs will continue to be researched, developed, and approved in the United States, with additional research and reviews being done in Canada before provinces can choose which medications will be on the formulary.
“We will work with premiers across the country so that we make sure we have drugs that are approved in a very efficient manner and that those are available throughout the country,” Shields said.
Along with ensuring Canadians have the appropriate medications and health care, seniors are encouraged to stay at home for as long as possible.
University students are also encouraged to get involved with summer student employment opportunities.
“The summer student’s situation is a critical point where students can earn money, the possibility for that paying for a year of university is often not enough,” Shields said.
“That’s where both the Alberta and the federal government work at programs to subsidize students in a sense to complete their education.”
Shields believes that businesses do a great job offering opportunities for summer jobs. However, they need to be promoted.
“It provides students some incentive to earn money, but we can’t make the expenses on the other side so catastrophic that you won’t go because of it. Or the result is that you’re so embedded when you get out that there are no opportunities,” Shields said.
He added, the possibility of a loan program and interest rates will be discussed.
A series of studies and involvement from the RCMP, the provincial government, and from Shields has occurred as a way to overcome rural crime within Bow River.
“We did a report, we’ve taken it to government, and we’ve had hearings of committees,” Shields said.
“There was a lot of coordination between rural MLAs and federal rural MPs on this issue. There are a lot of issues with it, staffing resources for RCMP, the number of judges and prosecutors, it’s also the issue of property crimes and property rights,” Shields said.
With the courts being so full, property crimes often get left out of the court system because of time constraints.
“It comes down to people are fearful of living on their property, and this is not right,” Shields said.
“We need to work on resolving this issue, and what’s causing it,” he said.
With Shields representing Bow River, the agriculture industry will not be blamed for climate change.
“We have incredible industries in the resource sector, agriculture who often get labeled for what I believe wrongly,” Shields said.
“Sometimes we have in our society people who are labeling agriculture as a problem with our climate. I disagree, and I believe that the agriculture sector is conservationist’s and stewards of the land, they are not destroying our environment,” he said.
He added, the conservative government is in support of building pipelines.
“Pipelines are a significant safe way to move a very world needed product. We are lucky to have those resources in our country,” Shields said.
“If we don’t produce it and sell it from Canada, they are going to get it from countries that produce it not nearly as environmentally or ethically as we do. We believe that Canada should be building pipelines, and we need to get them done,” he said.
In the past four years, Shields has had the opportunity to build connections with residents from the 60 communities within Bow River.
“Whether it’s the Linden sports day, to the corn fest in Taber, to the demolition derby in Vulcan, to the Brooks rodeo, it’s great people and great industries,” Shields said.
He added, “I would like to continue to represent it if I had the honour of being elected once again.”