Banff -Airdrie, Member of Parliament Blake Richards held a successful round table discussion in Cochrane on August 3.

MP Richards says 25-30 people from all over the riding came to voice their opinions about defense policy and our ability to protect our allies at the Cochrane Legion.

"I thought it was really great, an opportunity for those that serve in our armed forces and others that have an interest as well, to share their expertise and give us some ideas and suggestions on what a good defense policy going forward should look like."

Richards adds that it was a great opportunity to thank those that served.

"These opportunities are crucial and vital and gives me the opportunity to draw on the expertise of those that have served in our military who do work in this field, I can make sure their views are being heard and that is what it's all about."

Richards comments many attendees shared his same sentiment that we need to provide the right equipment and resources for those that serve us.

"I think it was pretty clear in that room that people felt sovereignty is a vital role of our armed forces and protecting Canadians from attack; and then of course maintaining a combat able and ready force that will adequately support our allies whether it be NATO, or NORAD, or UN Missions."

MP Richards says a lot of suggestions came forth and he will be giving those a voice in Ottawa.

"It's taking the input from the constituents and making sure that's a strong voice. I don't pretend to be a defense policy expert. I don't pretend to know what the equipment is, but what better way to ask then the people who have served, used the equipment, and done the job."

The suggestions and input brought forth are very important, says Richards, but more than that it needs to be heard.

"We will certainly be taking this and making sure it receives a strong voice toward the discussions that are happening around this and make sure it is heard loud and clear as to what people here feel is important to our military and defense."

Richards will be hosting other round table discussions where you can voice your thoughts, opinions, and suggestions on tourism and economy in the near future.