Banff-Airdrie MP Blake Richards is inviting constituents to a Pre-Budget Consultation townhall scheduled for January 25, and this year in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic the consultation will be held virtually.
Richards' says that the annual meetings are vital in shaping how he approaches the upcoming federal budget, so he can hear from constituents first hand on what they would like to see included in the budget.
He says that the Liberal government hasn't actually committed to tabling a budget this year, which he finds incredibly frustrating. So instead, Richards will be using the town hall as an opportunity to talk about Canada's economic recovery once the pandemic is behind us.
"We're doing the format of a virtual meeting because of the fact that public gatherings are not something that we should be doing right now," says Richards. "We'll see how this works and maybe it's something we'll add to the repertoire going forward. The meeting will be a little broader in focus talking about our economic recovery and that's critical right now."
Richards says that Canada has gone almost two years without a budget from the Liberals, and he's is voicing his concerns about the "massive" amount of debt that Canada has accumulated during the course of the pandemic so far.
"When you talk about the economic future and you talk about the finances of the country and the spending that's happened and the massive deficits that have been created as a result, how to get the books back in order has to be a big part of that discussion and I have no doubt that constituents will have questions and opinions about that."
Despite low attendance in the past, Richards is anticipating a high turnout for the upcoming online session.
"So far, the number of people that have indicated they plan to attend looks pretty high and I would expect nothing less. It's a pretty critical time in our nation's history. We're in a spot where the finances of the country are in the worst shape that they've ever been in. We've got the largest deficit by miles over what we've ever seen in the past and there are a lot of people worried about their future, which is the most important aspect of all of this."
Constituents who would like to be a part of the town hall need to register today (January 22) at blakerichards.ca/townhall, and if you're unable to make the virtual consultation you can still share your thoughts with Richards HERE.
The virtual town hall is scheduled for 7 pm on Monday, January 25th.