Grande Prairie-Mackenzie MP Chris Warkentin reflected on 2021 and gave his thoughts going into 2022.
“In many ways, 2021 was a year where we learned to live normal lives in spite of the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic presented. Unfortunately, we’re not out of the woods yet. I do believe there are things we can do as individuals to make sure we are not living in fear and able to care for one another,” he says.
Warkentin is currently in his 5th term as MP of the area. He says he is grateful for the support of the Peace Country region.
“It’s good to have the confidence of Peace Country residents and it’s great to serve. I count it as a privilege to represent the constituency. Even though the outcome of the election is not what we wanted for our party,” he explains. “I believe there is a lot of hard work that still needs to be done to draw attention to the issues that matter to Peace Country residents.”
A big topic for Warkentin was Peace Country residents having trouble making ends meet due to rising costs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I believe our federal government is completely insulated from the concerns of average Canadians. I’ll continue advocating on behalf of hard-working Canadians that need a voice in Ottawa,” he says.
The minimum wage in Alberta is currently 15 dollars an hour and from speaking to people like Jared Gossen of Wapiti House and The Saint Lawrence Centre, the pandemic is forcing more and more people into homelessness.
Warkentin says that while the Peace Country economy had its ups and downs in 2021, he feels good about it going into the new year.
“The higher commodity prices led to better returns for our farmers. I’m hopeful that those commodity prices will continue to hold and we are hopeful that this upcoming year will be better for crops in the region,” he explains. “If we see a combination of a rebuilding of the energy sector and a good year for farmers, it could be a significant year for the Grande Prairie area in terms of growth.”