Mr. Speaker, the other thing I would like to talk about in my riding in particular is this. Where I come from, we do basically three things, forestry, farming and fracking, the three Fs, as I like to call them. They are exciting things that happen in northern Alberta. It is a very diverse part of the province, with extremely fertile farmland, the boreal forest that covers the majority of the riding, and the oil sands, with conventional oil and coal mining, just on the edge of the riding as well. Bringing energy, food and shelter to the world is what we do, so the prevention of poverty starts out in northern Alberta and in my riding of Peace River—Westlock.
The opportunity to speak about my riding in particular, and riding names and what they symbolize, does not come up often, so I am very excited about this debate today.
One of the other things we have in Peace River—Westlock is the largest lake in Alberta. Slave Lake is located right dead centre in the middle of the riding. It is one of the lakes in the country where, in the past, commercial fishing has thrived. We hope one day it will be rejuvenated in Slave Lake, as a number of years back it nearly ran out of water. Over the last 10 years though, it has been raining so much that the lake is full of water again. It is so full in fact that many people are complaining about their beaches. As the water in the lake went down, of course their beaches got larger. They developed them and built fancy pergolas, gazebos and things like that out on the beach. As the water came back, those things ended up in the water, so there are some complaints about the fact the water level is so high. Nonetheless, it is the biggest lake in Alberta.
A lot of people do not realize this, but the centre of Alberta is not Red Deer but actually where I live, near a little community called Fort Assiniboine. The geographical centre of Alberta is in fact in the riding of Peace River—Westlock. I always tell the folks in my riding that they in fact live in central Alberta. No matter what the people from Red Deer say, we live in central Alberta. I can see the member for Battle River—Crowfoot shaking his head at me, but I can assure him that my riding is the true centre of Alberta, “the promised land”, as I like to call it.
I am not sure if members are aware of this, but there is one bill that comes up at the beginning of a parliament after the redistribution, where all of the naming opportunities for all of the ridings come into play and there is a negotiation that happens between all of the parties as to which names go forward and which do not. I remember the member for Winnipeg Centre put forward the name “the heart of Canada” for his riding, which, as the member of Parliament for the centre of Alberta, I could commensurate with that renaming opportunity for sure.
I think mine being “the promised land” and his being “the heart of Canada” were the two that were negotiated against each other and in the end neither went forward, which was too bad. The member for Winnipeg North may have been the one who negotiated to get rid of those names, because I think that would have been right next door to where he is at and perhaps he was concerned about all of the excitement there would be for this new riding called “the heart of Canada”. Nonetheless, I digress.
I am not sure if the actual geographical centre of Canada is Winnipeg, as I am not sure exactly where it is. I do know that the centre of Alberta is in Peace River—Westlock and the centre of the country is not Toronto. That is for sure.