Picture Butte, Alberta , Canada
|| December 30, 1948
Dec 30, 2006 11:59am
|Info||Politician, farmer, family man, community-minded citizen - a descriptive that characterizes Rick Casson, Member of Parliament for Lethbridge. |
Raised in Southern Alberta, Rick credits 20 years of municipal government involvement as his training ground for federal politics. First elected to office in 1977, he served as a Picture Butte town councillor until 1986, when he successfully ran for mayor, a position he held for the next nine years. During these years he co-founded the Southern Alberta Mayors and Reeves Association, plus held positions on the Oldman River Regional Planning Commission and the Southern Alberta Water Management Committee.
Rick's Ottawa tenure began in June of 1997 when he was elected Member of Parliament and in September of that year he first sat in the House of Commons as a Member of Parliament. Since arriving in Ottawa, Rick has held the titles of Senior Critic and Deputy Critic for portfolios such as Environment, International Trade, and Veterans Affairs. Most recently in the 38th Parliament, Rick held the position of Vice-Chair for the Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs.
Since joining the House of Commons, Rick has also used Private Members Bills (PMBs) to pursue meaningful legislative reform. In March, 1999, he introduced to the House of Commons Bill C-321, a PMB aimed at amending the Criminal Code by providing for the forfeiture of property related to child pornography crimes. In 2000, Rick tabled another PMB, C-325, calling for a tax exemption for volunteer emergency responders, such as volunteer firefighters. When C-325 was stopped by a very close vote in the House, Rick tabled another PMB calling for the same tax benefits for volunteer emergency responders in October of 2004. In December of 2004, Rick tabled another PMB, C-313, aimed at raising the age of sexual consent in Canada from 14 to 16 years of age and this Bill was unfortunately stopped by a vote in the House in October, 2005. However, much like the PMB recognizing the importance of volunteer emergency responders to Canadian communities, Rick remains determined in his work on the issue of age of consent and a new PMB is in the works for him to table in the 39th Parliament.
In agricultural related speeches delivered by Rick in the House of Commons he has called for:
-Greater accountability in the Canadian Wheat Board
-Increased government action to defend Canadian farmers and Canadian markets from heavily subsidized European agricultural products
-Increased rail car shipping capacity for agricultural producers in Southern Alberta
-Tax relief to off-set rising input costs, such as fuel costs, that agricultural producers must contend with
-Increased Government action in managing the fallout from the BSE crisis
As the Member of Parliament Mr. Casson represents the Lethbridge constituency, a riding that begins at the juncture of the Alberta, British Columbia and Montana borders. It extends from Waterton Lakes National Park, following a northeasterly route to Nobleford and Picture Butte, turning in a southeasterly direction to the Sweet Grass Hills, following the 49th parallel back to Waterton Lakes. The population of the Lethbridge constituency is close to 100,000, divided into three rural municipalities, numerous small urban centers, anchored by the City of Lethbridge with a population nearing 70,000.
A veteran journeyman Printing and Graphic Arts Craftsman, Rick says he still has printers ink running through his veins, understandably so following a 28-year career in the printing services division of the University of Lethbridge, the final 12 years as manager. While in that position he was named as president of the College and University Printing Management Association of Canada.
Always interested in community affairs, Rick has always maintained other interests in addition to politics. He trained and toiled as an active member of the Picture Butte Volunteer Fire Department for 17 years, plus contributed hours as a volunteer minor hockey and baseball coach.
Born in Calgary, Alberta on December 30, 1948, Rick was raised in Southern Alberta. Married in 1967, both he and his wife Jeanene graduated from Picture High School. He has two children, three granddaughters, and one grandson. When time permits grandfathering is a priority, along with enjoying personal interests of camping, fishing, and rodeos, gardening and muscle cars.