Blake Richards has been an MP since 2008, first elected in Wild Rose and now re-elected in the new riding of Banff–Airdrie. He is the Official Opposition Critic for Tourism and Deputy Critic for Democratic Institutions, as well as the Vice-Chair of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.
Richards has served as the Chair of the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development as well as the Parliamentary Tourism Caucus and the Special Committee on Cooperatives. He has also been a member of the Standing Committees on Finance, International Trade, Public Safety, Agriculture and Transport, Infrastructure and Communities.
In 2014 and 2015 he was recognized by the Hill Times as the Best Constituency MP and the Hardest Working MP after a national survey.
In 2010, Richards started a national petition calling for changes to Canada’s system of pardons. He initiated the petition after finding out that convicted sex offender Graham James received a pardon in 2007. The petition eventually led to a new law on limited pardons for serious crimes.
In 2011 Richards introduced a Private Member’s Bill, C309, which made it an offence under the Criminal Code to wear a mask or otherwise conceal one’s identity during a riot or unlawful assembly. The bill received royal assent in 2013.
Before entering politics Richards had his own real estate business. He also worked in the oilfields and in agriculture. He has a degree from the University of Calgary in political science.
Richards has contributed to his community as a volunteer firefighter and as a minor hockey coach. Since 2009 Richards has hosted a charity hockey challenge to raise money for RCMP Victims Services Units in his riding. The challenge has raised more than $350,000.