Local candidates expecting federal election call - race underway in Lethbridge riding
Rachel Harder, Conserative Party candidate in 2021
LETHBRIDGE, ALTA. -- Jobs, leadership and handling of the pandemic moving forward are expected to be among the issues in the Lethbridge riding as candidates prepare for the upcoming federal election campaign.
At this point, three parties have selected their candidates for the election that will be held Sept. 20.
It has been less than two years since the last federal election, which saw Rachael Harder, of the Conservative Party of Canada re-elected for a second term, by gathering over 65 per cent of the vote.
Harder, who believes in being prepared, said there were signs of an early election, and she has already been door knocking.
“Together with my team we’ve knocked on over 10,000 doors so far this summer,” said Harder.
She added one of the biggest topics at the door-step has been economic recovery.
“They’re telling me life is less affordable than ever,” said Harder.
“Some people are talking about jobs that have been lost, jobs that are being looked for, and wanting to know there is hope for them as a family or an individual.”
Harder was travelling back to the riding from Ottawa on Monday. She maintains this election will be about which leader is best equipped to elevate and empower Canadians, “I would say that Trudeau has actually hindered Canadians from being their best selves. Instead he has positioned himself in such a way that the government will do it for Canadians.”
Local Liberal candidate Devon Hargreaves said there were signs an election was coming. He said the COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges for the province and country, and the government is seeking a mandate to determine how to move the country forward over the next four years.
Hargreaves said Albertans have already seen what a Conservative government looks like in the form of Jason Kenney’s provincial government, “He’s a former (federal) cabinet minister," Hargreaves said. "Now we are seeing what that conservative mindset and mandate is doing to Alberta.”
Hargreaves said there are a lot of people are hurting from the cuts the UCP government made in Alberta.
“My fear is that if the Conservatives were to win an election, we would be looking at that on a national scale.”
Hargreaves maintains the federal Liberal government has been there for Canadians, by offering benefits to the agriculture industry, and starting to move toward $10 a day child care across the nation.
“Lethbridge deserves a seat at the table in Ottawa," he said.
The People’s Party of Canada will be represented by Lethbridge small business owner Kimmie Hovan, who said she wants to be a voice for everyday Canadians.
“This campaign is basically trying to let people see they have another voice within this country,” said Hovan, who decided to get involved in March of last year, as the pandemic was beginning.
“We’ve had three main parties so long, and we just cycle through them. In order to have change you have to break the cycle,” added Hovan.
The PPC is against further lockdowns and is opposed to the concept of vaccine passports.
Party founder and current leader Maxime Bernier has been strongly critical of public health measures taken to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and travelled to anti-lockdown protests throughout the country in 2021. In June Bernier was arrested and fined by the RCMP in Manitoba after attending a rally against restrictions.
Hovan said she expects handling of COVID-19 will be one of the issues during this campaign, but said more focus should be placed on issues such as improving the economy and building resources.
Hovan admits it will be a challenge to represent a party that gathered just over 1,000 votes in the Lethbridge riding in 2019, compared to almost 41,000 for Rachael Harder.
During the last federal election there were six candidates in the Lethbridge Riding. The NDP, Christian Heritage Party of Canada and Green Party of Canada have not yet announced candidates in Lethbridge.