Maverick Party hopes to move Alberta elections forward


Jay Hill’s Maverick Party is a political outcrop of a Western self-reliance and independence movement that had just started to gain traction in the months leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Adrian Wyld / The Canadian Press

The Nonconformist Party has no interest in forming a government, or even in becoming the official opposition. Elections Canada only granted it registered party status last week.

And although his name seems to be a clear link with the general public Top Gun Following this, Interim Leader Jay Hill acknowledges that when candidates go door-to-door, most of those who answer have never heard of it. “The biggest obstacle for us – and I’m being completely honest here – is exposure,” he said.

But despite everything, Mr Hill optimistically believes his young party – a political outcrop of a Western self-reliance and independence movement that had just started to gain traction in the months leading up to the pandemic – has a chance. to participate in Canada’s 44th election. With 28 candidates in total (as of Friday) in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, he believes they will win several seats in the federal ballot in a month. “We think we are tapping into Western alienation and frustration.”

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The Maverick Party is part of a larger burst of Conservative support in the West. It was created with the belief that the national parties that must win votes in central Canada will never, once in government, do more than hype about economic and political issues important to the people of many parts of the country. the West, especially those related to the oil and gas industry. This includes not only the traditional targets of the federal Liberals and the NDP, but also the Conservatives – led by Erin O’Toole or whoever.

Continuing to vote for the Conservative Party is “madness,” said Mr. Hill, a former Reform and Conservative MP who once served as whip and government House leader for the Stephen Harper Conservatives.

“The Conservatives will sell the west if they believe it will win votes in eastern Manitoba.

Still, members of the Maverick Party have a number of specific issues with Mr. O’Toole, including what they say is his. flatter Quebec and what Hill calls a “wacky carbon tax plan.”

But the first step, said Mr. Hill, is to learn from Quebec, which elected Bloc Québécois MPs representing only the interests of the province for decades.

“Federal governments are elected in central Canada by people who do not think like us. And until the Maverick Party, there was not a single federal party defending the west because there was no reason for them to do so, ”he said at the convention. virtual party at the start of the month.

“There is an important common sense vote in central Canada,” added Mr. Hill. “But in eastern Manitoba, there are just too many people who think better of themselves if they can think less of their fellow Canadians,” he said, adding that Westerners are often described as “rednecks, cowboys, platform pigs – all rubes who drive vans.”

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Calgary pollster Janet Brown said it will be a tough climb for the Maverick Party to win seats.

“It’s a relatively unknown political movement at the moment. It’s a short election campaign, ”said Ms. Brown. The party might be able to get a decent vote in some constituencies, she said, “but it’s really overkill at this point to think it would be able to win one of those constituencies.” .

The Maverick Party got its start as a cantankerous Wexit party (and has no formal affiliation with the provincial Wexit parties), but has evolved into something akin to a more traditional political entity with the experienced Mr. Hill. at the bar.

Mr. Hill, who occupied the riding of Prince George-Peace River in British Columbia from 1993 to 2010, says he intends to act as a mentor rather than a longtime leader for the Maverick Party. He said he remembered the lessons learned from the early days of reform – when party members spent thousands of hours writing and debating divisive policies that never came close to being implemented. He also said it was a mistake when the Reform Party – with a slogan of “the West wants to come in” – decided to field candidates across the country.

The policies of the Maverick party are reformist, with a twist of 2021. Independence should be an option, but not necessarily the end goal. Mr Hill said the party wanted to attract voters from all sides of the “independent spectrum”.

The focus is on reforming equalization, opposing carbon taxes and federal energy policies, and securing greater autonomy for the western provinces in areas such as taxation, pensions, health care, child care and gun laws. There is also pressure to build pipelines and fund the CBC. Mr. Hill said the party is against compulsory vaccination for any group. “Canadians should have the freedom to decide what to put in their bodies. “

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There is also an attempt to avoid heated debate and criticism on social issues. The party’s political platform specifically states that for now, “on issues such as abortion, physician-assisted suicide and same-sex marriage, the Maverick Party and its MPs pledge not to introduce any party or private member’s initiative on those public policies that reflect Canadians. “The most deeply rooted personal values. “

Hill said the party had six female candidates on Friday. The increasingly interesting run in Banff-Airdrie – where former Ontario MP Derek Sloan will run as an Independent, having recently found a place to live in Alberta – also features maverick candidate Tariq Elnaga , an immigrant from the United Arab Emirates who fell in love with Western Canada ten years ago and is now vice-president of the Cochrane Roping Club.

The biggest concern Mr. Hill hears from potential voters is that his candidates could split the vote between Conservative voters and give the NDP and Liberals a victory. But he said that would not happen because he only presents candidates in rural areas, small towns and suburbs of Calgary where the Conservatives won by a massive majority.

“The only division of votes that will take place will be between us and a curator. “

But in Calgary, Ms Brown said voters who would consider supporting the Maverick Party might be put off if the Tories look like they have a chance to form the next government on September 20 – because none of those potential supporters want “Inadvertently helping Trudeau,” she said.

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