October 7th, 2015 ~ Vol. 85 No. 39
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Election 2015: Know your Foothills candidates
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
EZRA BLACK
Pass Herald Reporter
On Oct. 19, Canadians will be voting in a federal election and candidates in the Foothills riding, formerly Macleod, are on the campaign trail.

Six candidates are competing for this new riding, which was created after an electoral boundaries redistribution and stretches from the TransCanada Highway and Springbank in the north, to Waterton National Park and the U.S. border in the south.

Green: Romy Tittel

A candidate with a varied resume, the small business owner, artist, journeywoman electrician, electrical designer, landscaper and volunteer thinks Alberta’s political landscape is changing.

“In this riding it’s been ridiculously predictable,” said Tittel. “That’s the first thing everybody said to me when I started is, ‘the conservatives are going to win, why are you even bothering?’ but I think things are shifting and I’m very excited to be a part of that shift.”

The Greens want clear climate goals set at the federal level and Tittel said the Pass should move away from its traditional dependence on the coal industry.

“It’s not going to happen in the short term,” she said. “But all of us need to know what the future direction is and we need a federal plan to do that.”

Tittel applauded the provincial NDP’s move to protect the Castle Wilderness Area with provincial parks because it would help to turn the Pass into a touristic destination.

“It’ll provide much more long-term reliable jobs for the people of the Pass,” she said.

Conservative: John Barlow

A reporter by trade, Barlow was the editor of the Okotoks Western Wheel before he was elected as a Member of Parliament to represent what was the federal riding of Macleod in a by-election resulting from the retirement of former MP Ted Menzies in June 2014.

He’s earned numerous awards including the Telus Editorial Excellence Award and the Gordon Scott Memorial Award presented to Alberta’s top columnist and he’s hoping to earn a new term in office by focusing on infrastructure for municipalities.

“Most of the communities in my riding are small rural towns,” he said. “It’s difficult for them to supply services like wastewater treatment plants and water pipelines. They need federal help.”

He is also promoting high-speed internet connection as a means to boost business in rural communities.

“We’re asking our rural communities to market themselves on the global economy and it’s difficult for them to do that without high speed internet,” he said.

Barlow supports enhanced protection of the Castle Wilderness Area but says the process is moving too quickly and without proper input from municipalities.
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Libertarian: Cory Morgan

Morgan is a founding member of the Wildrose Party and has served in the provincial executive positions of VP Policy and Southern zone director since that party’s inception.

He’s a small business owner who works fulltime but he’s also a prominent blogger with a focus on the pursuit and protection of individual rights (particularly property rights) and advocated for tougher penalties to the RCMP after the 2013 gun seizure incidents in High River.

He espouses conservative, small government values but doesn’t feel the Harper government behaves that way and economic diversification.

“People are concerned with the economy,” he said. “We need economic diversification to get us off the rollercoaster of the energy industry.”

Christian Heritage: Marc Slingerland

The Christian Heritage candidate is a high school teacher and principal at an independent school west of Lethbridge who holds graduate degrees in Chemistry and in Educational Leadership from the University of Lethbridge and is unabashedly anti-abortion.

“The most distinctive thing about us is that we are Canada’s only pro-life federal party,” said Slingerland. “We affirm the scientific evidence that human life begins at conception and should be protected from that moment.”

He’s also advocating for more funding for the military.

“At the end of World War Two Canada had the third largest navy in the world and now our navy has less capacity than that of Bangladesh, which is a country that we give foreign aid to,” he said.

He also wants small government and interest free Bank of Canada loans to municipalities for infrastructure funding.

“The federal government should do its limited task well and for the rest, stay out,” he said.

Slingerland has run two previous silent campaigns but the party has yet to win a riding in its 27-year existence. With only 29 representatives across the country, the party cannot form a government but Slingerland said they can still affect change.

“We recognize we won’t be forming a government, that said, a single MP can have an impact,” he said.

Liberal: Tanya MacPherson

Chemist, researcher, businesswoman and mother, Tanya MacPherson said this election feels special and that real change might be coming when Canadians vote on October 19.

“I don’t have a political background,” she said. “[But] I don’t think people will automatically vote conservative. It’s definitely an interesting year.”

MacPherson said she’s concerned with the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal that Canada has just signed on to.

MacPherson has fifteen years experience in agricultural research and said local ranchers and dairy farmers should be concerned.
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She supports a taxation policy that grows the middle class but she also supports limiting Canada’s carbon footprint by investing in renewable energy. She noted that the Pass has a tremendous amount of wind and that there is potential for that type of industry here.

“There are more lucrative ways to pursue energy at this point,” she said. “We’ve got an old fashioned government that wants to do it the old way.”

She threw a few shots at Prime Minister Stephen Harper, calling him “authoritarian,” and said the Liberals would facilitators to a grass roots decision making process coming from the people.

NDP: Alison Thompson

Alison Thompson wants you to know that she’s not your typical NDP candidate: she’s a former member the oil and gas industry who worked at Shell Canada’s Waterton Gas Plant and insists that Albertans diversify their economy.

“I’ve been very vocal about how we’re treating ourselves as an economy,” she said. “We’re actually treating ourselves more like a third world or developing nation where we promote resource extraction for very low cost, low taxes and low royalties and for that small amount of revenue, the land is impacted, the forest is cut down and the watershed is impacted.”

“This is third world style of treatment and the fact that we don’t have any value added and no diversification is the fault of the federal and provincial governments,” she added.

She’s worked for the coal industry, the tar sands, serves as Chair of Canadian Geothermal Energy Association and called the Crowsnest Pass and Pincher Creek, “my old stomping grounds from about two decades ago.”

“It was a different place back then,” she said. “The gas plant was driving growth, the windmills weren’t there.”

Though Alberta has the most engineers per capita in the world, Thompson said the rest of the world is surpassing the province in innovation and moving toward renewable natural resources.

She also said investments in renewable energy produces more jobs than investments in the oil and gas industry and advocated for more value added uses of coal and timber.

Of the four different ridings that make up the new Foothills riding, only one went NDP in the last election but Thompson said the provincial NDP’s recent historic win means that this election is special.

“This is a real opportunity to think about what change really means,” she said.
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October 7th ~ Vol. 85 No. 39
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