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Thursday, 08 February 2018 09:46

With office now open, Hindley eager to start campaigning in Swift Current by-election

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Everett Hindley, the Saskatchewan Party's candidate in the upcoming by-election in Swift Current, was eager to get his campaign going after the official announcement of the date when voters will be going to the polls in the city.


Premier Scott Moe announced the date of three by-elections on Feb. 2, shortly after being sworn in as Saskatchewan's 15th premier. The by-elections in Swift Current, Kindersley and Melfort will take place on the same day, March 1.
Hindley's campaign office opened on the day of the announcement and he spoke to local media that afternoon.
“We’ve obviously been doing some preparation since that nomination meeting on the 11th of December,” he said. “We’ve got a volunteer team that’s anxious and ready to go. We’ll start with campaigning this afternoon. We’ve got an office operational here for the duration of the campaign. We’re putting up lawn signs around the city and I’ll begin door knocking, going door to door to folks to see them at their places of residence and their place of business and to talk to them about the issues and concerns here, and talk about some of the exciting things that are on the horizon for Swift Current and also what some of the challenges and priorities are for the people in this community.”
Local Saskatchewan Party members picked Hindley as their candidate at a contested nomination meeting. The nomination race gave him an opportunity to already hear from residents about issues, even though he was then only speaking to party supporters.
“There’s some cautious optimism here in terms of the economy here with the oil and gas sector,” he said. “I’ve had a chance to talk to some of those folks and they’re excited for things on the horizon. In terms of the issues of concern here, I think both myself and the other candidate that were involved in the nomination heard from the education side of things. We talked to teachers who are members of the Saskatchewan Party and just interested in politics in general, who expressed some concerns about the education system going forward. In addition to that I think there were a few concerns on the doorstep about some of the decisions made in the recent budget, whether it was with regards to the expansion of the PST or perhaps some reductions in some other areas.”
He is looking forward to speak to residents during the by-election campaign to hear more about the issues that are important to them.
“If I get the chance and if I’m fortunate enough to have the opportunity to be the elected representative here for the folks of Swift Current, I would take those concerns forward on their behalf,” he said. “I think there’s no better method to do that than by getting out during a by-election campaign, and we’re always looking forward to seeing what folks have to say.”
Premier Moe made a commitment to keep to the government's goal to balance the provincial budget within a three-year budget period, which started last year with a budget that included various cuts. Hindley believes the Saskatchewan Party government will be up to the challenge under the new leadership of Premier Moe.
“I think when the last budget was passed there was an understanding from taxpayers across the province that there was a downturn in the economy and things weren’t moving as perhaps as positively as they were before,” Hindley said. “There was an acceptance to a certain degree that we have to make some changes going forward, and everybody is willing to do their part, but that being said, folks too realized that we can’t afford to take steps that might impact the economy or impact things like social services or education or health care. So without speaking on behalf of the new premier and his cabinet, I would say that I think they’re going to do everything in their power to try to ensure that they deliver the best services possible to the people of Saskatchewan and of course here in Swift Current.”
In a media release on Feb. 2 to announce the start of his by-election campaign, Hindley emphasized the Saskatchewan Party will continue to oppose the federal government's carbon tax. During the media interview he explained that it is an issue of great importance to the party.
“It would have a pretty major impact on the provincial economy and we’re going to continue that fight against the federal carbon tax,” he said. “We think there is a better way to do things than that. ... Former Premier Wall announced a year or so ago a plan to move towards 50 per cent renewables in Saskatchewan by 2030, focusing more on wind and solar. We’re going to be expanding on that. So there are other ways to do things. We just don’t think a carbon tax is necessarily the most effective way to do that.”
He noted that the issue of climate change has to be taken seriously, and he referred to SaskPower's carbon capture and storage project at Boundary Dam as well as the use of cleaner energy sources such as the gas-fired power plant that is currently under construction northeast of Swift Current.
“So it’s something that I think we all take seriously and realize that there have to be steps taken to do what we can, again without doing anything that would negatively impact the economy,” he said. “We have a pretty robust coal sector down in southeast Saskatchewan, a lot of jobs associated with that.”
Hindley grew up in the Melfort area, but he has been a Swift Current resident since 1996. He was a morning news announcer and news director for the local radio stations. He started to work as the constituency assistant at the Swift Current MLA office in 1999 and during the past 10 years he worked as former Premier Brad Wall's executive assistant.
According to Hindley it is quite a change from working behind the scenes for the previous MLA of Swift Current to now running a campaign to become the city's next elected representative in the provincial legislature.
“It’s a little surreal at times, but I think back to the things that I did working for the previous MLA here and the previous premier and the experience I managed to pick up during that time and also being part of some other campaigns around the province too, and see if I can lend that experience to my own campaign here,” he said. “So it’s interesting. It’s like starting afresh again in a way.”

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Matthew Liebenberg

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