Tuesday, 20 February 2018 00:19

Liberal candidate wants to be a moderate alternative in Swift Current by-election

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Aidan Roy, the candidate for the Saskatchewan Liberal Party in the upcoming March 1 by-election in Swift Current, believes it is time to bring back the voice of moderate voters in provincial politics.


“I’m running in this election because for far too long our province has been polarized by the SaskParty and the NDP,” he said. “In the last general election people were given the choice to vote for a far right party or far left party with no attention given to the moderate party in the middle, but now, with the Saskatchewan Liberals being revived, the people of Swift Current have a viable option to vote for a fiscally responsible party that isn’t the SaskParty.”
He acknowledged that the name of the Saskatchewan Liberal Party can be a challenge when he speaks to people, who associate the provincial party with the federal Liberal Party. He emphasized that there is no connection between the two parties and an important difference is that the Saskatchewan Liberal Party is fiscally conservative and socially liberal.
“When we go to the doors knocking, everybody always uses the classic tone ‘Oh, you’re a Trudeau supporter’ but what people don’t seem to understand is that back in I think 2007 the Saskatchewan Liberal Party completely cut off all ties to the federal Liberal Party of Canada and because of that any member of the party is allowed to join whatever federal party they wish,” he said. “I myself am a federal conservative and this just goes to show that our party is changing and our party is matching the beliefs of Saskatchewan, but our issue right now is not getting our voice out there to show that we are different.”
The Saskatchewan Party was formed by a group of Progressive Conservative and Liberal MLAs, but Roy believes that the Saskatchewan Party is changing and the Saskatchewan Liberal Party is becoming a more attractive alternative.
“With Scott Moe just recently being elected as the premier of Saskatchewan, for me it looks like he took a further step to the right with his policies and because of that I think a lot of people are going to feel neglected almost in our province and they’re going to be looking for a new party to vote for,” he said. “I don’t think everybody here in Saskatchewan is a socialist or believes in everything that the NDP says either, and because there’s now a move towards the centre from both ends, both the NDP supporters and the SaskParty supporters are coming into the middle now because they feel like their voice isn’t being heard, and because of that our party is now being renewed.”
Roy was born and raised in Weyburn. He is currently a pre-service teacher at the University of Regina, where he is in the third year of a Bachelor in Secondary Education program with a major in social studies. He serves as the youth chair on the Saskatchewan Liberal Party's executive and he is also the party president on the University of Regina campus.
Since the announcement of the by-election date in Swift Current he has created a social media strategy for his campaign and he started door knocking in the city on Feb. 10. He has also released a detailed campaign platform with policy proposals on a variety of issues, including economic development, the environment and education.
“We need to restore a lot of funding for our education system and we need to improve areas of the education system that have been lacking for quite some time, including a renewal of our social studies curriculums,” he said. “If your children are attending high school, they’re receiving information that is over 20 years old. This information should not be taught because it’s just so outdated. Some documents are even 50 years old. ... That is not right. That is not how we educate society. So we need to understand the problems in our education system and work towards improving them and fixing them.”
One of the key focus areas of his campaign will be to talk about his position on the federal carbon tax. He does not support a carbon tax, but he believes that legally it will not be possible for Saskatchewan to avoid the federal implementation of a carbon tax on provinces.
“So it’s one issue that we have to address now with the understanding that we are not going to be winning this carbon tax battle, but what we can do is offset the carbon tax by making life more affordable,” he said. “”The thing that I would like to see happen is cutting provincial income tax in half by using half the revenue that we receive from the carbon tax.”
Saskatchewan is projected to receive $2.5 billion in revenue from the carbon tax, and he is suggesting that $1.25 billion should be used to reduce income tax, which would save the average worker $2,335 per year. The remaining money from the carbon tax can be used to pay off provincial debt, to lower small business taxes and to invest in education.
His platform on the environment includes a proposal that the government should develop more detailed procedures to deal with pipeline breaks and there should be updated guidelines for pipeline inspections. He is proposing an income tax rebate for homeowners to cover up to 25 per cent of the cost of solar or wind energy installations.
“So by giving tax break in the areas of green energy, I believe we can begin our process of moving to clean energy in a sustainable manner,” he said.
He is in favour of putting limits on contributions that can be made by corporations and unions to political parties. He is suggesting a limit of $3,000 per year.
“I currently do not accept any union or corporate donations, and nor does the whole Saskatchewan Liberal Party,” he said. “We stand firmly with the belief that any revenue that we generate should come from the grassroots people and not from a larger organization. The people of Saskatchewan come first, not the interests of corporations or unions.”
He will host monthly town hall meetings if he becomes the next MLA of Swift Current. He believes it is important to keep residents up to date about events in the provincial legislature.
“What I liked to do is host monthly town hall meetings to not only make sure that everybody is up to date with what’s happening in the legislative assembly, but to also get feedback from our community members and understand what they would like me to fight for and to make sure that I’m being accountable to the citizens of Swift Current,” he said.
The by-election in Swift Current is contested by four parties. The Swift Current & District Chamber of Commerce is hosting an all-candidates forum to give residents an opportunity to hear from the candidates.
The forum will take place at the Living Sky Casino event centre on Feb. 26. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the forum starts at 7 p.m.

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Matthew Liebenberg

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