New Democratic Party members in Cypress Hills-Grasslands nominated an experienced campaigner to be the party’s candidate in the upcoming federal election.
Trevor Peterson, who also represented the party in the 2011 and 2015 elections, was nominated unopposed at a nomination meeting in Swift Current, Sept. 11.
He thanked party members for the nomination and said it is a privilege to be their candidate. He spoke to media after the nomination meeting about why he decided to run again.
“I've been working for the organization here in Cypress Hills-Grasslands, and like I said in my nomination speech, there's a lot of good people in this organization,” he mentioned. “I decided that it was well worth it, just because of the people that I'm working with in the organization. … To me, it has a lot to do with friendship, but it also has to do with what the NDP stands for, and that's investing in people.”
He grew up on the family farm near Central Butte and lives with his wife and two children in Assiniboia, where he teaches at the local high school.
The importance of listening to people was a key lesson for Peterson during the previous two federal campaigns.
“I think creating relationships with people, letting people know that you’re listening, that you care about every part of the constituency,” he said.
He feels a key strength of the NDP in the 2019 election campaign will be the party’s policy platform.
“The NDP has policies that are investing in people,” he said. “The national pharmacare program, investing in child care, head-to-toe expanding medicare, and paying for it by making the wealthy pay their fair share.”
He anticipates the energy sector and climate change will be two important issues during the campaign. He believes it is possible to tackle climate change and to transition to a green economy without leaving people behind.
“The key is policies have to be put in place to make sure that the transition that is going to take place in the energy sector does not hurt the energy sector or affect southwest Saskatchewan,” he said. “So we need a voice in Ottawa that is going to stand up for Cypress Hills-Grasslands. … I definitely think with the climate change issue we need to make sure that there’s a climate change policy in Ottawa that is not going to hurt one part of the economy or one part of the country or different sectors of the economy.”
He thinks there needs to be a focus on agricultural issues in Cypress Hills-Grasslands. The NDP is concerned over proposed changes to the seed royalty system and revisions to the Canada Grain Act, including the mandate of the Canadian Grain Commission.
Above all, he noted the NDP is concerned about ensuring that life is more affordable for ordinary Canadians who are working for a living.
“We want to focus on listening to people and making sure we get our message across about what the NDP policies are and how we invest in people,” he said. “I think also people are getting tired of the scandals. The Conservatives are now pointing fingers at the Liberals about the scandals that we’ve seen in Ottawa over the last four years, but that’s like the kettle calling the pot black. We’ve seen nothing but scandals under Harper and it seems to be continuing under the Liberal government, and everyday people, people that are trying to make a living, are finding it harder and harder to get by.”
Peterson brings a lot of campaign experience to this election. He was not only the NPD’s candidate in the two previous federal elections in this riding, but he was also a campaign manager in two provincial elections.
He felt the large size of the Cypress Hills-Grasslands federal riding will present a big challenge to all candidates during this election, because they only have 40 days to campaign before voters cast their ballots on Oct. 21.
He is looking forward to a good campaign with an effective team that was strengthened during the previous two federal campaigns.
“I think what’s encouraging is the groundwork that we’ve done over the last eight years that I've been involved,” he said. “We've built a tremendous network of progressive people in southwest Saskatchewan that are willing to volunteer and support the NDP to run an effective campaign.”