More than 400 turn out for provincial candidates’ forum

the candidates - The Claresholm, Nanton, and High River and District Chambers of Commerce hosted a forum at the Nanton Community Centre on April 3 for the candidates vying for the seat in the Livingstone-Macleod riding in the upcoming provincial election. From left are Cam Gardner of the New Democratic Party; Wendy Pergentile of the Green Party; Dylin Hauser of the Liberal Party; Roger Reid of the United Conservative Party; Tim Meech of the Alberta Party; and Vern Sparkes of the Alberta Independence Party. More than 400 people turned out for the event, and voters go to the polls on April 16. Photo by Rob Vogt

By Rob Vogt, Local Press Writer

It was a chance for voters in Livingstone-Macleod to hear more about what the six candidates in the upcoming provincial election have to offer.

The Claresholm, High River and Nanton Chambers of Commerce collaborated to host an all-candidates forum at the Nanton Community Centre on April 3, where more than 400 people turned out to hear the six candidates describe who they are, why people should vote for them, and what their views on various issues are.

Cam Gardner is running for the New Democratic Party.

He is a fourth-generation rancher west of Chain Lakes, who has been a member of the council of the Municipal District of Ranchlands for 18 years. The last eight years he has been reeve.

Gardner brings a wide range of experience in land planning, land use, and much more.

“I’m passionate about the back country,” he said, and he believes it is important to deal with climate change.

“I also have a deep concern for our small-town communities,” he said, where services are stretched.

“I’m deeply concerned.”

Wendy Pergentile is running for the Green Party.

She admitted she had only been in the race two weeks, but got into it because she agrees with the values of Elizabeth May, the national leader of the Green Party.

Pergentile said the focus of the Green Party is on climate change and environmental protection, but the whole platform is on the party’s website.

Dylin Hauser is running for the Liberal Party of Alberta.

He emphasized at the outset he is ot associated with the federal Liberal Party.

Hauser said their are two primary issues he is focusing on, which are access to health care and mental health.

He also said he has worked in the oil and gas industry, and disclosed he lost his house in order to save debt.

Getting the energy industry back up and running is another priority.

“There’s a lot of communities struggling,” he said.

Roger Reid is running for the United Conservative Party.

He is fifth generation in the area, born and raised in Claresholm.

Reid and his wife own and operate two small businesses in Claresholm and Nanton, creating about 65 jobs.

“I’m running because this is my home,” he said.

Reid said he woke up one day to see an NDP government accidentally elected in Alberta, and realized he needed to get his hands dirty.

He has two grown children, and described how the future does not look good for them right now. Provincial debt is mounting and businesses face all kinds of challenges.

“I believe in Albertans,” Reid said, adding it is time to get the energy industry up and running which will get the economy going.

Tim Meech is running for the Alberta Party.

He is from Fort Macleod and has worked in the oil and gas industry.

He joined the Alberta Party because he was tired of seeing the other parties argue and not get anything done.

He wants to get things done. That means coming up with solutions based on evidence, and it means being pragmatic.

Meech said it is time for something different and a different approach.

Vern Sparkes is running for the Alberta Independence Party.

He said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the federal government are against the energy industry and the beef industry. There is also a move on to abolish land ownership, home ownership, and much more.

“Separation is the only way to save ourselves and our province.”