New Democratic Party candidate Alex McPhee is ready for the challenge ahead in this year’s Federal Election.
McPhee, a 22-year-old cartographer from Val Marie who was the first NDP candidate announced in Saskatchewan, is hoping to use his campaign to bring awareness to the value of grasslands and farmland in the prairies in the fight against climate change.
“Right now, we have this Liberal carbon pricing scheme that isn't making producers feel like they're included, people in this area don’t feel like the Liberal environmental policy has anything to do with them,” stated McPhee.
McPhee explained that the grasslands and range lands in the area sequester more carbon dioxide per year than the boreal forest of Canada.
“If you have environmental goals that you want to achieve, you need to be looking at range land and grassland management really seriously,” he said. “There needs to be a lot of investment to look after our range lands and our pastures to achieve all of these environmental goals that all of the parties have committed to upholding, at least on paper, and that needs to be something that includes producers.”
McPhee says that many producers are already trying to follow good environmental practices, but that they are covering those extra costs out of their own pockets. He says that there needs to be more federal support to help those producers.
McPhee said he decided to run for the NDP this year because of current MP Jeremy Patzer’s views on the conversion therapy ban.
“It's a little bit personal. I live in Val Marie with my husband. So, I have been really upset by our MP's opposition to the gay conversion therapy ban. For some reason our MP has been really interested in making that his signature issue in Parliament. I really disagree with his stance on that issue,” said McPhee.
Another contributing factor in his decision to run was his interest in the roots of the NDP in Saskatchewan.
“I also love the NDP history as the social conscience of Parliament and where we were the original voice of rural Saskatchewan," he stated.
"The Federal NDP really has it's roots as a western protest party, we have stood up for the prairies for decades and decades, while Ontario and Quebec used the House of Commons to pass laws that only benefit them, their industries and their sectoral interests," explained McPhee.
McPhee isn’t originally from the Southwest. He grew up in the Edmonton area, but moved to Val Marie to start a business and hopes to use his campaign to promote rural Saskatchewan as a place to live for young people.
“I moved back out here as soon as I graduated, because I think rural Saskatchewan is one of the best places in the country to start a business," he said.
“What I've actually been really excited to do with my candidacy is to use my platform as an NDP candidate to promote this region to more professionals and more young people across the country, because the prairies do not get as much respect as they deserve," he continued. "But I love it out here and I am here by choice.”
McPhee explained that without moving to rural Saskatchewan he would not have been able to start a small business and afford rent at a four-bedroom house.
“It's the legacy of the NDP that makes life more affordable out here. Because by moving to rural Saskatchewan, my car insurance rates are three times lower than what they were in Alberta. And that's all because of what the CCF did. That's because of SGI.”
Currently the NDP are polling nationally in third place behind the Conservative Party who are inching ever closer to first place above the Liberals.
Jacob Miller, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Shaunavon Standard