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Tory leadership rules designed to favour insiders, says Rick Peterson

Edmonton businessman Rick Peterson said the new rules make it nearly impossible for an outsider to enter the race, and so far he is the only one to do so.

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A candidate for leader of the federal Tory party says new rules are designed to favour party insiders to win.

Edmonton businessman Rick Peterson said the new rules make it nearly impossible for an outsider to enter the race, and so far he is the only one to do so.

Candidates for the Tory leadership have to fork over $300,000 and get signatures from 3,000 party members in 30 different ridings, across seven different provinces. The deadline is less than three weeks away.

In the 2017 leadership contest, entrants only had to come up with $100,000 and 1,000 names. A total of 14 people entered.

“The party realized they had too many candidates the last time but they have gone too far with the pendulum this time,” Peterson, 65, told the editorial board of the Western Standard in a phone interview from Montreal where he was working to gather signatures.

“Signatures are a bigger problem than the money.”

“[The requirements] absolutely favour insiders – but I went into this with my eyes wide open. I don’t think this was the outcome they [the party executive] had in mind when they brought in the new rules.”

Peterson also entered the race in 2017, finishing 12th with 0.7 per cent of the vote. He noted a total of five candidates finished with less than 1 per cent and he was the second choice of most of Maxime Bernier’s supporters. Bernier finished a close second to Andrew Scheer.

“Being in such a crowded field, it was very difficult to get airtime. It was very tough to get your message out,” he said, adding half of Bernier’s ground team is already working for him.

“When Rona [Ambrose] decided not to run it meant there were no voices from the West. There was a big opening for a strong Western voice and a need for one.

“The opportunity to run is very compelling and I would hate to miss it,” said Peterson, adding if the party makes the wrong choice this time it “could be a very long time before we see a Conservative government in power again.”

But being a “small centre” playing professional hockey has given Peterson a taste of the role of the underdog and outsider.

After winning a national hockey championship at the University of Alberta, Peterson moved to play professional hockey in France. That’s where the economist and political scientist learned French and is now completely bilingual.

After watching Kinder Morgan pull out of the TMX project, the businessman founded a group called Suits and Boots, which now boasts over 5,000 members to lobby on behalf of the industry and its workers.

As founder of the group, Peterson spoke in front of a Senate committee on Bill C-69, known as the “no-more-pipelines bill”.

The venture capitalist said any Tory leader must be completely fluent in French. In fact, he said if he wins, he will consider running for a seat in Quebec.

“You have to walk the walk,” said the self-professed “unabashed” federalist.

In terms of his major opponents – Peter MacKay and Erin O’Toole – Peterson gives them both failing grades for their lack of fluent bilingualism.

“I would give O’Toole a 3.5 and MacKay a 4. But they have both been in public service a long time and could have learned French if they wanted,” Peterson said.

Peterson said Canada has just moved into a decade that could be the best in the country’s history.

“I talk to business people and entrepreneurs and they are so positive and excited. I am unabashedly bold on the future of Canada,” he said.

“We have to be as courageous and [as] bold as the entrepreneurs. Not a party that looks backwards.”

He said his best hope to sway voters will lie in the two planned debates with the candidates and at the June leadership convention in Toronto.

“Tory members are very thoughtful when you give them your policies. And once you get into debates, candidates’ weaknesses become glaring,” he said.

The Western Standard grilled Peterson on some of the major issues:

PARTY REFORM: Peterson is calling for a major revamp on the way the Tory party operates, including a complete overhaul on the controversial Conservative Fund. He said currently the party makes it very difficult for new members and wants to wave membership fees for those wanting to vote in the leadership race.

“The Liberals are miles ahead of us. We are the only party that makes it difficult to join.”

CLIMATE CHANGE: Peterson wants to eliminate the carbon tax on consumers, but supports a carbon tax on industrial emitters along the lines of the Alberta UCP’s TIER program.

GUN RIGHTS: The avid duck hunter points out he has three golden retrievers. He said the current Liberal firearms plans focuses on hunters and sport shooters and not criminals. “Most Liberal regulations go against my gut nature.”

On anti-handgun laws: “Who am I to second guess police chiefs and people on the front lines when they say the handgun controls won’t work.”

Peterson with his dogs

GAY PRIDE PARADES: “I’ve already marched in gay pride parades. I don’t talk about it because it’s who you are. There are bigger things than that,” Peterson said, pointing out his campaign manager is a prominent member of the LGBTQ+ community in Vancouver.

ABORTION: “The courts have settled this issue,” said the solidly pro-choice candidate succinctly. Peterson added that under his leadership, MPs that introduce private members bills on the matter will be punished.

WESTERN ALIENATION: “When you get outside Montreal people in Quebec are just like Albertans. They are pro-energy,” said Peterson. He also would get rid of a provision in Bill C-69 that gives cabinet a say on mega projects so there can be no “political interference.”

SENATE REFORM: Favours an elected Senate, but will not re-open the constitution to rebalance seat distribution.

EQUALIZATION: “This is something that can be fixed in the first term…in the first year or 18 months. There should be a conversation across Canada so people know what it’s about. We need to look carefully at it because it is at the core of who we are as a country.”

Peterson said that while his campaign will commit to address Equalization, he will not release any proposals for reform or abolition.

Peterson’s full list of policies can be found at www.rickcpc.ca

The Western Standard will be holding editorial board meetings with other candidates for the Conservative Party of Canada leadership throughout the campaign.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter: Nobby7694

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

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UPDATED: Saskatchewan election called

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe will send the province into an election Tuesday.

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Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe will send the province into an election Tuesday.

Moe took to twitter Monday night to tell voters they would be going to the polls in the middle of a COVID-19 pandemic.

“Tomorrow, I will ask Lt. Gov. Russ Mirasty to dissolve the Legislature,” Moe tweeted.

“This will be quite a different #skvotes campaign –but a very important one that will ask Saskatchewan voters one question: Who do you trust to lead Saskatchewan’s economic recovery?”

When the legislature was dissolved, Moe’s Saskatchewan Party held a 46-13 lead over the NDP.

Moe was sworn in as premier in 2018.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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CORY MORGAN WEBCAST: Wild goose hunt, Alberta style

An interview with Jason Siliker of Canadian Premier Hunts on the multiple times that the RCMP interrupted his goose hunt.

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B.C. Liberals vow to cancel PST for one year; return at 3 per cent

“Everybody pays the PST, so everybody saves under the B.C. Liberal plan,” said Andrew Wilkinson

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B.C. Liberals say, if elected, they will help the economy recover by removing the 7 per cent provincial sales tax for one year.

After a year, a Liberal government would set the PST at 3 per cent until the economy recovers.

The federal GST is currently 5 per cent.

“British Columbians have lost confidence in the direction of the province and the weak economic record of the NDP. B.C. families and small businesses need help now, which is why a B.C. Liberal government will immediately eliminate the PST for one year — saving you money right away, getting more people working, and bringing investment back to B.C.,” said B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson.

“Countless people are still out of work, small businesses are facing bankruptcy, and the public health threat from COVID-19 is still very real.

“Eliminating PST puts more money in people’s pockets, stimulates growth for struggling small business, and helps British Columbians who are struggling to get by. This is a vital step to rebuild our economy.”

The Liberals say a family of four earning $60,000 per parent will save $1,714 in the first year, followed by an additional $979 in the second year. 

“Everybody pays the PST, so everybody saves under the B.C. Liberal plan,” said Wilkinson.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is applauding the pledge.

“We pay the PST on everything from used cars to toilet paper so this would save everyone a lot of money,” said Kris Sims, B.C. Director of the CTF.

“The best way to save people money is for governments to stop taking so much of it in the first place.

“We hope all of the parties can match or beat this promise so we can get serious about tax cuts during this election.”

In the 2019-20 budget year, British Columbians paid more than $7.5 billion in the PST.

“We need to do all we can to jolt our economy back to life and eliminating the PST would clear a lot of hurdles for working people and struggling businesses to get things rolling again,” said Sims.

“People know how to spend their money much better than the government does.”

B.C. residents go to the polls Oct. 24.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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