Ryan Clarke is gearing up for his campaign in the new riding of Vermilion-Lloydminster-Wainwright. Clarke is based out of Elk Point and is looking to bring Rachel Notley’s message to voters across the constituency.
Much of the riding is rural and far between. Clarke recognizes that it’s a traditionally conservative riding, but doesn’t despair. He says he’s spoken to many who say they’re wary of Jason Kenney’s leadership. Clarke’s heard from traditionally conservative voters that they respect Rachel Notley and would consider voting for her over Jason Kenney.
“I think it does come back to that issues of who you trust to be the premier, right? I think there is some common ground there that, even if you do yourself as more conservative, that you can identify with the values of what she’s fighting for,” says Clarke.
Reports say there’s evidence suggesting Jason Kenney was aware of a plan to sabotage Brian Jean’s leadership campaign with a so-called “kamikaze candidate”. There is currently an investigation being conducted by the election commissioner and the RCMP into how Jeff Callaway’s leadership campaign for the UCP was funded. It’s against the law to donate money provided by others to someone’s campaign.
Clarke currently works as a high school teacher and hears concerns from some about cuts to education, healthcare and frontline services. Kenney has suggested a freeze in government spending until the budget became balanced. Clarke says this works out to be a spending cut.
“When they say a freeze, it doesn’t sound too bad. But when you consider that 15,000 more kids are entering the system every year, it effectively works out to be a cut. How do you try and provide teaching staff for all these kids coming in without additional funding?”
Clarke also wants to focus on supporting the oil and gas industry. Increasing pipeline capacity is on his to-do list, as well as diversifying the economy to bring more jobs in other sectors. He says it makes a lot of sense to broaden the economy with how long Alberta has been on a boom and bust cycle with oil and gas.
Clarke holds that there’s a lot of common ground between the NDP and values with the people in his riding. He also recognizes that the rural nature of the riding makes for campaigns like his to be considered a long-shot. However, Clarke is looking forward to getting out in the riding and spreading the message of Rachel Notley’s NDP.
“Just talking to people in my area, a lot of people blame the NDP for a lot of economic problems and so on, and when you really get talking about what the government’s done, I think they might be able to see that the government has done a lot of good. I definitely want to promote that message.
Anyone with concerns, wanting a sign or wanting to set up a meet and greet can contact Ryan Clarke on the Alberta NDP’s website.