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Four candidates ready to race

Nominations for the May 2 federal election are open until Monday, but at least four candidates in the Battlefords-Lloydminster riding have already hit the campaign trail.

Nominations for the May 2 federal election are open until Monday, but at least four candidates in the Battlefords-Lloydminster riding have already hit the campaign trail.

Conservative Party

Conservative incumbent Gerry Ritz first captured the constituency in 1997 and has represented the riding in Ottawa for 14 years.

Ritz, who was appointed Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food in 2007, said the most important issue in this election in the Battlefords and across Canada is the economy.

"We've seen lowering taxes pay off - Canadians are doing well coming out of the recession. But we can't rest on our laurels," he said.

Raising taxes or introducing new levies such as the carbon tax would be disastrous for rural Saskatchewan, while a low tax regime would help businesses expand as the oil patch inches east and help farmers upgrade their machinery and seek out innovations, he added.

Ritz also highlighted the Conservatives' stance against the long gun registry and for tough criminal justice measures as key issues in this riding.


Normally calving and seeding would be foremost on Glenn Tait's mind at this time of year, but with a federal election less than four weeks away, he's worried about producing not just cattle and grain but votes.

The Meota area farmer, who served for years on the Battlefords school board and the RM of Meota council, won the New Democratic Party (NDP) nomination by acclamation in late February.

Tait condemned the Conservatives' "hierarchical" style of government, saying it devalues voters' voices.

"If you get rid of the Conservative MP, you actually have a voice in the federal government," he said.

He's looking to increase voter turnout and raise the NDP's profile among youth, environmentally and socially conscious citizens and women in the constituency.

Tait said the most important issue in the campaign so far is the long gun registry, and he would vote to do away with it.

Green Party

The third time could be the charm for Green Party candidate Norbert Kratchmer, who also ran in 2006 and 2008. He was collecting signatures for his nomination early in the week and hoped to file his papers today.

Kratchmer, an organic farmer southwest of Unity, said fair government and sustainability are the pillars of his platform.

"I care about the health of the soil, the land, the people. We have to start taking care of things or we won't have a healthy future," he said.

Kratchmer said government should pressure manufacturers to make environmentally sustainable products.

He stressed the need for organic made-in-Saskatchewan industries, such as growing flowers or making pasta, providing local jobs and chemical-free products.

Kratchmer spoke out against genetically modified crops and nuclear energy.

He said the government should focus on finding the cause of cancer and ways to prevent the disease.

Liberal Party

The Liberal candidate for the Battlefords-Lloydminster constituency is Jordan LaPlante, a 27-year-old business student at the University of Saskatchewan.

LaPlante, a member of the English River First Nation, was born and raised in Saskatoon.

His Metis, Cree and Dene roots are close to his heart in this election campaign.

"I feel there's not much representation for aboriginals and youth. I want to improve the standard of living," he said.

"I just want to be a voice."

This is LaPlante's first time running for office, but he's hoping it will be the first step in a longterm political career.

"I want to make a name for myself," he said.

"I have a lot of passion for what I do. I'm really excited about this."

LaPlante declined to comment on what the major issues would be in this riding, and said he's waiting to see what issues emerge.

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