SASKTODAY.ca staff reached out to the candidates in all of Saskatchewan's ridings with a universal questionnaire.
We will be publishing these results in order they were received.
Name: Erik Hansen
Running for: New Democratic Party
Profession: Retired, has worked in heavy industry sales
Political experience: First time in federal politics, active in the NDP electoral district association, former Unity councillor
Currently residing in (city or neighbourhood): Unity
Who is your political hero?
A political person that I have a lot of respect for cannot be narrowed down to one. Tommy Douglas, Jack Layton, Bernie Sanders and Jagmeet Singh all come to mind when I think of honesty, integrity and strong leadership skills.
What inspired you to enter the election race?
The need for a new perspective on politics was what inspired me to enter this election race.
What topics are most important to you in this federal election?
I find there is a need to have conversations across party lines on important issues like the COVID-19 recovery, the environment, the crumbling infrastructure, health care, education, etc. All have been regressing over the last 40years due, in large part to one segment of society that has been participating less and less over that same period.
Are you concerned about the short campaign timeline for this election?
I am very concerned about the untimely call for an early election by the Liberals. Not only are we headed into a fourth wave of COVID-19, at harvest time for the farmers and at an unnecessary expense to Canadians, but the timing just so happened to coincide with good polling numbers for the Liberal party, which suggests strongly that it was a decision based on selfishness.
What supports, if any, do you feel are needed to help businesses and residents with the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic?
The aftermath of COVID-19 quite simply has to be dealt with by a consensus of the majority arrived at through discussions held between all levels of government including First Nations, as well as representatives from the most affected sectors of the economy.
What, if any, agricultural federal programs and initiatives do you feel are necessary to help support farmers and ranchers in this year's conditions?
The agricultural sector of the economy will have to be addressed in nuanced ways going forward, as a direct result of the human caused climate change which has created disastrous weather events over recent past and which is going to get worse as time goes on, especially if we don't take actions to mitigate the growing threat to our collective future on this planet.
Is there an issue that people are focusing too much?
I find people are far too focused on the disingenuous noise of disinformation that has infiltrated the internet over the last few years. Unfortunately, some of this easily debunked information is used intentionally to polarize and thereby taking good people's minds off of the many issues that the grass roots, across party lines, have in common.
Why did you choose to run for your particular party?
I chose to run for the NDP because it is the only party that stands for the values closest to my own. Society has been slowly but surely devolving over the last 40 years while one small segment has prospered exponentially. That is not what a civilized society is or should be a party to.
What is the biggest issue facing your party’s chance at success?
Unfortunately, the biggest obstacles to the party's chance at success is misinformation and the lack of fair coverage in the mainstream media.
How will you engage and encourage young voters to participate in this election?
I engage the young voters through open and honest conversations, pointing out the fact that it is important to discuss ideas with others and to approach differing ideas with an open mind, keeping the dialogue open for responsible and reasonable debate, with success measured by the ability to reach consensus in some cases and to compromise, when possible, in others.
Once elected, your job is to represent your entire riding. How do you plan on representing individuals who didn’t vote for you?
If elected, I will do my utmost to represent all citizens in the Battlefords-Lloydminster constituency in the fairest way I know how, through respectful discussion, the exchange of ideas and when possible by working together on a plan or proposal to present to caucus. We have many common goals at the grassroots level and that is also where we need to build more strength if we are to be successful to some degree.
What informs your political stance? What books, publications, relationships or experiences?
Some of my political stances come from reading some of the intellectuals that study the human experience and speak truth to power without fear of retaliation because of their standing in society. One person that fits in that category is Noam Chomsky. An equally interesting person, in his own field of economics would be Yanis Varoufakis. There is quite often something of interest to be found through conversations over time, and sometimes you just pack it away in your memory for use at a later date. That is why social interaction with others is so important.
What local project or service would you advocate for more federal spending?
If elected, and even if not elected, I will continue talking to "the people" about the oil and gas, and agricultural sectors as well as the small business community and what can be done through co-operation instead of the division that has most definitely hindered the process. So what I will advocate for is working together, across party lines and in concert with provincial and municipal stakeholders who want to move forward instead of staying stuck in the rut of division that the majority are sick and tired of.
Where do you stand with respect to the oil and gas and energy industry? Do you support carbon pricing or a carbon tax?
Do I support carbon pricing? Yes, however, not in the way some of the provincial governments have portrayed it from an obstructionist point of view. The environmental story is a long and complicated one and unfortunately the noise of conspiracy and disinformation has blurred the path to a much more productive conversation. That won't deter me from having them.