MOOSE JAW — After launching in September 2020 with an interim leader, the Western Canada-based Maverick Party is now hunting for a new permanent leader to guide the organization to future electoral success.
The new leader will take over from Jay Hill, the interim leader of the fledgling federal party. Hill helped found the party in June 2020 and has led it since its launch on Sept. 17, 2020.
The leadership race kicked off on Jan. 3 and wraps up on Saturday, May 14, with the election of the new leader.
One person has expressed interest in the position and has asked for an application form, said Hill. Meanwhile, the party leadership is encouraging others to submit their names. This would allow the party to learn more about them, including their background, why they want to be the leader and their qualities.
The three qualities the party is looking for in leadership candidates include credibility in their field, confidence in public speaking, and their vision for the party’s future development and growth.
“We’re hoping for a robust race with two or more quality people vying for the leadership of the Maverick Party,” he added.
All members who have paid their dues by Thursday, March 31, will be eligible to vote. It’s unknown if the vote will happen in person, but if pandemic restrictions persist, then members will vote by phone or online. This is the approach the party took during its August convention.
Hill believes that having a permanent leader will benefit the party in future elections.
The Maverick Party — which wants more fairness and self-determination for Western Canada — ran 29 candidates in the 2021 federal election and received 35,000 votes but elected no one. To Hill, it was evident that many voters wanted to see the party leader running for a seat in Parliament.
“I was not (running) because of my age and because of the fact I’ve already served 17 years in Parliament. So, it was a bit of an oddity, and it became evident to us that we needed a permanent leader that people could look to, to actually seek election along with his or her candidates across Western Canada,” he said.
Hill acknowledged that not having the party leader run in the 2021 federal election impeded electoral success. Furthermore, the timing of the election also hindered the party’s ability to succeed.
He noted that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called an unwanted election when the party was 11 months old and still new to the political scene. Moreover, pandemic restrictions impeded the party’s ability to promote its message and let voters know there was another option besides the established legacy political parties.
The final challenge — a major one, in Hill’s mind — that the Maverick Party faced during the federal election was voters’ mindsets. Across Saskatchewan, Alberta and rural British Columbia, residents disliked Trudeau so much that they held their nose and voted for the Conservative Party of Canada and leader Erin O’Toole.
“So the whole vote-splitting issue became extremely important and challenging for Maverick to solicit support,” Hill added.
Hill is hopeful for the Maverick Party’s future. He wants it to do well since he is concerned for his grandchildren’s future. With the direction Canada is heading under the Liberal Party, he doesn’t think his grandkids will have the same opportunities as he has.
“My No. 1 goal was to establish a credible alternative, and I think I’ve done that, along with the assistance of a core group of people that worked tirelessly with me over the last year and a half to build the Maverick Party,” Hill added. “I take heart from that.”