ASSINIBOIA - Mark Skagan has had an interest in politics for a long time, and wanted to put his name forward as the Maverick Party candidate for Cypress Hills-Grasslands in the hope to be a voice for his grandchildren.
“In my many years of experience I have worked in forests, fields, offices, and stores, starting at 13 moving irrigation pipes by hand, and general farm work,” reads Skagen’s bio on the Maverick Party website.
In an interview with the Assiniboia Times, Skagen said that the party wants to speak up for people in small, rural communities.
“So many small towns in our area have deteriorated. Their roads and buildings are all in poor condition. The country is making a lot of wealth that comes from this area, which comes from these small towns. Their streets should be paved with gold,” said Skagen. “It is a shame that much of the wealth that is made in the West is disappearing in central Canada, who decide how to spend it.”
“There are lots of good hard-working people who have come out of these small towns. In talking with folks in the area, they feel it would be valuable if all the things that affect us in the West, could be decided by people in the West,” said Skagen.
“It should be up to people in Western Canada who should decide how to use the fruit of our labour, instead of the people in Central Canada who seem to take advantage of our resources right now.”
“It is the people in our province who are our biggest resource. They are people who don’t mind getting in the mud and getting their hands dirty. They are people who will get back on the horse after getting bucked off. We are hard-working people, who should have our voices heard.”
“There are decisions being made in that ‘golden triangle’ in the east, where a group of people have to be pandered to, for those politicians to stay in power. There is no reason why people in the West can’t control their own wealth,” added Skagen.
He noted that the chief revenues in the province are from agriculture and the oil and gas sector. “It is so important to not only support these industries with funding and programs, but that the government is also an advocate for them too.”
Skagen believes there is a lot of potential for the future of the province. “One of the issues that is often addressed at the federal level is homelessness. Well, here in the prairies we have a lot of affordable houses. There are lots of options. We just need more employment opportunities to get people to want to move to the province.”
Even with a shorter election campaign this year, Skagen noted that he has seen a lot more engagement and people getting involved this year. “I am not seeing the apathy this time, which is good, as it is important to be engaged to have a healthy democracy. I believe that this year, folks in the West will keep their TV on until the last vote is counted in B.C., instead of thinking that the election is already decided after the Ontario vote is completed.”
He also noted increased voter engagement in younger people this year. “It is important for our young voters to be involved, as we need their ideas, and we need their eagerness. They have concerns that are different than my generation, so we should listen to their voices and thoughts too.”