Members of the Conservative Party of Canada will be voting for their nominee for Member of Parliament for the upcoming federal election in 2019. The current MP for the area, Brad Trost, will be faced with two challengers.
The nomination race will take place on March 10 at Prairieland Park, for members of the Conservative Party. Trost, who has been the MP for Saskatoon University since 2004, will have his position challenged by provincial politician Corey Tochor as well as businessman Brad Redekopp.
Tochor explains that one of the main issues for University of Saskatchewan students is the concern that a polarizing candidate will negatively affect the funding the university will receive from the federal government.
“What I’m hearing back from conservative university students is that they’re concerned about the debt levels that the Liberals are racking up, and if we don’t have a team player representing us in Saskatoon University, we’re not going to get the funding that otherwise would flow to our institute,” Tochor said.
Tochor has been a Member of the Legislative Assembly since 2011 and became the Speaker of the Saskatchewan Legislature in 2016.
Trost’s second challenger, Redekopp, comes from a background in accounting and management. Redekopp is focusing his campaign on small businesses and trying to fight against Liberal government policies that he believes are negatively affecting small businesses in Saskatoon.
“One of the big things that people are talking about is business issues,” Redekopp said. “The Liberals are really doing their best to kill local businesses in Canada with taxation, deficits regulation, CRA auditing [and] all kinds of things that are making it difficult for small businesses.”
When asked how he would represent U of S students as the MP for Saskatoon University, Trost noted that he has adequately advocated for all of his constituents during his time in office. His campaign is focusing on conveying this message, as he explains that his experience makes him a strong candidate for the federal election.
“The main thing I’m focused on is representing the riding, both politically representing the views of the local conservatives and knowing the general needs of the constituents,” Trost said.
Redekopp and Tochor both note that whoever wins the Conservative nomination will need to distance themselves from divisive issues, as it is more important to move forward with decisions.
“A lot of people have been … wanting to just move away from some of the more difficult and divisive issues and find issues that we can work together on,” Redekopp said.
Trost, who has been vocal in the past about his stance against abortion and same-sex marriage, disagrees with the other candidates about avoiding divisive issues and makes it clear that his values remain socially conservative.
“I’m always going to be a principled conservative, and that includes being a social conservative. Do I think those issues are divisive? No, no more than taxes or national defence or other issues like that,” Trost said.
One thing that all three candidates do agree on is that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government is moving the country in what they believe is the wrong direction. Both Redekopp and Tochor expressed similar sentiments regarding the current government’s effect on U of S students.
“Specifically for university students, there’s a real concern over Justin Trudeau’s reckless spending, and we’ve all seen this play out before — where governments overspend and indebt the future generations, where future generations have to rein in spending, and it negatively affects institutes such as the U of S,” Tochor said.
Like the other candidates, Trost hopes to see the Conservatives win a majority government in the next election, which is why he is hoping to be re-elected.
“I don’t think my work here is done yet,” Trost said. “Like most conservatives, I’m not happy with what Justin Trudeau is doing and where he’s taking the country, and I want to be there to help rebuild the conservatives and bring them back into government.”
Lyndsay Afseth / Staff Writer
Graphic: Lesia Karalash / Graphics Editor