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Independent candidate Derek Sloan looks for fresh start in Banff-Airdrie

“The system is broken, there is certainly corruption in all major parties. The basic ability of an MP to represent his constituents is gone. Everybody kind of knows that if you don’t do the bidding of the leader of your party, your career is going to be a short one. The people who have been a long time are there because they’ve learned how to be quiet, how to keep their heads low and how to kind of play the Ottawa game. I think people are sick of it."
Independent candidate Derek Sloan makes his candidacy announcement from the Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre on Aug. 16. (Tyler Klinkhamer/The Cochrane Eagle)

BANFF-AIRDRIE – Looking to oust four-term Conservative candidate Blake Richards, Derek Sloan has joined the Banff-Airdrie riding as an independent candidate in the federal election.

Although not an Alberta native, Sloan said he feels a kinship to the conservative-leaning Albertans here, as he does across the country.

“In my experience, coast to coast, conservative-leaning Canadians are the same no matter where they are. Many of them are on the same page, whether it’s northern Ontario, or, dare I say it, even rural Quebec.”

Sloan is a controversial conservative who was ousted from the federal Conservative Party in January for accepting a donation from Paul Fromm, a white nationalist.

Conservative leader Erin O'Toole criticized Sloan at the time calling it a "gross error of judgment or a failure of due diligence."

Sloan is also facing charges for violating public health restrictions in southwestern Ontario and has been extremely vocal in disagreeing with public health regulations when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since the announcement of his candidacy on Aug. 16 from the Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre in Cochrane, Sloan has been knocking on doors, talking to the residents of the riding, and listening to their concerns.

A common theme he has noticed is the distaste for the federal political parties vying for the leadership of the country.

“Many people who I’m speaking to at the doors, they don’t really like any federal political party. They think that they’re all kind of corrupt, they think that some are worse than others usually, but they’re not satisfied with the representation that they’re receiving,” he said. “I’m a known politician that’s done strong advocacy work in the House of Commons and elsewhere for several years. People may not agree with everything that I stand for, but they know that I’m honest. … I think people want someone that they can trust, but that’s not beholden to a party leader or someone from Ottawa.”

Sloan has been fighting as a self-described “freedom candidate” for several years, and is against some of the more restrictive measures recently put into place by the federal government, including restrictive lockdowns, quarantines and mandatory vaccinations.

“I don’t think we should be twisting people’s arms or firing people if they feel it’s not for them,” he said. “I think these are basic liberty questions that really should be no-brainers and I’m surprised how politicized the conversation around COVID-19 has become.”

Sloan also said he is against what he calls “climate alarmism,” and “politicized environmentalism,” and is against both carbon taxes and does not believe Canada should be a part of the Paris Agreement while other global superpowers are not.

Sloan said he is not opposed to emission-reducing agreements in general, but wants to ensure Canada is not held to a standard that is not enforced globally.

“We have to recognize that regardless of what we do or don’t do in Canada, the world is not going to end 10 years from now or 20 years from now. If we’re concerned about emissions generally, we have to make sure that anything that we do focuses on encouraging China and India and other major polluters to basically clean their emissions,” he said. “If we, for example, place large carbon taxes on our manufactured products, to make someone more likely to buy from China, that doesn’t help emissions at all, in fact, it makes it worse.”

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