“I am fed up with the federal parties of the past,” said Adrianne Nogier, at a Maverick party Foothills riding rally on July 15 at the Okotoks Ag Society Grounds. “I came across the Maverick party and I was pretty impressed with the stand they were taking and for Western Canada in general.
“They seem fresh and new with better ideas.”
The rally was attended by approximately 165 people, including Foothills candidate Josh Wylie, party interim leader Jay Hill and a maverick of sorts, Drew Barnes, the now independent MLA for Cypress-Medicine Hat.
Nogier said she voted for Foothills Conservative MP John Barlow in the 2019 election, who won with approximately 82 per cent of the vote.
She said she feels the Conservatives are looking at the Eastern Canadian side of things and are “just ignoring us... I am very disappointed.”
The Maverick party plans to run only in the west, (Alberta, B.C., Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Yukon and N.W.T) and only in ridings in which the Conservatives won by a clear majority, so as not to split the politically right vote, resulting in an NDP or Liberal candidate being elected, explained Hill in an interview.
“Depending on when Trudeau calls an election, we may have up to 25 candidates in place,” said Hill, who noted the party is working towards a mid-September election. “We need a party and MPs in place that will represent us (western Canadians) … It will get things done the same way the Bloc gets things done in Québec constantly, despite having a relatively small caucus.
“It won’t happen this time, but if we can send a few dozen candidates to Ottawa to the House of Commons, they are going to be noticed.”
The Maverick party was created in June 2020 after the Wexit party died.
The interim leader has climbed this hill before.
He is a former MP in the Prince George area with the Reform Party, getting elected in 1992 when the party won 52 seats under leader Preston Manning. It became the official opposition in 1997 with 60 seats. The Reform Party was started in 1987.
“All old Reformers will definitely see the similarities between the birth and growth of Reform and what is happening today with Maverick,” Hill said. “Starting any party becomes quite an exercise over a period of years. The party is 10 months old, if we could even elect only a handful of members of parliament in this first election, we will have done better than the Reformers did in 1988.”
Hill said it is not a western separatist party - instead it has a twin-track approach.
“We say the West deserves better, it deserves better autonomy and so we need a better deal,” Hill said. “We put forward five constitutional amendments to finally bring fairness to Western Canada...
“If that doesn’t work, we are going down the path to independence.”
He said that independence could vary — having its own immigration policy, its own police force, its own pension plan similar to Québec.
“What Mavericks are saying is we demand fairness in Western Canada,” Hill said.
Hill served the Prince George-Peace River riding from 1993 to 2010.
Barnes said he is not a member of the Maverick party.
“But I’m a believer that Alberta should be the freest most prosperous place in all of North America, and clearly under the constitution and the current situation in Canada, that is not the case,” Barnes said.
Nogier is cautiously optimistic for the future.
“As things gain momentum, hopefully we can gain seats and get something better,” she said, adding she wouldn’t be surprised if there is an election in the fall.