The federal Liberals have turned to an experienced campaigner as their candidate in the by-election in Battlefords-Lloydminster.
Larry Ingram was acclaimed as the candidate at a nomination meeting at Alex Dillabough Centre on Monday afternoon.
Ingram has had previous experience as a federal and provincial candidate, having been on the ballot in Battlefords-Lloydminster in the 2015 federal vote.
In that vote the Liberals improved their percentage of the popular vote in the riding from three percent to 16 percent, not far behind the NDP. Ingram pointed to that showing as encouraging him to run this time.
“I feel that my voice and my sense of reasoning can go a long ways if I do get to Ottawa,” said Ingram.
Ingram is a sheet metal worker and contractor from Turtleford. His previous experience includes time as a councillor for the RM of Mervin as well as on the North Central Transportation Planning Committee where he was a former vice-chair.
Speaking at the nomination meeting Monday, Ingram pointed to three issues in particular that he will focus on during the campaign. Ingram supports the national carbon tax although he does admit it could be better explained.
“I would like to see the carbon tax issue cleared up,” said Ingram. “I would like to see where we’re getting compensated as farmers for our carbon retention through the zero-till and through the grasslands and through the pasture lands. I think that is something that is overlooked and I would like to pursue that.”
Ingram also supports better relations with First Nations people, pointing to the number of First Nations within the riding.
Ingram also plans to make mental health issues a priority. It’s an issue that has hit close to home for Ingram due to the death of his son in a suicide, something Ingram has mentioned publicly on a few occasions.
The Liberals admit they are in for a tough struggle in Battlefords-Lloydminster, where the Conservatives have won landslide victories for several elections in a row. But Ingram feels encouraged that the Liberals can build on their showing in 2015.
“I’m feeling really good at this moment,” said Ingram of his nomination.
“We’ve got people showing up today that haven’t been before, so I’m thinking this is really good. It’s a good sign of where we’re going.”
The most pressing challenge for the Liberals and for all the parties is simply the length of time of the campaign.
“We’re going to be in a very short by-election,” said Ingram. “Four weeks from today, we’re back at the polls, so it’s going to be way quicker than the federal election.”
One advantage the Liberals have is immediate access to the election signs with Ingram’s name on them that were used in the last campaign. As well, Ingram says he has the full backing of the federal Liberals to fight the by-election. The plan is to set up a campaign office in North Battleford this week.
The most important priority for the campaign will be to file all the paperwork with Elections Canada to get on the by-election ballot. All candidates have a deadline of Nov. 20 to officially file their nomination papers in the byelection race.